- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Two years and 90 miles later, social media and the power of friendship have helped reunite a Siamese cat with her owner.

Gracie went missing from her central Arkansas home in July 2013, but on a Sunday in May Vicki King was reunited with the cat she assumed she’d never see again, The Jonesboro Sun (http://bit.ly/1EAK0F2 ) reported.

“We looked for her, called local vets and shelters looking for her and posted on Facebook about her, but we never heard anything,” King said.

King’s reunion with Gracie was set in motion by Arkansas State University Instructor Bonnie Thrasher’s sudden death in March.

Thrasher had more than 20 cats at the time of her death, and Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts, a friend and professor who taught alongside Thrasher, has been working with Tolice Heimsoth to find new homes for the cats.

“My sister had sent me a picture of a cat with a quote that said, ‘Tell me again about the day you brought me home, and I was all cold and hungry, and you became my forever human,’ and I posted it on Facebook,” Pitts said. “It just happened that the Siamese was next to it when it showed up on Facebook, and Myleea Hill shared the post.”

Hill, another colleague of Thrasher’s, went to college with King.

“When I saw Myleea’s post, I messaged her asking for more information about the cat,” King said. “She messaged me back and said she was described as a petite cat who just wants to be left alone. That sounded just like Gracie, so I asked if her markings were gray or black.”

King called Pitts for more information and asked for a video. After Pitts sent the video, King showed it to her husband and mother who asked why she was going through old videos.

“They thought it was Gracie, too,” King said. “I had to see her. My head said there was no way, but my heart said yes.”

Heimsoth said when King saw the cat she knew it was Gracie.

“She immediately said, ‘That’s my cat,’ but it wasn’t like the reunion videos you see of soldiers coming home. Siamese are not the friendliest cats,” Heimsoth said. “It’s amazing. There’s a certain amount of comfort to know that she will have a loving home for the rest of her years.”

King said Gracie has some social issues to work through, but is slowly letting King pet her.

“On the way home, I kept talking to her and letting her smell me, and she’d let me pet her between the ears,” she said. “She has a long way to go, but she was gone for two years, and it’s only day three. I’m thankful for Bonnie, though. If not for Bonnie - and then her friends trying to adopt her animals, I don’t think we’d have ever seen Gracie again.”

Heimsoth said of Thrasher’s 19 inside cats, there are still 10 that need homes in addition to two inside dogs and six barn cats.

Pitts said Gracie’s story has a happy ending, but is still hopeful they can find forever homes for Thrasher’s other cats.

“Gracie has certainly been shown a great deal of grace,” she said. “We’ve made friends with rescue agencies, and the Greene County Animal Farm has been very supportive, even providing food and litter for Bonnie’s cats while we try to find homes for them.”

With local shelters full, Heimsoth said it has been a challenge to find homes for all the animals Thrasher loved.

“Jonesboro has an abundant cat population, and most people who are cat people already have cats,” she said. “What we’ve been saying is ‘Take one more cat.’ They’re all older, neutered, in good health and litter box trained.”

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com

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