Copy-Marine reunited with lost cat after 4 years

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR/CNN) - The Connell family - Robert, Jennifer and their two daughters - have lived happily in Bismarck since 2013.

But someone was missing.

Robert Connell saved Hemi  in 2009 when he found the cat on his engine block in North Carolina.

When he deployed and Jennifer moved on base, Hemi thought Robert was lost.

So naturally, the cat went looking.

"I was a little nervous about him not coming back, but I wasn't initially worried about it until, you know, about a half-hour, 45 minutes later, he wasn't back and I couldn't find him," Jennifer said.

Four years and hundreds of miles away, a miracle. A shelter in North Carolina found Hemi through his microchip.

Originally, a friend was going to fly the cat out, but after a blizzard derailed those plans, Robert Connell got tired of waiting.

"Hemi went looking for me," he said. "I wanted to return the favor and go get him."

Four years and 3,400 miles separated Hemi from home, but that was no problem for the cool cat.

"He knows that I needed him, and that's why he was still around, and that's probably why he went looking for me when they moved on base," Robert said. "He thought I was left behind."

Hemi has helped Robert deal with PTSD, and he's much more than just a cat.

"This is a perfect time that Hemi comes back in our lives, and I feel like our family is becoming whole again," Robert said.

The Connells are moving into a new home next month. This time, the yard will be fenced-in.

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