Thumper is reunited with his family after being seen on Cam with Creature


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Thumper, the cat, disappeared from his home in Maine in October. The shaggy brown and white cat used to come and go outside for five years. Because in their previous residence, the wide area allowed for safe exploration with its humans nearby. However, her human, Katy Kerry, had recently moved into temporary accommodation after selling her 10-year-old home in Saco. Soon she was planning a bigger move to Utah.

A few days after the move, Thumper slipped away while Kerry carried groceries to the rental house.

“Unfortunately, it was that love of playing away from home that led [Thumper] to sneak out the front door while my mum was shopping, and that was the last time we saw him,” Chelsea, Kerry’s daughter said Tarbox.

Pictures via WGME13/ Carolyn Meadow and Chelsea Tarbox via Bangor Daily News.

Losing Thumper was devastating. Hoping to find him, they did everything they could, posting on social media and making flyers. Additionally, they contacted neighbors, the local animal shelter and notified animal control, WGME13 reported. Unfortunately, they don’t note that Thumper was microchipped.

Now, as Kerry prepared to move across the country, the women began to lose hope.

“We have nothing,” Tarbox said. “As time passed, the hope that he would return faded and we started to mourn the loss of our little guy.”

In December, the two women both moved away. When Kerry started a new life in Utah, her daughter moved back to Boston.

Meanwhile, Thumper was alive and well and trying to find his way back to his familiar home.

Thumper in the Lost Cat ad

Thumper in the Lost Cat announcement via Facebook

Thumper survives in the wild

Now the little cat had to survive on its own as it traveled nearly three miles, returning to Saco. According to Tarbox, he wasn’t a particularly tough cat, but he got away with it somehow.

“When he was indoors/outdoors he was a good hunter, but he’s not a tough cat,” Tarbox said. “I don’t think I’ve heard him hiss/grow before.”

Turns out Thumper was quite resourceful and even had a few adventures along the way.

Trail cam from Thumper and Fox, or Fisher?

Thumper trail cam

Trail Cam captures Thumper…and a creature

Fortunately, for Thumper and his human family, an invisible eye watched him one night.

Saco’s Carolyn Meadow enjoys watching animals on the trail camera in her backyard. Then, at the end of November, she saw that an unusual interaction had taken place. There, in the photo, there was a little cat looking at an approaching creature!

As you can see, it was Thumper watching carefully what appeared to be a curious fox. According to a biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, foxes don’t usually attack house cats.

“Red foxes are opportunistic predators and could kill house cats, but that’s probably not that common,” Shevenell Webb said.

“Domestic cats are very capable of defending themselves and can climb trees to escape predation,” she said. “The photo suggests the curiosity of cat and fox – neither seems alarmed at being so close to each other.”

Red fox by British Wildlife Center via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Red fox by British Wildlife Center via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

However, some people said they thought it might be a fishing cat, a large weasel parent. If so, Thumper was lucky because these animals sometimes eat each other and even porcupines. On occasion they have shot lynx twice as big and can climb trees.

Fishing cat climbing a tree via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Fishing cat climbing a tree via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain

Fortunately, Thumper made do with the curious creature. As you can see, no animals looked aggressive in the trail camera photo.

A cat lover saves Thumper

Once Meadow, a cat lover, knew the cat was in the area, she decided to try to help. So she pulled out some food, thinking Thumper was probably a feral cat.

Then the cat showed interest in getting closer.

“One night he ‘talked’ to me and I approached him slowly, I crouched down, I talked to him and he came and put his nose in contact with my hand. It was clearly not wildcat behavior,” Meadow said.

Thumper on a bed, 2

From there, she slowly encouraged Thumper until he was finally comfortably seated on her lap. Now she set out to find out who she was missing. Encouraged by her sister-in-law, she searched Facebook. Finally she spotted a missing cat matching Thumper’s appearance released in October.

Soon, Meadow was hosting a tour of Tarbox and a happy reunion.

A meeting for Christmas

After Tarbox arrived, Thumper heard his voice and ran.

“He heard my voice while I was talking with Carolyn, immediately came out of hiding and ran towards my feet,” Tarbox said. “He let me pick it up, and we had a few moments to snuggle and purr before we turned around and headed back to Boston.”

Tarbox was thrilled to find Thumper, thanking Carolyn for her efforts to make it all possible.

“If I didn’t know he had been gone for two months, I wouldn’t have any idea. Truly the best Christmas present I could have asked for,” said Tarbox.

After the reunion, Tarbox has scheduled another reunion with her mother in January. First, they had to figure out the best way to get him to Utah. Maybe he can also play with his little plastic dinosaurs again? 🦖

Maine cat

Pictures via WGME13/ Carolyn Meadow and Chelsea Tarbox via Bangor Daily News.

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