Walburg says that George was found at a mobile home park about 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) from their home, where he was turned over to animal control by the manager.
George was one of four kittens born to a feral cat that the Walburgs adopted. (They also took in their mom, who they had spayed.) Sadly, George's two brothers (twin Ira and Klaus) died two years ago from an intestinal disorder. But sister Grace is still alive (though Walburg reports she was more interested in George's special kibble than in seeing her long-lost brother when they were reunited) and George now has three new foster siblings—Foxy, Sam and Spook.
Walburg, a computer consultant and amateur winemaker who names some varieties after his cats (each bottle is labeled with a photo of its namesake; George will grace the next one), says that he and Merman are nursing George back to health, feeding him dabs of baby food mixed with chicken broth that he initially licked from a spoon and their fingers (but is now eating from a dish) and giving him antibiotics to clear up the toxoplasmosis. (See video.)
He says the cat spends most of his time in the guest room—which has been set aside for him—and that he's slowly but surely regaining his old vim and vigor – and has gained 3.5 ounces (99 grams) since he came home. (See video of George on the mend.)
About a year after George went missing, Melinda Merman wrote a "Letter to George" on her Web site in which she waxed poetic about his personality quirks, how he loved peanut butter and to bat at towels—and hated the rain. And how he always waited at the foot of their bed for them to wake up in the morning.
"There are so many things I miss now that you're gone," she wrote. "In fact, do you remember where you slept at night? On top of the bathroom towel cupboard. Remember your towel up there? Well it's still there. I have cleaned the top of the cupboard, but your towel is just as you left it. We will always wonder what happened to you. And we'll always hope you come home."
On November 5, 2008, she updated her blog: "George was found and returned to us. We are so thrilled to have him back in the family."