Willow, a 6-year-old calico cat. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

A calico cat named Willow escaped from her family’s Colorado home five years ago and disappeared. On Wednesday, she was found walking down East 20th Street in Manhattan.What happened in between those many years and thousands of miles is anyone’s guess.

Jamie Squires said Willow departed from the family home in late 2006 or early 2007 when a contractor left the door open. The family believed their feline friend had “been eaten by coyotes,” Squires told the Associated Press.

So it’s understandable that they were “shocked and astounded” to hear from Animal Care & Control in New York, who identified Willow using her microchip.

While no one will ever know where the cross country cat has been, ACC Executive Director Julie Bank said she didn’t think Willow had been a city street dweller for all of these years. Bank told the AP the cat appeared “healthy and well-mannered.”

Squires is slightly concerned that her formerly “really cool [and] sweet” Willow may have picked up a bad cattitude since she left home. “I don’t know what kind of life she’s had, so I don’t know what her personality will be like,” she confessed.

As soon as transport is arranged, Willow will make the journey back to Colorado to rejoin her family, her old pal Roscoe, the yellow lab, and an English mastiff named Zoe.

“The kids can’t wait to see her,” Squires said of her three children, the youngest of which has never met Willow. “And we still have her little Christmas stocking.”

Happily, this is not the first touching animal reunion of the year. In August, Monica Benson and her children were reunited with their Maltese Ceasar, who went missing in 2010.

More inspirational animal stories from BlogPost:

Paco, the robbery-thwarting Chihuahua

Shadow, the puppy who survived a tornado

Mason, the dog who crawled back to his owners on two broken legs