For Lorinda Roberts and her son, Jon Gulla, a black cat is a sign of good luck.
But it didn’t start out that way.
Julie, a feline whom Gulla rescued with her brother, Jack, went missing in early 2012 after exiting Roberts’ Carmel home. Gulla was away at college at the time, and Roberts felt awful about it.
“She just ran, and I couldn’t find her,” Roberts said. “I was just beside myself, going up and down Keystone (looking for her).”
She kept searching for Julie, but it wasn’t long before Gulla was diagnosed with lymphoma and the hunt became less of a priority. Still, she never gave up hope that the cat would be found, even though she knew the chances were slim.
“Every once in a while you find that needle in a haystack,” she said. “I was looking for a needle, not a piece of hay. I thought maybe there was a 1 percent chance.”
So when Roberts saw a post on PawBoost Lost & Found Pets earlier this month featuring a small, declawed, older adult black cat found near the area Julie went missing, she decided to see if it might be her.
She wasn’t feeling too hopeful when Gulla went to see the cat, a skittish stray that was hiding under the shed of a family that had been feeding her. But then everything changed.
“He went and saw her and saw the little (identifying white) spot on her belly,” Roberts said. “She went right to him. She started purring, so it has been an amazing reunion.”
Christine McKeon, a neighbor of the family who had been feeding the cat, had originally posted about the missing feline online. She couldn’t believe that her owners had been found – six years after the cat went missing.
“(Gulla) called her name, and she came out and came right to him,” McKeon said. “She wasn’t that friendly. She wouldn’t come running up to us.”
Julie is sequestered at Gulla’s home until her veterinarian clears her to be reintroduced to Jack.
“They used to cuddle,” Roberts said. “They were like two peas in a pod.”
Much has changed since Julie went missing in 2012. Gulla recovered from lymphoma, got married and landed a job in transportation. But even after all that time, Julie looks much the same.
“Someone must’ve taken care of her. Her fur was soft. There is a problem with her tail, but she doesn’t look like she’s banged up or anything,” Roberts said. “I’m wondering what angel cared for her at some point, because we’ve had some rough winters.”