Rochester NH couple’s ‘Christmas miracle’ cat found after 7 years

Benny was returned to his owners after missing for seven years, just in time for Christmas.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – If ever there was a year when we need to hear about a Christmas miracle, it’s this one. 

And that’s where Benny, a 14-year-old black cat, enters this story. 

Seven years ago, Benny vanished from Nancy and Dave Bryant’s home in Rochester, N.H. The couple had taken Benny into their family in 2011 after a friend’s daughter, who was in the military, needed to find a home for him. 

Nancy and Dave are animal lovers. They have a cat, Squeaky; a rescue dog from South Carolina named Maezie; a guinea pig named Lily; and a cockatiel, Henry. 

“They are our family,” said Nancy, 65, who is retired. 

Benny was a loving cat and immediately stole their hearts. But one day, he went outside and never returned. They were heartbroken. They put up posters and searched around their neighborhood and in the woods across from their home, but there was no sign of him.  

Benny with his owner Nancy shortly after their reunion at the SPCA shelter in Stratham, New Hampshire.

“We just figured something got him, so we lost hope,” Nancy said. 

Though the years went by, the couple never forgot about Benny.

“For a long time, we thought about him a lot, then it was less and less, but not all the time,” Nancy said. “He would creep in our memories every so often.” 

Fast-forward to December 2020. A good Samaritan found a black stray cat and brought him to a veterinarian in Portsmouth. The cat was in good health, but as a stray, he was transferred to the NHSPCA shelter in Stratham.  

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