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Rochester cat found living in Owatonna Fleet Farm after missing for more than a year

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The holiday season got a little brighter for a Rochester couple who lost their cat more than a year ago.

Caylin and Alex Mathis lost their named Art in Sept 2019. He somehow got out of an open window in their bedroom.

"I went to the window and noticed that the screen had fell out, so I ran to the front door and that's when I saw him by the garages at our apartment," Caylin said. "I tried to run after him but he just got so spooked that he just took off."

The owners searched in the dark of night for him, but it was like he vanished into thin air. They searched for months, but, as winter started to set in, they became more hopeless.

"We made every effort, I mean all around Rochester," Alex said. "We put up signs. We were even the outskirts of Rochester just looking. We had so many people contact us, too."

Caylin and Alex tried to move on with their lives, but always wondered what happened to their fluffy and friendly cat. Then, just a few days ago they got a call from an hour away in Owatonna--- a veterinary clinic there had Art.

"I was just in disbelief about how far he got, I mean, Owatonna's not close," Caylin said. "That's far from where we live, I just have no explanation for how he got that far. Especially living in a Fleet Farm. They said he'd been living in Fleet Farm for over a month. They would see him popping up on the cameras walking around the store, climbing up on the shelves."

Fleet Farm employees were able to trap Art. Employee Adam Weber decided he wanted to take the cat home and take care of him.

"I have soft spot for dogs and cats so when i was told they caught him, I had to go back and see the cat where they had him in the warehouse," Weber said. "I went and saw him and thought he was a cute little cat. I sent a picture to my wife and it took a little bit to convince her to take him home."

Weber took Art to a veterinary clinic in Owatonna where they checked to see if he had a microchip. It was traced back to Caylin.

Adam then made arrangements to reunite Art with his family.

"I knew from the second she answered the phone she was just in shock and how much she loved this cat because she was in tears from the second she answered the phone," Adam said. "It all just felt right."

No one is sure how Art got an hour away from home and into the Owatonna Fleet Farm, but all are happy he is safe and back with his family where he belongs.

"To anyone whose lost animals, here's a living example to never give up," Alex said.

Caylin and Alex are making up for lost time and giving Art a lot of cuddles and treats.

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Megan Zemple

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