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Cat injured in Marshall Fire reunited with owner after being missing for more than a year

"Too bad he can't tell tales, huh? The incredible journey," Boots' owner said with a laugh. "It just feels like our family member’s back. So it’s pretty joyous."

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — Jules Lieb couldn't hide her enthusiasm. The Lafayette resident sat on her couch sifting through photos of a cat she once thought she lost. 

"Bootsie!" she squealed out. "This is the best one." 

The business owner held out a photo of an orange tabby cat sitting on a lavender chair. It was inside a home Lieb used to live in. The last home Boots knew. 

Credit: Jaleesa Irizarry

"He just didn’t come home one morning," Lieb said. "Then it just kept going on for days and there was no Boots, so I posted in the neighborhood watches and Humane Society and that type of thing, but he didn’t surface. So I thought a coyote had gotten him."

There was no sight of Boots for more than a year, until Lieb got a few Facebook messages three weeks ago.

"'They're like, 'Jules, do you think this could be Boots?' I was like, 'OK, I'll get my hopes up and go.' Once he started interacting with me the last visit, I was very sure," she said.

Lieb was confident the cat staring back at her was one she hadn't seen in over a year. A cat she so dearly loved but barely recognized. 

"I don’t know how he survived, poor thing. He must have been in so much pain," she said. "It looks like it hurt so bad." 

Shortly after the Marshall Fire, Boots was found in a destroyed neighborhood. His face and paws were badly burned.

Credit: Humane Society of Boulder Valley

When the Humane Society of Boulder Valley initially received Boots, they thought he was owned by another family. But as he began to heal and more of his features became identifiable, they realized he was not a match. That was when the messages began to flood into Lieb's inbox and she realized the 7-year-old cat was hers. 

"It's definitely been a missing piece," Lieb said. "It feels really good to all of us." 

Lieb doesn't know how Boots ended up a few miles away from home. She's just glad he found his way back to his family. 

"Too bad he can't tell tales, huh? The incredible journey," she said with a laugh. "It just feels like our family member’s back. So it’s pretty joyous."

Lieb encouraged all pet owners to get their animals microchipped. After the incident, she made sure Boots and her two dogs were.

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