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Ella Bella went missing in 2017 while the family was moving from Canby to Portland. Fortunately, she was microchipped.

COURTESY PHOTO: CAT ADOPTION TEAM - Ella Bella is back home following four years in a unknown location. A former Canby family received an early Christmas present when they were reunited with their cat, four years after it originally went missing — all thanks to a microchip placed in the animal years ago.

Sherwood's Cat Adoption Team, also known as CAT, reported that the cat, Ella Bella, originally came in for a spay appointment in 2017 when she was still a kitten.

"I got her fixed at CAT, and one of things you could do was add a microchip to the appointment," owner Nicole Holland, now a Portland resident, told representatives at the largest cat-only shelter in the Pacific Northwest.

In a CAT news release, Holland told the organization that Ella Bella was something of a "scaredy-cat." When the family was getting ready to move, toward the end of 2017, the stress was too much for Ella Bella, who ran away from home.

Even after moving, although the family returned regularly to search for her — even trying to catch her by using humane traps — she couldn't be found.

"It was hard to give up the search, but at some point, we just hoped someone had taken her in," Holland said, adding, "Ella Bella would sit in my daughter's lap, even though she wouldn't do that for anyone else. They had a special bond."

The cat was located outside of Canby in early December by a local cat rescue group, Meow Village.

When Ella Bella was scanned, it was discovered her microchip information was outdated. However, volunteers were able to determine CAT was the agency that placed the chip in the feline.COURTESY PHOTO: CAT ADOPTION TEAM - Nicole Holland greets Ella Bella, four years after the feline went missing. A microchip installed by Sherwoods Cat Adoption Team helped reunite the two.

CAT then discovered the owners by searching through old records. They contacted Holland, who was reunited with Ella Bella.

"It's a Christmas miracle," said Holland. "The past few years have been pretty rough, and finding her now is just amazing timing."

CAT reminds those seeking a lost animal might try Petco Love Lost, which has a national database of 100,000 lost pets.

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