PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon man’s lost cat was found in New Mexico, five years after it went missing.
Viktor Usov and his black, long-haired cat Sasha were reunited Tuesday night at Portland International Airport, thanks to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and American Airlines.
KPTV spoke with Usov as he waited for Sasha to land.
“I’m excited to hold him,” Usov said. “I get to rub the belly – the fuzzy belly.”
“When I last saw him, he was maybe the size of a large burrito and now I’m assuming he’s the size of four large burritos,” Usov added.
Usov said he never expected to see Sasha again. He adopted the cat as a kitten, but Sasha went missing just a year later. Usov said he assumed coyotes killed Sasha.
Then, a few weeks ago, Usov got an unexpected phone call.
“They said they found a cat that had this microchip with my name on it,” Usov said. “They said it’s a black, long-haired cat and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I used to have a black long-haired cat five years ago.’”
It was a routine pick-up for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, until they realized the feline had made an unusual journey.
“The cat was just wandering the streets of Santa Fe, animal control brought him in to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, he had no collar, so we scanned the cat and lo and behold the phone number was here in Portland, Oregon,” said shelter spokesman Murad Kirdar.
The shelter reached out to American Airlines and was able to secure a free flight for Sasha back to Portland.
Sasha was the star of his first flight.
“They all started taking selfies – including the crew – so it was great,” Kirdar said.
The big mystery: How did Sasha end up soaking up sunshine down south? We may never really know, but Usov has a working theory.
“My story is that he probably hitchhiked or backpacked or had some sort of adventure all around the 50 states,” Usov said.