Jeff Stark was recently reunited with Simba 10 months after the furry wanderer disappeared from Stark's home near Farmington.
“I was very surprised," said Stark.
Simba's adventure began shortly after Stark moved into a new home. Normally an indoor cat, they decided to let him out to play one afternoon. It would be the last time they would see the tan and white striped cat until this week.
Stark believes Simba may have been startled by a couple of new puppies in the yard and then got disoriented in his new neighborhood.
Jo Ann Wilbanks knew something was different about the stray cat that arrived at her home several weeks ago, but she wasn't sure just what. She said he appeared one day and would hang around outside and sometimes get into the food left out for their dogs.
Wilbanks said he kept trying to come inside as if he knew he didn't belong outdoors and it was clear he was accustomed to being around people.
She noticed he had a collar with tags and contacted Corinth Animal Care Center but they weren't initially able to match the numbers on the tag with an animal. She began posting his picture on Facebook and asking everyone she saw if they new someone who was missing a cat.
During this time Wilbanks suffered the tragic loss of her sister in a car accident and Simba stayed close to the family. He proved to be a source of comfort as many family members spent time petting and playing with him.
“It really cheered everybody up to have the cat around," she said.
She took him to the animal care center one day and some of the staff recognized him. A quick dig through the files matched the missing cat with his owner and Stark got the call he thought he'd never receive.
Simba was quickly reunited with his owner who couldn't believe he was still alive and in such good shape. He only lost about two pounds during his adventure.
Stark said he's thrilled to have his furry friend back where he belongs.
“He's my little buddy," said Stark. "I really missed him.”