Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reports the Yamagishi family lost their cat, Suika, during the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. While the couple's home in Ofunato escaped major damage, Suika disappeared in the subsequent chaos.
The Yamagishis reportedly spent three months searching for Suika before giving up.
Flash forward three years, to April 10 of this year: A couple walking in the nearby town Rikuzentakata found a black cat curled under a tree. They took the cat, who was wearing a collar, to the Ofunato Health Center, where officials tried to locate its owners.
Days went by with no one showing up to claim the cat. So the center decided to print the cat's picture in a local newspaper.
When an employee was taking the cat's photo on the morning of May 9, he noticed faded letters and numbers on the collar. He deciphered the name as "Yamagishi" and made out the numbers. They turned out to be the cellphone number of Takeo Yamagishi.
The Yamagishis quickly told their daughter in Tokyo, who reportedly burst into tears after hearing the news.
"Where have you been?" Kazuko Yamagishi asked Suika during their reunion at the Ofunato Health Center. "It's just like a dream."