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Homeward bound: Trucker's lost cat returned home to Illinois after journey through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jan 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-07 23:16:57-05

DECATUR, Ill. — Days on the road as a trucker can feel lonely, which is why Chad McIntyre loved having his right-hand cat, Tyler, by his side.

"It's nice that he's laying there in the passenger seat, and yeah, he doesn't talk back, but it's nice to have somebody, something to talk to," Chad said.

At the end of November, Chad was changing Tyler's litter box and getting ready for his shift when Tyler escaped from his truck at a Flying J Truck Stop in Fernley, Nevada.

"I had to deliver to Walmart so I had to leave, and I was gone for about two and a half hours and came right back and started to look for him again," Chad recalled. "The next day I had to go to California, then I came back the next night after that and tried to look for him again, still couldn't find him."

Chad's wife, Brandy, spent days posting about Tyler in cat lost and found Facebook groups and trucker Facebook groups. Five days later, she thought you've "cat to be kitten me" when she discovered Tyler was at an animal shelter 670 miles away from where he went missing.

"She told me they were in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and I was just like, 'OK, not sure how he got there because he went missing in Fernley, Nevada,'" Brandy said.

Rock Springs Animal Control supervisor Lydia Gomez said Tyler was found by a concerned citizen at a Flying J in Rock Springs.

"We were able to check him in and he was microchipped, so we were able to locate an owner," Gomez said.

Gomez worked with independent transport coordinator Joan Nickum to help get Tyler back to his home in Decatur, Illinois.

"You knew had a home, just by the way he acted. He had a lot of personality, so I can see why they wanted him back," Gomez said.

Nickum coordinates transports by finding people to drive shorter legs of long road trips to transport animals from shelters to rescues, rescues to owners, and shelters to adopters. She drove four hours to help reunite Tyler with his family.

"I always put myself in their place," Nickum said. "If that was my critter and I had no idea what happened to it and someone called me and said, 'I have your cat, we're states away from you, but we have your cat,' I would hope people would help me get my cat back."

Tyler was reunited with his family on New Year's Eve. He had "meow comment" on his adventure, but the McIntyres believe he might've hitched a ride to Wyoming with another truck driver.

"He made it from one Flying J truck stop in Nevada all the way to another one in Wyoming, so he's had a heck of a trip just to get back home," Chad said.

Tyler's parents grounded him from road trips for the fur-seeable future, but they hope Tyler's adventure reminds pet owners of the importance of microchipping.

"It's really easy to lose a collar, but you can't lose a microchip. It's implanted under the skin and you scan it and a number pops up, and we're able to connect you with that microchip number," Gomez said.

"Make sure you register them too because if you don't register them, they won't know who they belong to," Chad said.