After Six Years Spent Living As A Stray, This Missing Cat Recognized A Face From Her Past

Image: via Current
In 2018 a family in Carmel, Indiana, found a scared black cat living under their shed. They started feeding her, and their neighbor shared a picture of her online to help reconnect her with her owner. Little did they know, the feline had been on the streets for six years, and she’d soon recognize someone from her life long ago.
Image: Jennifer C.
Once upon a time, Julie the black cat had been a pampered feline. Indiana resident Jon Gulla adopted Julie and her brother, Jack. The pair of pets were close, Gulla told Current. “They used to cuddle,” he recalled. “They were two peas in a pod.”
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Image: Jennifer C.
But in 2012 the feline siblings would be unexpectedly separated. Early that year, Julie was at Gulla’s mother’s home in Carmel, Indiana, while Gulla was at college. And somehow Julie got out of the abode.
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Understandably, Gulla’s mother, Lorinda Roberts, said she felt terrible that the cat had escaped under her watch. “She just ran, and I couldn’t find her. I was just beside myself,” she recalled to Current. And upon noticing the cat was missing, she went on a search of the nearby area but found nothing.
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Roberts and her son hung flyers throughout the neighborhood, but they never heard anything about Julie’s whereabouts. Nonetheless, Roberts continued to look for the cat. But then she received some scary news about her son’s health.
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Just after Julie’s disappearance, doctors told Gulla that he had lymphoma. And from that point on, Roberts admitted that her search for Julie was placed on the back burner while her son battled cancer.
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Still, the mom said she always held out hope that Julie would return home. “Every once in a while you find that needle in a haystack,” she stated. “I was looking for a needle, not a piece of hay.”
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Image: Facebook/Jonathan Gulla
In Julie’s absence, life went on for both Roberts and her son. Over the course of six years, Gulla beat his cancer diagnosis, tied the knot with his girlfriend and nabbed a new job. He ended up settling in Indianapolis with his wife.
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But in spite of all the changes in her son’s life, Roberts still believed that, “maybe there was a one percent chance” of Julie ever coming back. And in 2018, when she happened to see an online post about a found cat, she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d finally landed upon that sliver of hope.
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The post on PawBoost Lost & Found Pets described a cat similar to Julie. A family had found a stray black cat under their shed. They said the feline was an older adult, and that it appeared nervous.
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Of course, these were qualities likely shared by plenty of strays. And so Roberts wasn’t entirely convinced that the cat was Julie. After all, there was no mention of her identifying feature, a patch of white fur on her belly.
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Nonetheless, her son went to the family’s home in Carmel, just in case. As Roberts recalled, “He went and saw her and saw the little spot on her belly.” Then, the cat moved toward Gulla.
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Although the family reported that the stray cat was too skittish to come near them, Roberts said, “She went right to [Gulla]. She started purring.” And that was the start of what became “an amazing reunion.”
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The woman who had originally posted about the found cat, Christine McKeon, was taken aback by the touching reunion. “Gulla called her name, and she came out and came right to him,” she said.
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According to McKeon, “[Julie] wasn’t that friendly” to anyone in the time she lived under the shed. And although she was a stray when he found her, Gulla later revealed that it seemed as though someone had taken the cat in, at least for some time.
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“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,” Gulla said. And in Indiana’s cold winter climate, that care could very well have saved Julie’s life.
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“I’m wondering what angel cared for her at some point, because we’ve had some rough winters,” Gulla said. Fortunately, it would be him who would care for her from then on. He took Julie home after finding her that day.
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The last thing left to do was to reintroduce Julie to her feline brother, Jack. But Gulla couldn’t do that right away – a vet had to give her the all-clear before the cats could be reintroduced. In the meantime, Gulla quarantined her at his house.
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As he settled back into life with his long-lost cat, Gulla told Fox 59 it was “ just crazy” to have Julie home again. “It’s almost like seeing a ghost or something,” he added. For many who read about Julie’s return, the tale gave them both happiness and hope.
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Readers also felt gracious for those who had looked after Julie along the way. Commenter Roseanne wrote, “The biggest… thank you to the amazing people who took care of Julie. [She] was so fortunate to have found loving people who cared about a little black stray.” And furthermore, the cat was lucky to still have people at home who loved her and happily took her back after six long years.

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