Lisa Ullenbruch wasn't sure why a cat was following her and her foster dog during a nightly walk Friday.
"I was walking my foster dog and she alerted to a cat being around, and normally it's not an issue, but this cat would not stop following us," the Fort Gratiot woman said.
After straining to keep the dog walking and the cat persisting, Ullenbruch said she got out her flashlight to take a look.
She noticed the tiger cat had a small head, something similar to her cat who had gone missing four years prior.
"I thought, 'no, that can't be my cat.' I called her name and she came running, and she followed me all the way home," Ullenbruch said.
She kept the cat quarantined away from her other animals before taking it to the vet, where they verified via microchip it was Sheiba, who had gone missing in 2014.
"I can't tell you how ecstatic we were, it was just unbelievable," said Ullenbruch, who had Sheiba since she was six weeks old.
The indoor-outdoor cat disappeared when she was 3-years-old.
While the vet did a full workup and vaccinated Sheiba, Ullenbruch said she was in good condition.
She said it was all a bit of a shock, as a few years ago she had seen a posting about a tiger cat being hit on the side of a nearby road. Ullenbruch said she went to collect the body to have the microchip checked, but it had already been removed.
"We assumed it was her," she said.
She believes someone must have seen Sheiba outside four years ago and thought she was a stray. Ullenbruch said she is thankful they took care of her cat and want them to know she is back home.
"I really do want those people to know she's back home and in good hands again," she said.
Ullenbruch also hopes her story will remind people to have animals checked for microchips if they believe they found a stray.
While it is upsetting that it appear Sheiba's second accidental owners didn't contact animal control or have her checked for a chip, Ullenbruch said she is thankful they took care of her.
And she wants them to know Sheiba is OK.
"I don't want them to go through what we've gone through," Ullenbruch said.
Contact Liz Shepard at (810) 989-6273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lvshepard.