Man who is not a cat owner is taken aback to come a ginger kitten in their garage while repairing their jeep

Photographer Steve Hamel was busy repairing his car one day in December 2020 when an unanticipated visitor arrived—a long-haired ginger feline with white mittens.

The cat confidently strolled around his garage and even hopped onto his jeep, as if she had done so many times before, but Steve was certain that she was a stranger.

“I’m just trying to fix my jeep. I don’t even have a cat,” he recounted to Love Meow as he shared his story.

A man in a garage with a long-haired ginger cat perched on his right shoulder

Steve was unsure of the cat’s origins, but he was charmed by the affable feline. She persistently sought his attention and even perched on his shoulders to cuddle. As he continued to work, the cat remained on his shoulders, enjoying a ride around the garage.

Afterward, she leapt onto a crane and surveyed the jeep as if conducting a meticulous inspection. Eventually, the cat found a spot on a toolbox and made it her makeshift bed.

Steve hadn’t anticipated encountering a furry assistant in his garage that day, but he was grateful for the unexpected company.

A ginger cat clinging onto a man's face

The affectionate kitty lacked a tag, and a microchip couldn’t be found either, so Steve and his family started going door-to-door in their neighborhood to inquire if she had an owner.

“If our attempts to locate her owner are unsuccessful, we will be adopting the cat. She is incredibly affectionate,” Steve shared on Facebook.

Meanwhile, his daughter had already given the cat the name Sally, and their family had grown deeply attached to her. They even purchased supplies for her and got her a name tag.

A ginger cat lounging on an open toolbox

“Sally enjoys perching on my shoulders, and though her sharp claws can make it uncomfortable indoors, my work jacket provides some cushion,” Steve remarked.

He shared Sally’s story on Facebook, and it quickly went viral, garnering thousands of reactions. Just a few days after the cat had appeared in his garage, Steve was contacted by a local family who recognized her.

As it turned out, Sally had owners who lived nearby.

A ginger cat with her owners

“We located the owners. These wonderful individuals were joyfully reunited with their cherished cat. They resided just around the corner from us and had numerous heartwarming photos of the cat playing with their daughter,” Steve shared in an update.

Steve expressed that it felt good to reunite Sally with her owners, although he admitted it was also heartbreaking at the same time. Nevertheless, they knew it was the right thing to do and had no regrets.

The absence of Sally left an empty spot in their hearts, so they started considering the idea of welcoming a new feline companion into their family.

A man sitting on a couch with his brown dog and black cat

They ended up adopting an adorable black cat, and they couldn’t be happier.

“We initially wanted a tabby, but this black cat stole our hearts. She’s incredibly sweet, and black cats are often overlooked for adoption. We had already made a tag for Sally, so this is Sally 2.0,” Steve said.

Sally 2.0 quickly settled into their home. Now, their household includes several dogs and one cat, making them a perfect blended family!