(CBS) Jason and Liz tells CBS News that before they were married and had children, they had a cat named Ritz that was their baby.
The couple from Annapolis, Maryland, saw their cat as a member of the family until 2006, when Ritz bolted out of the apartment door, down the stairs and never returned.
"We spent months looking all around and talking to the shelters," Jason McKenry told CBS News. "Anything we could think of, we tried."
Liz McKenry said they never really gave up looking for him. In fact, she still has his lost pet poster saved on her computer.
"It felt like if I deleted it, it never happened, and he'd be forgotten. And I couldn't do that," she told CBS News.
Some hope remained even if it seemed like it would never hope they never truly gave up on Ritz
Jason McKenry received an automated text: Cat Ritz has been found.
"I was like, 'Well, that's gotta be a mistake.' I mean, I'm thinking they recycled the microchip number," he said. "And she's upstairs and she overhears me, and she goes, 'What did you just say?!'"
"He's been gone for 16 years, I didn't think this was possible," Liz McKenry said.
Watch the interview below, if you're unable to view below follow this link.
Per CBS Ritz is now a record holder. No pet has ever been lost for longer and reunited because of a microchip.
Despite two injured legs, Ritz is on the mend. He already has his favorite chair and is enjoying the attention of the brother and sister he never knew.
Ritz has a very sweet demeanor, which means he may have been a house cat at some point after he ran away, but there's no telling. All we know for certain is that for 16 years Ritz was lost, but hope never was. -CBS