Like any 16-year-old girl who has just lost a pet, Megan Conroy was devastated when her cat Zeppelin went missing more than six years ago.
Megan, now 23, suspects someone stole the cat from her front yard, because several other black cats in the neighborhood came up missing around that time too.
"We spent a couple of months looking for him, going to the shelter and what not, but after awhile, we kind of gave up," she said.
But all that was about to change.
"About a week ago, my mom called ... while I was at my boyfriend's house and she had a panicky sound in her voice, so I thought something was wrong," Megan said.
Something was, instead, very right.
"She said I wouldn't believe this, but that Zeppelin had come right up to her and gone right into the garage where he knew exactly where the food was. One of the other cats we had raised with him remembered him, too," she said.
Later, when Zeppelin went up into the rafters and couldn't get down, Megan went up after him.
"Most cats will scratch you when they're scared, but he just totally trusted me," she said.
But a black cat looks like every other black cat, right?
Not so, Megan said.
There was only one way to know for sure. Zeppelin had two white markings, one on his chest and a distinctive one in back between his legs, and Megan had photographs to prove it.
"When me and my mom saw those, we almost started crying," she said.
The next step was a good thorough checkup with a veterinarian and vaccinations, she said.
"He was being poked and prodded and was being a trooper. The only problem he had were ear mites and a bald spot on his neck the vet said likely was caused by some sort of wound which abscessed, ruptured and healed," she said.
"The only other problem was that he was purring so loud, they couldn't hear his heartbeat," she said.
Since his return, Zeppelin has become a true housecat. Where before he had indoor/outdoor privileges, he now must adapt to being in the house all the time.
"He comes in my room and hops up in my lap just like he used to. It's so good to have him home. We never thought we'd see him again. He keeps tilting his head at us like he's really curious, and he follows everyone around the house," Megan said.
"I'm very happy we got him back," she said. "I'm sad that we missed out on six years of his life, but he was only one when he got stolen, so maybe he'll live a really long life."հ