A California Navy reservist has been reunited with a cat he cared for while stationed in Baghdad.
The cat, whose name is "Mr. Meowgi," was flown into Los Angeles International Airport, and greeted by reservist Brad VanCleave with loud meows, the kind that earned him his name.
Upon being reunited with the cat, VanCleave said, “Hi baby. He's lost a lot of weight.”
VanCleave had been working as a government contractor at the Baghdad International Airport when he befriended the feline.
“In July of 2015 I saw a baby kitten and he stuck his head out from one of the shipping containers. And we started feeding it and his mom,” he said, according to CBS Los Angeles.
“It’s kind of a neat little feeling to know that you’re arriving at your work site and you’re greeting by this meowing little baby, and he’s chasing after you,” he said.
Mr. Meowgi’s mother had abandoned him, but VanCleave couldn’t stop thinking about him when he returned to his family in California.
"I knew if I left him there...[he] wouldn't be alive when I got back."
The SPCA International and Operation Bagdad organized the reunion. Mr. Meowgi had a long journey. He departed Baghdad on March 27, and made stops in Erbil, Iraq, Frankfurt, Germany, and New York before finally landing in Los Angeles.
Mr. Meowgi joins another cat and a dog in VanCleave’s home.