Sasha on his complimentary flight aboard AA, en route back home to Portland.
Sasha the cat disappeared from his Portland home five years ago. His owner had lost any hope of finding Sasha and feared he might fallen victim to coyotes.
Surprise! A phone call from a shelter in Santa Fe and the intrepid folks at AA reunited feline and owner last Tuesday.
A spokesman from American Airlines, told USA TODAY that the company was "honoured" to reunite Sasha with his owner after the feline's long journey.
The shelter had found Sasha earlier this month, his fur matted and unkempt, wandering the city streets. Shelter staff took him in, thinking he was someone’s outdoor cat, and set out to find his owner.
Luckily, Sasha was microchipped, and his owner was found all the way in Portland.
The shelter's Murad Kirdar hand-delivered him to owner Viktor Usov at PDX. American Airlines, clearly with a soft spot for pet-owner reunions, flew the representative from the animal shelter and Sasha to Portland at no cost.
By Tuesday night, the healthy, 19-pound Sasha was back on his favourite place on the couch, flipping over for belly rubs.
"It's like he never left. He's so happy," said Usov, 31. "I guess I want to think he was on a great American adventure."
Kirdar says it's not uncommon for a cat to jump in a U-Haul or a train or the back of a truck.
"But for 1,200 miles and for a cat to be missing for five years and then for a microchip to connect both of them? That rarely happens," he says.
“I’m sure he has a lot of great stories to tell."
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.