Missing for 10 years, cat finds his way back to family after California wildfires

A family whose cat who went missing from their California home 10 years ago never expected to see him again — but they were in for the surprise of a lifetime when they received a call he was discovered in the aftermath of the state’s devastating wildfires in October.

Pilot, now 13 years old, was adopted by the Thompson family as a kitten in 2004. He was three years old when he failed to return to the Thompson family’s Santa Rosa home one night, Jenn Thompson told the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Pilot was adopted by the Thompson family in 2004, when they lived in Santa Rosa, Calif. When he was found in October, it was just more than a mile away from where his old home used to be.  (GoFundMe)

But Pilot was found Oct. 31 by a Good Samaritan who was searching for her own cats in the post-fire rubble — a little more than a mile from where Pilot disappeared 10 years ago.

Thompson told the Times-Call she received a call from a pet hospital in Northern California, where Pilot’s microchip was scanned and traced back to Thompson, now living in Longmont, Colorado.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Thompson said. “I got off the phone and told my husband, and he’s like, ‘You’re going to go get him, right?'”

Pilot suffered “severe burns” in the devastating fires, but according to the Thompson family, is settling into his “new” home just fine.  (GoFundMe)

The cat underwent two surgeries to amputate five of his toes after suffering “severe burns” in the fire, but, according to the Times-Call, is settling into his “new” home just fine.

“I think he recognized my voice and that was pretty cool. When I brought him back, he definitely recognized my daughter,” Thompson said. “Right away, he went and cuddled up with her. I had no doubt. It’s like, OK, he knows my kid.”

Even though they were separated for 10 years, the Thompson family said they’re “so happy” to have Pilot back in their lives.  (GoFundMe)

The family, who said they’re “so happy to have” their cat back, started a GoFundMe fundraiser in November after discovering how badly Pilot was burned in the California fires. As of Tuesday night, people have donated more than $4,600 for the cost of his surgeries and medical care.

“When I got the first donation, I cried,” Thompson told the newspaper. “Everything has been so surreal. And just how many people have been interested and supportive and on Pilot’s side, it’s been really cool.”

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.