Thursday, November 30, 2023


Maine cat becomes Florida snowbird—goes home after seven years

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We can understand why RVers from Maine become snowbirds. After all, with winter temperatures in the single digits, it’s enough to freeze your digits! We can’t wrap our fingers (numb or otherwise) around how many Mainers flee to the south each winter but, no doubt, there’s plenty of them. Mainers often become Florida snowbirds. But a weird story out of Florida shows not just “hoomons” make for snowbirds.

Celebration turns to sadness

The story here goes back nearly seven years, to 2015. A Chesterville, Maine, woman, Denise Cilley, was at that time celebrating her daughter’s 10th birthday. On hand at the festivities, the family cat, Ashes. But the joy of the celebration got a serious downturn when Ashes turned up missing.

A family friend, Janet Williams, told WABI-TV that the Cilleys looked for Ashes in vain. “They looked for her for quite a while, and they sadly concluded she probably had become prey for a predator,” recalls Williams.

Ping from a microchip on

Fast forward to 2022. Denise Cilley, Ashes’ “cat mom,” must have been about knocked over when listening to a voice mail. The call came from Florida. A veterinarian in the Sunshine State had run a scanner of the “missing” cat, only to get a ping from a microchip. Ashes had been found, seven years, 1,500 miles or more away from home. A Florida snowbird cat?

How did Ashes make the way from Maine to Florida? Perhaps she crawled into someone’s RV basement storage compartment for a nap and caught a free ride. “I have interrogated her quite strictly and she is not talking,” Williams said. In any event, Ashes will be making a much quicker return home. Somebody ponied up air fare for the feline Florida snowbird.

Happy travels, Ashes!

More on pet microchips


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Swede\'nTexas (@guest_166709)
1 year ago

Mice in RV’s attract cats, Texas feral cats, never leave, too many RV’rs!

John Koenig (@guest_166572)
1 year ago

I love a story with such a happy ending! 🙂

chris (@guest_166543)
1 year ago

I always love a good cat-comes-home story. They are survivors. My kitty travels well but I hope I never go through this!

tom (@guest_166420)
1 year ago

Cats are quiet and tricky. Our collection of felines travel with a full body harness and a 6 foot lead from when we leave home until we are back home. just slows them down.

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