Cat who hitchhiked miles from home found thanks to $29 prop

A missing cat was miraculously saved thanks to an Apple AirTag around its collar.

In a video shared on TikTok on January 18, user @osrastays explained that her indoor cat Tofu had disappeared from her home in Geylang, Singapore.

She thought the ginger had been stolen, because Tofu’s AirTag had been detected on the Marina Coastal Highway, about 10 miles away. The $29 accessory can be attached to important items, such as keys, which can then be tracked through an app on your smartphone.

Missing cat poster pinned to a tree
A photo of a missing cat poster pinned to a tree. A 2018 study found that lost cats tended to stay close to home, with 75% found within 500 yards.
StockSeller_en/iStock/Getty Images Plus

“At that point we knew someone might have thrown the necklace away and taken away some tofu,” she wrote.

However, upon arriving at the location – a busy highway facing the Singapore Strait – a frightened Tofu was found sheltering in the bushes between two hectic roads, having somehow escaped from the house and walking through town.

Users were moved by the emotional images, with the clip receiving over 3 million views and 389,000 likes in just two days.

Can an ID tag find your missing pet?

According to American Humane, approximately 10 million pets are lost or stolen in the United States each year. Unfortunately, only 2% of cats in shelters are reunited with their owners without an ID tag or microchip.

A 2018 study funded by the University of Queensland, Australia explored the most common areas where missing felines are found.

Of the 602 cats recovered through the project, 4% of cats were discovered hiding inside the home, such as under or behind furniture (33%), in the basement (33%), outside inside furniture (11%) or in a bedroom (22%).

Eighty-three percent of the cats were found outside, while 11 percent were in someone else’s home and 2 percent in a public building.

Cats were more likely to be found alive if their owners performed a physical search (59%), compared to those who waited to see if their pet would return on its own.

The majority of the felines did not travel far from home – half of the cats recovered were within 50 meters of the escape point, while 75% were found within 500 meters.

Still, there are cases of long-lost pets returning to their families, even after a long time has passed. A lost cat recently stunned its owner after casually walking through the door after two years, while a missing cat returned home after 390 days but with a few extra pounds.

“He was so scared”

At around 11:30 a.m. on the day Tofu disappeared, the AirTag on his collar was located on the Marina Coastal Expressway. The beacon then moved to a nearby parking lot, before returning to the highway at 12:30 p.m.

Suspecting that Tofu was stolen, the Osrastays, her family, and her brother’s friends searched the marina and surrounding area, hoping to spot Tofu or at least her medal, but the cat was “nowhere to be found”.

However, the AirTag moved again, signaling that it was now in nearby bushes. The bushes were sandwiched between two extremely busy roads, with cars, buses and trucks constantly speeding past.

“[We thought]”that person must have thrown Tofu’s necklace in the bushes,” osrastays wrote in the video’s captions.

His brother’s friend Suveen suggested that Tofu might be stuck and led them there.

“We managed to cross the highway with their help,” she said.

“It was very dangerous but Suveen said maybe the tofu was really there, and we didn’t all give up.”

Suveen was right, and a terrified Tofu was found nestled among the leaves.

“We could hear the beep of the airline tag,” she continued.

“My husband went to the bush and took Tofu away, he was so scared.”

Woman cuddling a ginger cat in the woods
A photo of a woman cuddling a ginger cat in a wooded area. Tofu was found hidden in bushes in the middle of Singapore’s Marina Coastal Expressway.
Dima Berlin/iStock/Getty Images Plus

How did Tofu end up so far from home? Although Osrastays initially believed the tofu was stolen due to the distance traveled, she said he could also have “hitchhiked” by mistake.

“We thought he might have gotten in a truck / tried to escape and made it all the way here,” she wrote alongside the clip. a petrified tofu.

“Tofu is an indoor boy but he sometimes gets very cheeky and tries to sneak in especially [as] we live on the ground floor as the house is mesh,” she added in the comments.

TikTokers were thrilled with the chat’s return, with user syahirah.s commenting, “I’m so happy for you.”

“Imagine if there were [was] no air tag?” she said. “You [would] never [have found] Him again.”

“AirTag has been saving lives and things since 2021,” nidehaopengyou wrote.

“I expected that [worst] if I ever saw the indication of my cat’s ID tag on the highway,” Rider Licious said. “Your family is truly blessed.

While Looney Luna commented, “I cried when you found him in the bushes. Imagine how scared he must have been. Airtag yay!”

Although Tofu’s 10-mile journey was an impressive feat for a feline, his journey has nothing on Ashes. The indoor-only cat escaped from his home in Chesterville, Maine, in 2015, but was found seven years later in Longwood, Florida, 1,400 miles away.

Newsweek contacted @osrastays for comment.