California family thought beloved Thomas the cat died in wildfires-- but he didn't

- When the Santa Rosa fires devastated their neighborhood, the Stockham family had to leave their cat, Thomas, behind. 

After the fires, the family returned and were further devastated when the remains of a cat were found on their porch near Thomas’ bed. They said their goodbyes and had a pet funeral. 

“I got him when I was two, and he was like my first animal. Realizing that he was gone was terrible,” said Thomas’ owner Lea Stockham told FOX 2.

Seven weeks later, however, something amazing happened. The real Thomas came home.

“I started crying because I was like, 'No way. This can't be happening,'" Lea said.  “I didn’t believe it until I saw him, and he was like, meowing and purring, like, he knew it was me.”

The miracle reunion was made possible by San Francisco Park Ranger Shannon Jay. Ever since the fires, he’s been trapping lost cats in the fire zone. Thomas was one of them, and fortunately he was microchipped. 

“The idea that they’re out there, and these people are grieving and they’ve lost everything, and to just bring that little beacon back to them, and just to see how happy they are, it’s overwhelming,” said Jay.  And now the Stockham family is whole again. 

"It's a's life changing. It really changed the whole dynamic of our recovery," said Dani Stockham, Lea’s mother. "Thank god for the microchip. It's such a simple thing. You just don't think it’s going to happen, but he wouldn't have been chipped, they wouldn't have contacted us and I don't think we ever would have found him."

Watch the video to see this truly ‘paw-some’ reunion. 

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