Sasha is a large 6-year-old black cat that made his way 1,200 miles from Portland, Oregon, to Santa Fe over the past five years.
While it is not uncommon for cats to wander, it is remarkable that Sasha had hitchhiked his way across country over the five year period that he was missing. Fortunately, Sasha was returned to his owner Viktor Usov.
“It’s like he never left. He’s so happy,” said Usov, 31. “I guess I wanna think he was on a great American adventure.”
An American Airlines spokesperson told USA TODAY that the company was “honored” to reunite Sasha with his owner after the feline’s long journey. American Airlines flew Sasha home to Usov at no cost.
Santa Fe Animal Services found Sasha wandering the streets without a collar. He was brought to the animal shelter, where staff found he had a microchip tying him to Usov, some 1,300 miles away.
“We’re glad to have provided a happy ending to Sasha’s long journey,” American Airlines told the BBC.
AZ Central reports:
When Sasha disappeared in 2014, Usov thought the cat might have fallen victim to coyotes. But not every cat that vanishes meets a bad end.
“It’s very common for a cat to jump in a U-Haul or a train or the back of a truck,” Kirdart said. “But for 1,200 miles and for a cat to be missing for five years and then for a microchip to connect both of them? That rarely happens.”
Sasha’s fur was matted and unkempt when he was found wandering the streets of Santa Fe this month, leading shelter staff to believe he was someone’s outdoor cat. They took him in and set out to find his owner.
“Sasha didn’t miss a meal,” Kirdar said. “I like to say Sasha was eating a lot of good Mexican food because (he) was a chunky cat, very healthy.
“I’m sure he has a lot of great stories to tell.”
Sasha is a lucky cat, but it’s not all due to luck, he was wearing a microchip which identified how far from home he was and who his owner is.
Fortunately for Sasha, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, which reunites families with their missing pets every day, was wearing a microchip.
This is the first time that Kidar has done an in-person delivery and he feels positive that Sasha’s successful return would not have been possible had he not been microchipped.
“The microchip is the best form of identification for an animal,” said Kirdar, adding that most shelters insert the chip, which is as small as a grain of rice, before adoption.
Animal shelters and veterinarians will implant a microchip in a pet for just $5, Kirdar said. And as long as owners remember to update their phone numbers, even the most unlikely of reunions can result.