A Cat’s Journey 1100 Miles from Home

By Courtney Hibler

A family from Tampa, Florida, thought they would never see their cat Barley again when she ran away from home eight years ago.

But, on March 22 Angels for Animals welcomed Barley as a stray cat who was found hiding in someone’s garage in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. After checking Barley’s microchip, it was confirmed the stray was 1,100 miles from her home.

Sherry Bankey, manager of the cat wing at Angels For Animals, said the shelter immediately contacted Barley’s family once they were able to gather the correct contact information.

“The owner mentioned she didn’t have any cats in her household for a long time,” she said. “I sent her a picture of Barley, and she immediately knew this was her cat.”

Barley’s owners found her in a dumpster when she was only six weeks old and quickly became part of the family. While they were in the process of moving, Barley ran off, along with the family’s other cat, and was never seen again.

Photo courtesy of Angels for Animals

“They had looked for them for a long time, but they just couldn’t find them,” Bankey said. “Eight years went by. Barley is now 10 years old, and no one knows how she came all the way from Florida to Pennsylvania.”

In Bankey’s opinion, this is an important example of why it’s important to microchip your pets.

“With the microchip comes registering your name, your address and all of the information it asks you to provide,” she said. “We do run the microchip, and in some cases, there is no information to be found.”

When this happens, shelters have no way of contacting an animal’s family.

“It’s like a safety net for your cat or dog to be returned to you,” she said.

Desire Garza, an Angels for Animals visitor, said all of her animals have a microchip, and it eases her nerves when thinking about the possibility of them running away.

“It’s such an important thing to register the microchip in your name because if you don’t and your animal happens to run away, you may never see them again,” she said. “It’s an amazing thing that has been invented.”

Michael Neil, a hopeful adopter at Angels For Animals, said the story of Barley is one for the books and will be remembered by those involved with the rescue.

“It’s just so amazing to see something like this happen in our area,” he said. “You don’t often see these types of things happen, and I believe this is the best kind of miracle for that cat and her family to have.”

In his opinion, Angels for Animals did a phenomenal job in handling the situation because Barley will be headed home to successfully reunite with her family.

“We made a post on Facebook, and it blew up instantly,” Bankey said. “People from all over the country were offering to accompany Barley in her travels back home, and even airlines were offering their help. It truly is an amazing event that has happened.”

According to Bankey, final details are being put into order so Barley can soon be travel home to her family in Tampa.