No pet has ever been lost for a longer period of time and reunited with its owners because of a microchip.

If you have a pet, you know how devastating the thought of your furry companion running away is. That was the unfortunate reality for Jason and Liz McKenry whose cat Ritz went missing more than a decade ago in 2006. "We spent months looking all around and talking to the shelters," Jason told CBS News. "Anything we could think of, we tried." What the couple didn't know at the time, though, was that Ritz would return home 16 years later to reunite with his family.

After years of trying to find their beloved pet, the McKenry's received an automated text message from the company that installed Ritz's microchip, letting them know that their cat was at a nearby vet. "I was like, 'Well, that's gotta be a mistake.' I mean, I'm thinking they recycled the microchip number," Jason told the outlet. After 16 years away from their cat, Liz added that she just didn't think it was possible he had been found.

The couple, who is from Annapolis, Maryland, first got Ritz when he was two-years-old. At the time, Jason and Liz weren't married and didn't have children, so they say they saw Ritz as a member of their family. One day in 2006, their four-legged friend bolted of out of their apartment door and never came home. Liz said after all of these years, they never really gave up looking for him. She added that she still has Ritz's lost pet poster saved on her computer. "It felt like if I deleted it, it never happened, and he'd be forgotten," Liz said. "And I couldn't do that."

Little did she know, Ritz would come back into her life in what seems like a miracle. In early May a woman who had been caring for Ritz six miles from Liz and Jason's old apartment building, discovered the cat had a serious leg injury. She brought him to a local veterinary office with the belief that he would need to be put down. Before doing so, the vet scanned Ritz for a microchip and that's when Jason and Liz were notified that their furry family member had been found.

While it has been a long journey home for the cat, Ritz is now back with his family and on the mend. According to CBS News, no pet has ever been lost for a longer period of time and reunited with its owners because of a microchip.


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