Man Spends 6 Months Looking for Cat He Bonds with, 3 Weeks Before New Year, He Has Emotional Reunion


A man spent nearly six months looking for his cat whom he shared a special bond with. Three weeks before the New Year, he had an emotional reunion.

Connell the cat and StephenShirley Barron

Connell, a long-haired gray cat, and his human dad, Stephen, share an extraordinary bond. In their household, Connell follows Stephen around like his shadow and wakes him up in the morning.

Stephen has stage IV stomach cancer, and Connell has been inseparable, showering him with healing purrs and snuggles. “Stephen and Connell are bonded. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Shirley Barron, Stephen’s mother-in-law, shared with Love Meow.

Six months ago, Stephen’s family began relocating to MA, where he would undergo treatments.

fluffy cat couchShirley Barron

“While en route during an overnight at the Quality Inn in South Bend, IN on June 13, Connell escaped through a hole in the window screen along with Peanut (Connell’s feline sister).”

Stephen and his family looked everywhere for them and eventually found Peanut, but Connell was nowhere to be seen. “Stephen was absolutely heartbroken.”

fluffy cat tuxedo catConnell and PeanutShirley Barron

The family launched a social media campaign through South Bend Lost and Found Pets and area shelters. They also sent a postcard to homes near the hotel, watching for possible sightings of Connell.

Tina Donica with South Bend Lost and Found Pets offered to help. She set up humane traps at a few sightings reported in July, but to no avail. “The whole community helped with feeding stations at the hotel and flyers on the poles,” Tina told Love Meow.

cat sighting yardConnell was captured on camera in late NovemberTina Donica

They lost sight of the cat until the end of November when Lindsay Slater, who had previously spotted the cat, saw him again in a neighbor’s yard, about nine houses away from the hotel.

They couldn’t reach the neighbor for two days, so they waited in the driveway when the gentleman was home to speak to him. “Lindsay showed him a picture, and he said, ‘Oh yes. I’ve been feeding him daily since about June.”

cat walks in humane trapTina Donica

With the gentleman’s permission, they set up a feeding station and cameras and waited for the cat to return.

An hour later, they noticed a fluffy figure emerge on camera and confirmed it was Connell. He appeared healthy and much bigger (like a “bear cub”) than they had anticipated.

cat in humane trapHe walked into the trap nearly six months after he went missingTina Donica

Connell was elusive and avoided the trap for two days. Tina decided to bring in a larger trap for small dogs and put it in the bushes where he hid all these months.

About two hours later, the camera captured Connell walking into the trap for food and lying in a lounging position after the door shut behind him. “Lindsay and I screamed as we watched it live on our cellular trail camera.”

sweet cat rescuedConnell was finally safeThe Meow Mission

They immediately called the family to share the exciting news. “It was an emotional phone call saying he was finally safe, almost six months later and almost Christmas.”

A local rescue, The Meow Mission, provided medical attention and care for Connell before the family came to pick him up and fly him home.

cat hugs man best friendsConnell was reunited with his human dad, StephenShirley Barron

On December 10th, Connell was finally home with Stephen, who anxiously awaited his arrival. Stephen sat on the floor beside his best friend, petting and comforting him after the long journey.

“It was a tearful reunion. It took only five or ten minutes before Connell was back in Stephen’s arms,” Shirley told Love Meow.

fluffy gray cat snugglesShirley Barron

Connell has gotten back to his usual routine, waking his dad in the A.M. as his punctual alarm clock. He accompanies Stephen at his desk, always ready to offer a cuddle.

“Stephen says he sleeps next to him every night and is hungry 24/7.”

cat morning alarm clockConnell tried to wake up his dad on Christmas Eve morningShirley Barron

The family is now complete with the return of Connell, Stephen’s most loyal companion.

“There were so many angels in South Bend helping us find Connell. They put food out at the hotel, sat there for days, posted flyers, set traps for months.”

sweet cats manPeanut, Connell, and StephenShirley Barron

“He’s now home with Stephen and Meghan (his wife), their two children, two dogs and his ‘sister’ Peanut. It is our family’s Christmas miracle.”

cats best friendsPeanut is thrilled to have her brother homeShirley Barron

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Related story: Cat Just Skin and Bones Walks Up to People Asking for Help, in a Month She Makes Incredible Transformation

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