Sasha the cat, who wandered away from his Portland home and disappeared without a trace, was finally reunited with his owner after five long years.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society personnel brought back Sasha to the animal shelter after they found him roaming the streets of Santa Fe without a collar. The cat was then scanned for a microchip, which eventually led them to his owner, Viktor Usov, public relations officer Murad Kirdar told CNN on November 18.

The shelter then called Usov from New Mexico and told him that they found a “long, black-haired cat” that apparently belonged to him.

At first, the medical school student didn't believe what he had heard and thought that it might be a “malfunctioning system.” The caller said that the cat loves belly rubs and got along with the other animals at the shelter.

It was here that Usov knew that it was his Sasha.

Usov and the shelter exchanged pictures of Sasha when the feline was still a kitten and what he looked like now. With strong enough evidence, both parties confirmed that it was indeed Sasha.

“I couldn't believe it. We thought the worst, but when we received the call, we were so thankful Sasha was alive and well,” Usov said.

Usov also told BBC that he reported Sasha missing five years ago and had even lost hope of finding him again.

Together with American Airlines, Kirdar and Sasha flew 1,200 miles to be reunited with his guardian.

“When we heard Sasha has been found so far from home, after so many years away from his family, we were honored to be in a position to get him back (there),” said American Airlines spokesperson Curtis Blessing.

“We're glad to have provided a happy ending to Sasha's long journey,” he added.

As for Kirdar, Sasha's discovery and eventual reunion with Usov stressed the importance of microchipping pets.

The microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the animal's skin. It is permanent and is equipped with a unique number that cannot fall off, altered or removed, he said.