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We don’t know whether or not cats truly have nine lives, but the tale of a California calico named Patches is something straight of the song, ‘The Cat Came Back’—except for “the very next day” part..

Patches went missing in January 2018 when a mudslide demolished the home she shared with owner, Josie Gower. Gower’s partner, Norm Borgatello made it out alive. Gower, along with 22 other Santa Barbara residents, were not as lucky.

Gower’s loved ones surmised that Patches “was a goner” as well, but three years later—the cat came back.

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After wandering the streets for a time, Patches wound up at the Animal Shelter Assistance Program. Thanks to a microchip registered in Gower’s name, the shelter staff was able to locate Gower’s daughter, Briana Haigh, who in turn, alerted Borgatello to Patches’ miraculous return.

When cat and man were reunited for a poignant New Year’s Eve reunion, Patches recognized Borgatello immediately. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.