Texas Pilot Adopts Feral Cats Rescued From Same Airport 4 Years Apart
Two similar-looking tuxedo cats named Mickey and Milo who were both rescued from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport four years apart are now together—at home with a pilot's family.
It's all thanks to a dedicated rescuer's chance encounter with a friend back in 2017.
In October of that year, airline pilot Marcus Vincent was on an ordinary flight into DFW. During the flight, the conversation between Vincent and his co-pilot turned to Vincent's pets.
"When they're flying, everyone talks about their kids. But we don't have kids, so the topic of our cats always comes up in conversation," Vincent's wife Debbie tells Daily Paws.
After learning about his love of cats, Vincent's co-pilot told him about a feral cat—a black and white kitty named Mickey— who he saw the week before at the airport. When Vincent heard people had been offering the cat crackers and other snacks to eat, he wanted to provide him with a decent meal. So during his layover in Boston, Vincent bought a can of cat food from a nearby convenience store, hoping he'd see Mickey when he arrived in Texas.
The chances of seeing Mickey in Vincent's short time at DFW were slim. The airport is one of the world's busiest, and the pilot wasn't sure how close he'd be to the lonely feline. Luckily, when he arrived, his plane docked just one gate over from where Mickey was staying.
After he spotted the kitty and fed him the special meal of cat food that he'd brought along, Vincent asked his wife if she could help find someone to rescue Mickey. At the time, the couple lived in California, but after their chance encounter at the airport, Vincent was smitten. Debbie recalls him telling her that after he'd returned from the trip, he'd be willing to fly back to Dallas just to bring the cat to their home, so long as someone at the airport could trap the kitty first. So Debbie began contacting Dallas-area cat rescue groups on Facebook to see if someone might be able to capture the cat and bring him into a clinic. Then some very good fortune came into play.
Mickey Comes Home
It was the very next day that Connie Ziegler Stout, who was working as a flight attendant at the time and volunteering with the Dallas-area feline rescue nonprofit Mid-Cities Community Cats, was notified by an airport employee of the cat living at the airport. The nonprofit typically practices trap, neuter, return (TNR) for feral cats they find, but when cats are friendly enough with humans, Stout says she tries to find them loving homes.
Stout used a humane trap to catch Mickey the next day and took him to a vet clinic for a medical exam and to be neutered. As Stout was leaving the clinic, she ran into a friend—another airport employee who was also active in Dallas-area cat rescue groups—and told her about the cat.
Just a few days later, Stout heard from that same friend.
"She said, 'There's a woman, her husband's a pilot, they live in California and she's looking for a cat from the airport,'" Stout tells Daily Paws. And sure enough, that woman was Debbie Vincent.
"If they hadn't passed each other, literally in the doorway, I would have never gotten Mickey," Debbie Vincent says. It took a few months for Mickey to adapt to life with the Vincents after living on his own outdoors for so long, but after a few months of socialization, they say he's morphed into a cuddly "lovebug."
Milo's Journey Home
Almost four years after Mickey was rescued, Stout received another message from an airport employee. Another tuxedo cat—Milo—needed to be neutered. Stout kept an eye on him in an attempt to trap the cat so that he could be fixed at the clinic, but the feral boy was shy and ran away when approached.
After a few months, Stout heard that Milo had begun letting employees pet him. Stout was skeptical that an adult feral cat would change their attitude about humans. But the next time she went to try and catch him, Milo let her pick him up.
"I have not seen a cat that was feral like that and got socialized living, you know, at an airport," Stout says. "It's shocking to me."
Stout posted photos and videos of Milo on social media asking if anyone could foster or adopt the sweet kitty. Debbie Vincent saw the posts, but she was in the middle of moving from California to Texas and didn't have the time to take in another pet.
After a few months, the Vincents settled in at their new home and Milo was still up for adoption. Because he looked so much like Mickey, the couple say they felt like they simply had to bring him into their home.
"When I first trapped the cat, I actually thought he reminded me of Mickey. I wondered if they were siblings," Stout says.
Debbie Vincent says she's planning on getting a DNA test to see if the two cats are actually genetically related. For now, Milo is still getting acclimated to his new home and his possible long-lost relative Mickey.
This story originally appeared on DailyPaws.com.