When Raymond McNamara’s cat suddenly went missing and hadn’t been seen in months, he had given up all hope that he would see his cat Lily again. After all, Lily already was a senior cat at 20 years of age and was not only deaf, but also blind.
The 50-year old Raymond realized that Lily most likely couldn’t have made it alive in her condition, especially with the quite extreme local weather in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where Lily ran off and disappeared. He posted up flyers and posters all around the area and looked everywhere he could think of, but just couldn’t find Lily again.
“Because she’s blind, she always sticks close,” he told. “But in early February, when we were at a sand dune, I walked 10 feet away and turned my back for a brief moment. And when I turned around, she was gone.”
Emotionally upset, Raymond decided to go to California to try and get a bartending or serving job at a bar or restaurant. However, a couple of weeks after Lily had gone missing, Raymond received news from his mother.
Local animal rescue volunteers had been in touch with his mom with great news: the adorable cat had been found.
Although Lily was severely dehydrated and barely had anything to eat, she was still alive and could be saved. She also suffered multiple cuts and bruises, but the most important thing was that she could finally be reunited with her owner.
“I climbed in my car as soon as I could and started driving back to Florida, with tears of joy all the way,” Raymond told in an interview with PEOPLE. “What a glorious occasion. Really, it’s a miracle.”
The Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation in Miami helped to coordinate the search for the senior cat. Raymond and Lily reunited at a veterinary office and the heartwarming moment was captured on tape.
[The reunion] was the best feeling in the world for Robert and anybody who sees the video,” Kathy Bieniek, vice-president of the organization, said.
“He and that cat have such a strong bond — he’s never going to let her out of his sight again,” she says. “It was a very happy day.”
Ever since the rescue and reunion, these two best friends haven’t let each other out of their sight.
The bond between Raymond and Lily is extremely strong. Lily was a street cat, and Raymond saved her over two years in Washington. They had been traveling the United States together ever since, and Lily’s blindness caused might’ve caused her to wander off one day.
“Because she’s blind, she always sticks close,” he tells PEOPLE. “But in early February, when we were at a sand dune, I walked 10 feet away and turned my back for a brief moment. And when I turned around, she was gone.”
A local volunteer spotted Lily hiding underneath a trailer at a construction site in the neighborhood. Eventually, the word spread via social media and Lily and people started to remember Raymond’s lost cat. It took a couple of weeks of recovery, but Lily was soon healthy enough again to reunite with her owner.
“It’s so incredible that Lily was able to survive for two months on her own in the heat and torrential rain we’d been having,” Kathy recalls. “She was in bad shape with liver and kidney issues and we had to put her on IV fluids. But with a lot of loving care, she made it.”
“She’s never going to get away from me again. She is my world. There was no greater moment for me than being able to hold her again.”
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