HOBART, Australia – A cat named Clyde was reunited with his owner on Wednesday after a mysterious three-year odyssey in which the long-haired Himalayan strayed 2,400 miles into the Australian Outback.
Ashleigh Sullivan, 19, said she had given up hope of ever finding Clyde after he vanished when he was about one year old from her family home near Hobart city in Australia's island state of Tasmania.
"I'm positive he remembers. He's not acting like he's suddenly appeared somewhere and is frantic," Sullivan said as she tearfully held her contented cat.
A nurse found Clyde wandering at a hospital in the remote Queensland state town of Cloncurry and cared for him for four months before taking him to a local vet as she was leaving town and could not take the cat with her.
The vet, Donna Weber, traced Clyde's owner from an identification microchip that was imbedded under the cat's skin.
But no one has a clue how Clyde managed the 185-mile (300-kilometer) sea journey across the Bass Strait from Tasmania off mainland Australia's southeast coast, and then about more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) overland to Cloncurry, deep in the arid interior of the Outback.
An animal transport company returned the cat to Hobart for free — flying most of the way.
"It's pretty special to have him back." Sullivan said. "I'm overwhelmed."