RICHARD and Maria Price, an American couple living in Valencia, had long moved on from their beloved cat Mimi, vanished so many years ago.
In fact they had moved on quite literally, abandoning their native New York for the retired life in Spain in 2021, almost a decade after giving up hope on finding her.
So when they started receiving calls from an unknown number with the New York area code in December 2022, they assumed it was just the usual spam.
But when they did finally answer, a mysterious voice on the end of the line asked them: “Did you used to own a black-and-white cat?”
It was a phone call that would trigger delirious joy, and a long-planned transatlantic flight to retrieve their long lost moggy.
Richard had adopted Mimi from a Long Island animal shelter in 2010 after her beautiful colouring caught his eye.
Although shy and nervous, having previously been a feral cat, she was seeking out a family and a home and had gradually warmed to the Prices.
Then disaster struck in 2012. They had gone on holiday and left Mimi in the company of a family member.
The beautiful ‘tuxedo’ cat darted through the relative’s legs and vanished into the urban wild.
The Price family spent a year searching New York for the feline. Richard put up posters, visited local animal shelters and even checked feral cat colonies behind supermarkets.
Although he never saw sight of her, over the years many neighbours did. They fed her and cared for her as they could.
Until one day in December 2022, someone brought her to the Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Centre.
Staff there checked Mimi and found she was chipped – and it led them to making the phone call that would change Richard and Maria’s world.
For the last several months, Mimi has been staying with Richard’s sister and niece, while he prepares to return to his native land to retrieve her.
He fears she might not remember him at first, but he’s betting that with a little time she’ll warm to him once again.