CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The sweet story of Samson the cat begins inside a Hickory home with his owner Reverend Susan Walker.
"He was the biggest one of the litter so I named him Samson," Walker said.
One day, in January of 2016, Samson went missing.
For months, Walker searched and posted and hung up flyers searching desperately for her lost cat. "I did everything I could to try and find him and I was heartbroken," Walker said.
While Samson was missing, Cecil was doing just fine.
"I just thought he was a stray and he looked hungry so I fed him," said Polly Braswell.
Braswell said the stray became more and more friendly so she named him Cecil and began feeding him regularly.
Cecil was considered Braswell's adopted stray until one day he developed an infection around his mouth and needed to see a veterinarian. She took Cecil to Mountain View Animal Hospital for treatment.
"They had to put him under to treat him and I asked them to scan him for a chip," Braswell was told it's not common for people to have their cats microchipped, but the vet's office scanned Cecil anyway.
That's where they found out Cecil, was actually Reverend Walker's missing Samson.
"I almost didn't answer it because it was an 800 number," Walker said, "But I answered it and they said, 'Your cat Samson has been injured and is at an animal hospital."
Walker says she was ecstatic to find her long lost friend was alive.
"I d ropped the phone and I started to cry," Walker said.
The news was bittersweet for Braswell who'd grown fond of Cecil while he was in her care. "But I knew he needed to be back with his owner," she said.
Samson was reunited at the vet's office and thanks to a microchip, Walker has her furry friend back, but with a bittersweet feeling herself.
"He lived for all those months chasing mice and living outside, living the 'Life of Riley'," she said.
Walker has been torn about bringing him back to his original home as an indoor cat, "I've prayed about it and I'm still not sure what to do," she said.
The two women have jokingly discussed "co-parenting" options, but one thing is for certain; they've formed a friendship and visitation rights are wide open.
"I just can't thank her enough for taking care of my cat and being kind enough to take him to the vet," Walker said.