ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Like any pet owners, Brendan Cockrum and Kristen Winter were heartbroken when their cat, Cosmo, went missing from their Ellensburg home on July 30.

That morning, Cockrum let their two cats outside as he did every morning. Meanwhile, he and his girlfriend spent the day packing boxes and shuttling them to their new home across town.

“We didn’t see him during that day, but that wasn’t unusual,” Cockrum said. But, “he never showed up that night.”

The couple’s lease was up, but they didn’t want to abandon their cream-colored cat so extended the lease for about 10 days, searching every day for the 18-month-old cat. But Cosmo never showed up. Finally, they had to move to their new home.

“We were heartbroken. It’s like losing a member of your family,” Cockrum said.

For weeks after moving, he and Winter returned every day to their old place to look for Cosmo. They never found any trace, though.

Finally, they accepted that their cat was gone forever and probably dead.

Then, last Monday, Cockrum heard from Kathy Pecht, who called the phone number from a tag on a cat she’d found near Miller Park in Yakima. Three months after going missing, Cosmo turned up more than 25 miles to the south.

Cockrum happened to be in Yakima and hurried to meet Pecht.

Cosmo was happy to see his owner.

“As soon as I said his name, he came and curled up on my lap and started purring,” Cockrum said.

The cat was thinner, but a trip to a veterinarian found him “as healthy as can be,” he said.

Cockrum and Winter have no idea how their cat ended up in Yakima, he said.

Cosmo has settled into his new home in Ellensburg and is almost back to normal. But since returning, he hasn’t wanted to go out, Cockrum said. “He’s enjoyed being inside.”

Dan Catchpole can be reached at 509-759-7850 or dcatchpole@yakimaherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/dcatchpole.