BURNSVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - After wandering the south metro for more than a year, a lost cat named Freddie was finally reunited with his owner in Minneapolis.
Freddie's owner, Justin Frey, has three women and the fact that he microchipped the feline to thank for the facilitated reunion.
"He was found 16 miles away from his house, three cities away, after all this time. Without that chip it would be impossible to find him," Char Gruber, one of the women who helped find Freddie, said.
On Jan. 5, Gruber spotted Freddie as she drove down Interstate 35W in Burnsville near Black Dog Road and pulled over to help him.
"The poor little thing lifted one cold paw, then lifted the other cold paw… it was supposed to be -13 [degrees] that night and he didn't have a tail to keep him warm," Gruber said.
Gruber's post about the cat caught the eye of Carolyn Kirstine, a volunteer trapper who tells Fox 9 she's easily rescued more than 100 felines this year alone.
Kirstine's expertise became evident the night Freddie was rescued.
"We were hauling that trap down that steep embankment. It was snowy. We basically slid down the embankment," Gruber said of Freddie's rescue.
Within minutes, Kirstine had Freddie in the trap.
"Bringing that trap with the 10-pound cat back up was the fun part," Gruber said.
Anne Ciecko of St. Paul gave Freddie a warm home for a night when she made a key discovery.
"I put him in a wire dog kennel for the night, with food, water and a heated kitty bed. He was friendly right away. Just cold, hungry, and very thirsty," Cieko said in a Facebook message to Fox 9.
Cieko discovered Freddie, fortunately, had a microchip.
"We would not have been looking toward Minneapolis for its owner, he would not have been looking towards Burnsville if he was looking at all after all this time," Gruber said.
Cassandra Boser, an animal containment coordinator with P.U.P.S., a lost pet-care facility in Maple Grove, said there are a lot of scenarios where a microchipped animal could take that long to get home.
Boser adds the primary reason even microchipped pets can go missing for so long is because some owners do not keep their registration up to date or fail to update contact information.
"We've had cats here that have been missing for over a year and we call the owner and they're pretty amazed that the cat was found," Boser said.
Neither Boser nor representatives with the Animal Humane Society, however, believe microchips are a flawless system. The Animal Humane Society still considers a collar and tag as the top means of reuniting lost pet with their owners.
P.U.P.S. serves Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Crystal, New Hope, and Plymouth residents. More information on P.U.P.S. can be found here.
11350 89th Avenue N
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Monday - Friday 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.