A missing cat was miraculously rescued thanks to an Apple AirTag around his collar.
In a video shared to TikTok on January 18, user @osrastays explained that her indoor cat Tofu disappeared from her home in Geylang, Singapore.
She believed the ginger tabby had been stolen, as Tofu’s AirTag was detected on the Marina Coastal Expressway, roughly 10 miles away. The $29 accessory can be attached to important items, such as keys, which can then be tracked via an app on your smartphone.
“At this moment, we knew someone could have thrown the airtag collar and took tofu away,” she wrote.
However, when arriving at the spot—a busy expressway facing the Singapore Strait—a frightened Tofu was found sheltering in the bushes between two hectic roads, having somehow escaped from the house and made his way across town.
Users were touched by the emotional footage, with the clip receiving over 3 million views and 389,000 likes in just two days.
Can an I.D. Tag Find Your Missing Pet?
According to American Humane, around 10 million pets are lost or stolen in the U.S. annually. Sadly, just 2 percent 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 missing felines are found.
Of the 602 cats recovered as part of the project, 4 percent of cats were discovered hiding inside the home, such as under or behind furniture (33 percent), in the basement (33 percent), inside furniture (11 percent) or in a bedroom (22 percent).
Eighty-three percent of cats were found outdoors, while 11 percent were located at someone else’s house and 2 percent in a public building.
Cats were more likely to be found alive if their owners conducted a physical search (59 percent), compared to those who waited to see if their pet would return on their own.
The majority of felines didn’t travel far from home—half of the recovered cats were within 50 meters from the point of escape, while 75 percent were found within 500 meters.
Still, there are instances of long-lost pets making their way back to their families, even after much time has passed. A lost cat recently stunned her owner after casually walking through the door after two years, while a missing cat returned home after 390 days but carrying a few extra pounds.
‘He Was So Frightened’
Around 11:30 am on the day Tofu went missing, the AirTag on his collar was located on the Marina Coastal Expressway. The tag then moved to a nearby car park, before heading back toward the expressway at 12:30 pm.
Suspecting Tofu has been stolen, the Osrastays, her family, and her brother’s friends searched the marina and surrounding areas, hoping to spot Tofu or at least his tag, but the cat was “nowhere to be found.”
However, the AirTag moved again, signaling that it was now in some nearby bushes. The bushes were sandwiched between two extremely busy roads, with cars, buses and trucks speeding past constantly.
“[We thought], ‘this person must have thrown Tofu’s collar into the bushes,'” osrastays wrote in the video captions.
Her brother’s friend Suveen suggested that Tofu might be stuck, and drove them down to the spot.
“We managed to get through the highway with their help,” she said.
“It was very dangerous but Suveen said maybe Tofu was really there, and we all didn’t give up.”
Suveen was right, and a terrified Tofu was found nestled amongst the leaves.
“We could hear the beeping sound from the airtag,” she continued.
“Husband went in the bush and carried Tofu out, he was so frightened.”
How did Tofu end up so far from home? Although Osrastays initially believed Tofu was stolen due to the distance he traveled, she said he also could have “hitchhiked” by mistake.
“We were thinking maybe he got into a lorry/tried to escape and went all the way here,” she wrote alongside the clip of a petrified Tofu.
“Tofu’s an indoor boy but he gets very cheeky at times and tries to sneak out especially [as] we live on a ground floor with the house being meshed,” she added in the comments.
TikTokers were thrilled with the cat’s return, with user syahirah.s commenting: “I’m so happy for you.”
“Imagine if there [was] no airtag?” she said. “You [would] never [have found] him again.”
“AirTag saving lives and things since 2021,” wrote nidehaopengyou.
“I would have expected the [worst] if I ever saw my cat’s airtag indication on the expressway,” said Rider Licious. “Your family is truly blessed.”
While Looney Luna commented: “I cried when u guys found him in the bushes. Imagine how scared he must have been. Yay to airtag!”
Although Tofu’s 10-mile trip 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 has reached out to @osrastays for comment.