Florida resident Pamela Edwards had adopted the black, short-haired cat in the summer of 1997, naming it Cheyenne. Just a few months later, Cheyenne disappeared. Edwards hung flyers and ran ads in the local paper to try to locate the cat, but had no luck.
Earlier this month, she received a call from her local shelter: Cheyenne had been found, in San Francisco.
"I figured, there's no way that's my Cheyenne," Edwards said. "I told them, 'I had a cat named Cheyenne, but I've never lived in San Francisco.'"
Cheyenne was dropped off at Animal Care and Control on April 1 after someone found her wandering down a San Francisco street. After scanning her for a microchip and finding she had been lost in Florida seven years ago, they wondered if it was a joke.
Authorities at Animal Care and Control believe that a former neighbor of Edwards' probably found the cat, decided to keep her and then moved to San Francisco.
No one has contacted Animal Care and Control claiming to be Cheyenne's owner. And because the microchip identifies Edwards as the owner, she retains legal rights to the cat, Campbell said.
The animal shelter in Florida where Edwards adopted Cheyenne was among the first in that state to microchip its animals, said shelter director Keith Pratt.
Animal Care and Control is trying to find a way to return Cheyenne, who is now 10 years old, to Edwards. The agency can't afford to ship her to Florida, so workers there have been searching for a traveler to carry her on a plane trip.