Pilot survived the Santa Rosa wildfire, but didn’t escaped unscathed. Petcare Veterinary Hospital via Jennifer Leigh Thompson
Pilot survived the Santa Rosa wildfire, but didn’t escaped unscathed. Petcare Veterinary Hospital via Jennifer Leigh Thompson

Fires

Cat missing for 10 years survives wine country fires – and will be reunited with his family

By Kalin Kipling

kkipling@sacbee.com

November 03, 2017 05:12 PM

UPDATED November 04, 2017 07:45 AM

Ten years after their beloved cat went missing in Santa Rosa, one family got the call they’d long been waiting for: He’d been found.

Jennifer Leigh Thompson and her family, who had since moved to Longmont, Colo., were notified that Pilot had been rescued amid the devastation of the wine country fires – severely burned, but alive.

A good Samaritan found Pilot on Halloween and brought him to Santa Rosa’s Petcare Veterinary Hospital.

Upon beginning treatment, the veterinary team scanned him for a microchip and, lo and behold, the Thompsons’ name popped up.

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The vet staff said Pilot appears to have survived for as long as two weeks with the burns and very little food or water.

On her GoFundMe page, Jennifer Leigh Thompson poses this question after discussing the severity of Pilot’s burns and the difficult recovery ahead: “Now you might ask, why do this?”

Her answer? “He’s in really good spirits and gets excited and wants to be petted and loved on the moment someone opens his cage door at the veterinary hospital. He’s not ready to give up so neither am I.”

Next week, Thompson will travel to California for the long-awaited reunion.

“I can’t wait to see him. I’m excited and my kids are excited!” Thompson told The Sacramento Bee. “It’s been very difficult not being able to see him right away but the staff at Petcare has been amazing with keeping me updated and sending me photos. I’m so grateful.”

Thompson and her kids adopted Pilot as a kitten in 2004. He was with the family for three years before going missing in 2007.

“He was not a cat to wander far from home so it was shocking when he didn’t come home one evening,” she said. “We checked the shelters for months with no success. It was a pretty sad time for us.”

The family moved to Colorado in 2010.

Thompson said the family lost one of their other cats, who was adopted as an adult, to cancer earlier this year.

“I have been telling my husband for months that we have a vacancy in our house,” Thompson said. “And I couldn’t be happier that Pilot will be filling it.”