It's a call that started first with confusion, then disbelief, and finally ended with a sense of sweet joy!

Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
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Six years ago, Denise Cilley of Chesterville adopted a female gray tabby cat from the Franklin County Animal Shelter. While the cat, named Ashes, became a favorite of Cilley's 10-year-old daughter Katie, it also displayed a bit of adventurous spirit.

That's why when Ashes wandered off from their home in 2015 and didn't return, Cilley feared the worst. Losing the cat was devastating for young Katie. But life went on, and eventually, a new cat was adopted and all was well with the world.

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Fast forward a few years to last month, when Cilley's phone rang, and she took part in a conversation she won't soon forget.

"I got the call from Love and Care Animal Hospital in Longwood Florida on January 22 with the good news that my lost cat had been found. My first reply was 'Well I live in Maine and I’m not missing a cat' and she said 'Well the microchip came back to Franklin County Animal Shelter with you was the owner.'

Confused at first, it took Cilley a beat to realize what was going on.

"I was like 'whoa wait a minute, that’s where I adopted my cats.' I asked if it was a female gray tabby and she said yes and I was like 'Oh my goodness! Ashes!'"

Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
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Katie, who happened to be home at the time her mom got the call, and who is now pretty much grown up, was elated!

"My daughter and I are very excited and with a lot of help from some great new friends and networking with old friends Ashes is being reunited with us."

Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
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With the help of some friends, one from Orlando and one from Maine, Ashes boarded a plane and flew into Portland Wednesday night, where she was reunited with Katie and Cilley after all these years.

"Amazing!" is how Cilley described the experience. She said Ashes has changed a little in the past few years. "Yes, older, bigger, grayer. Very lovey."

Katie even made Ashes a special "Welcome Home" gift.

 "My daughter crocheted her a purple ball and filled it with catnip."
Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
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Cilley says the mystery still remains about where Ashes left when she wandered off all those years ago.

"I have no idea how she got to Florida!"

And while Cilley and her daughter now spend some time getting reacquainted with their old feline friend, she says she's so grateful Ashes had that microchip to identify her.

"I can’t stress how important microchips are."

Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
Ashes the cat comes home, Denise Cilley
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If only cats could talk. What a "tail" Miss Ashes would have to tell.

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