A photo of Miss Kitty when she lived in South Carolina in 2007. Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Banis

Jennifer Banis, a Topsham resident and mother of four, said she got a call she never expected last week.

“Midcoast Humane Society called and said that they had microchipped a little cat that had been brought in from animal control,” Banis said. “They said it was identified as Miss Kitty.”

Miss Kitty is the cat that Banis adopted from her mother after she died 12 years ago.

“When my mother died, I brought [Miss Kitty] up to Maine,” Banis said. “The cat and my mom had such a special bond. I knew I had to take care of her.”

The cat went missing in 2009, a couple years after she was brought to Banis’ Topsham home.

“We hung signs, we checked the vet offices and the shelters,” Banis said. “I guess probably a year into it we decided she was probably gotten by something.”

Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Banis

That makes Miss Kitty’s discovery a full decade later hard to believe.

“I cried so much,” Banis said. “I didn’t know there were so many different types of tears, and I felt like I experienced them all.”

She said finding Miss Kitty was like finding a connection to her deceased mother.

“I called her my mom’s cosmic traveling companion, because I just felt sure that she would be traveling through the worlds with my mom,” Banis said. “For sure, my mom was watching out for her, and with a journey like hers, I had to fight for her.”

The cat’s discovery hasn’t been all good news, according to Banis. She said the cat has serious breathing problems, and needed surgery.

“Our vet looked her over, and she’s not doing well, cause she’s gasping for air,” Banis said. “She had a collapsed larynx. Basically, the nerves gave out.”

The surgery to fix the cat cost $6,000. Banis said that it was more money than the family of six could afford, but they knew they had to do something.

“With a story like hers, it just felt like the right thing to do,” Banis said. “Besides the breathing problems, our vet says she is relatively healthy.”

Miss Kitty is currently recovering at an emergency animal clinic in Portland.

Banis said she is excited to bring her pet home.

“So much has happened since I last saw her,” Banis said. “I’ve had four children since then, and lots of ups and downs in life. To have her back makes me feel like I have a reminder of what life used to be like with my mom.”

Banis said that Miss Kitty, who is 16 years old, is expected to make a full recovery, and has been giving an estimated three to four years left of life.