U of M student Nicholas Kramer first met Grim the cat in 2004. Grim was a three-week-old fluff ball. Kramer microchipped him, loved him, and slept with him every night.
But seven years later, Grim went AWOL. He had a tendency to wander by day and return by dinnertime. One night he never came home.
Kramer was living in south Minneapolis at the time. When his lease ran out, he moved to Northeast. For months afterward, he’d return to his old flat across town to see if Grim had dropped by. There was no sign of him. All was lost.
Five years passed. He adopted a new cat, which turned out to be a feistier, grumpier version of sweet old Grim.
Last Wednesday, Kramer was working on an architecture assignment at the U when PetWatch, the microchipping company, called out of the blue.
Someone at the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center had scanned his microchip. In Virginia. More than 1,300 miles away.
Kramer flipped out and called the shelter. He waited anxiously for them to locate Grim. Once the shelter beamed back that familiar description, Kramer and his girlfriend jumped into the car, driving nonstop for Virginia.
Grim was sitting forlornly in a cage when Kramer arrived.
“I opened the door, instantly I knew it was him,” Kramer says. “He looked at me and meowed a little bit, and he just melted into my arms. I had to hold back the tears.”
Afterward, Kramer and his girlfriend Morgan Mangelsen put Grim on a leash and took him for a walk along Virginia Beach.
Grim is 12 years old now. Kramer can only guess that someone found Grim as a stray, decided to keep him without ever taking him into a shelter to check his microchip, and eventually moved east. It’s a much likelier scenario than the thought of Grim journeying along the interstate on his own for five years.
If only cats could talk.