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Larry and Elinore embraced in Salisbury after more than five years.
Larry and Elinore embraced in Salisbury after more than five years.Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society

Elinore Repucci will never know what her cat went through as he ventured along the North Shore for more than five years, but she’s relieved to have him home.

Larry the cat disappeared from Repucci’s backyard in Essex in July of 2013, and she had almost forgotten she was missing the domestic shorthair brown tabby mix when the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society called her March 7 to say a cat with a microchip containing her information had turned up in Salisbury.

“We just wish that Larry could talk or had a camera on him so we know what he did over those 5½ years,” said Brit Fox Hover, a shelter director for the rescue society.

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Hover doesn’t believe Larry went much outside the North Shore, but she is not shocked by his 20-mile journey from Essex to Salisbury.

Hover said a man saw Larry last week eating the bread the man was feeding to birds and brought Larry in because “he looked like he was really hungry and needed help.”

She said they were pleasantly surprised that Larry had a chip and that Repucci’s information was still up to date.

“Often times we get cats that have chips and the numbers are all disconnected,” Hover said.

Repucci was in “complete disbelief” and overwhelmed with emotion to hear her cat had been found. She wondered how Larry could have traveled 20 miles and asked Hover whether he may have hitched a ride in the back of a truck.

“He went missing on a drizzly day and just never came home. She thought maybe an animal got him; she kept asking, ‘Do you think he got in someone’s truck?’ ” Hover said.

Aside from a few missing toes on his front right paw, the 8-year-old cat is healthy, which makes Hover think someone may have taken him in.

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“We think somebody had been taking care of him for at least some time,” Hover said. “When [Repucci] came to reclaim him, we were reminiscing all the tough winters we’ve had.”

Larry “melted” into Repucci’s arms, and Hover said she knew Larry felt immediately more at home.

“He liked us. He was a sweet cat and he was very friendly, but when he saw his mom, he was another level of happy,” she said.


Sabrina Schnur can be reached at sabrina.schnur@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sabrina_schnur.