BAILEY, N.C. (WNCN) – Almost a year and a half after her cat went missing, a Wilson County woman is happy to be reunited with her pet. She recently returned home with three new kittens.

Ashleigh Lynn was heartbroken when she came home from vacation in October 2017 to discover her cat, Pancake, was missing.

“I looked all over the house. I looked under the furniture,” Lynn said. “I looked under the house.  I looked outside. I couldn’t find her anywhere.”

Lynn said a neighbor’s cat was killed by a coyote, so she thought the worst.

“I cried a lot. It was bad. Every so often I would look at my boyfriend and say, ‘I miss my cat.’ I always kind of had the hope she would come home, but I didn’t keep it too high,” Lynn said.

Weeks turned into months, and more than a year went by with no sign of Pancake. Then, last week, Lynn saw photos posted on Facebook of a cat that looked a lot like Pancake.

“She’s got little white paws and her is face half colored,” Lynn said.

Alice Pierce, president of the non-profit Purfect Hearts Cat Rescue, posted the photos of a calico she found abandoned in a home in Bailey, which is not far from where Lynn lives.

Lynn reached out to Pierce and the two agreed to meet. Pierce says when Lynn saw Pancake, she knew it was her cat.

“Ashleigh started crying saying, ‘this is my Pancake.’ To me, it was just unbelievable we had found the cat after 17 months,” Pierce said.

Pancake wasn’t coming home alone either. Pierce said Pancake recently gave birth to three kittens. Lynn named them Carrot, Penguin and Storm.

“I was so excited,” said Lynn.

Pierce said it’s unusual for cats to be reunited with their owners after such a long period.

“We’ve never had one that was reunited. So, it was an awesome feeling for that to happen,” she said.

Pierce believes someone was taking care of Pancake over the past 17 months but left her behind when they moved away.

“Don’t abandon your pet. Remember you got that pet for a reason. You loved it at one time. Find a family member or a rescue,” Pierce said.

Both women said Pancake’s journey is a great reminder to spay/neuter and microchip pets. Lynn said Pancake was scheduled to do so the week after she went missing.

Lynn said she cannot keep the three kittens, but Pierce has already found adopters for them.