Freda Watson was devastated when her cat, George, went missing 12 years ago in Winnipeg, saying she cried a long time for the pet she affectionately called her "little boy."
She was crying again on Thursday when the pair was reunited.
"Oh my god, I can't believe I got my cat back," Watson said in an interview on Friday. "We love George. He's my little boy."
George was found wandering the street near Grant Avenue earlier this week and taken to the Winnipeg Humane Society. Staff there found a faded tattoo and began investigating to decipher it and find the owner.
Watson's last name, address and phone number had all changed since the time George slipped out of her Weston-area home past a babysitter. It was Watson's former sister-in-law who got the message from the Humane Society, and she in turn called Watson.
The cat, who consistently hissed at the Humane Society's employees, became docile when he smelled his old owner and even "hugged" her as she carried him out.