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Feline Flying to Tennessee for Special Reunion

February 15, 2022

Valentine’s Week Delivery for Relocated Owner

A cat at the county shelter in Jurupa Valley is taking a trip on Wednesday morning (Feb. 16) to Tennessee.

The trek is all part of a special Valentine’s week reunion with a family that owned the cat before a big move to Knoxville, Tenn. The trip is being paid for by a personal donation and with some help from the Animal Solutions Konnection (ASK) Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists the county shelter with programs, spay and neuter grant funds and larger projects.

The cat, an 8-year-old domestic, short-hair named Ebi, came to the shelter in January after a Good Samaritan found her on Lemon Street in downtown Riverside – not far away from where she first disappeared from the Drnec family in early 2015.

An employee scanned the cat for a microchip and the scanner beeped. A hit! When a phone call was made to Joe Drbec, he said he was stunned.

“We never thought we would ever see her again,” said Joe Drnec (pronounced “Durr-nick), who now lives with his wife, Leanna, in the west Knoxville community of Bearden. “This is really an amazing story.”

The Drnecs relocated to Tennessee in September 2015 with their Calico, Eunice, now 14 years old.

They adopted Ebi – pronounced ebb-eee (rhymes with levee; the word is Japanese for shrimp) – from the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center, a nonprofit shelter organization in Riverside. Ebi was just 3 months old at the time.

“She was primarily an indoor cat,” Drbec said. “But she just went crazy at the door, always wanting to go outside. We allowed it, but my wife always supervised her. She eventually was an indoor-outdoor cat. But one day she did not come back.”

Ebi will fly with her human companion out of the Ontario International Airport at approximately 6 a.m. (PST) Wednesday. The duo will eventually make it to Nashville. She and her human will then travel by car to Knoxville, arriving for the big reunion at approximately 6:30 p.m. EST.