A Hawaiian family's cat was found and returned to them a full fifteen years after it had disappeared, reminding pet owners it's never too late to give up on a missing pet.

Hawaiian Family's Cat Found & Returned After 15 Long Years

Tori Takayesu's family was heartbroken when James, their pet tortoiseshell cat, went missing way back in 2001. Imagine her surprise, then, when the Maui Humane Society called to say her cat had been found!

According to the Maui News, James (a female, like most Torties) was traced back to Takayesu through the number tattooed on her ear by the vet when the then-young kitten was spayed at the humane society.

Hawaiian Family's Cat Found & Returned After 15 Long Years

“My kids had been looking for her at least a month or two months,” recalled Takayesu. “They were really sad. She didn’t come back. We couldn’t find her anywhere. We didn't know what happened to her.” Takayesu was sure there must have been some mistake but when she saw James at the shelter she recognized her immediately. It seems James remembers his long-lost family as well: according to Takayesu, now that she's back home it's “just like she never left.”

The Rip Van Winkle of cats is now 16 years old and appears to be in good health, all things considered. “It's really nice to think someone took care of her for all these years,” said Takayesu. “Clearly she was taken care of, even if people on the street fed her. And then to have her come back to me is so special.”