NEW BERN, N.C. — A cat named Hemi, who vanished in 2011 and reappeared mysteriously last week, is back with the man who had adopted him as a kitten and drove 1,700 miles from North Dakota to retrieve his lost-and-found pet.

Several news outlets reported that Robert Connell drove from Bismarck to the Craven County, North Carolina, animal shelter to pick up Hemi on Monday. Connell said he decided to make the drive after a winter storm nixed plans for a family friend to fly Hemi to Bismarck.

Connell served as a Marine, and he says Hemi helped him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I wouldn’t say he’s my spirit animal, but I helped him. He helped me,” Connell said.

Trinity Smith, Craven County animal control supervisor, tried to talk Connell out of driving to North Carolina because of the bad weather he was certain to encounter. A weekend blizzard walloped much of the eastern U.S.

“But he’s a Marine,” she said.

Connell left home Saturday and arrived Monday afternoon at the shelter.

When Hemi turned up at the Craven County shelter last week, staffers there found a microchip on him. It led them to Connell and his wife, Jennifer.

Connell planned to visit relatives in Greensboro for a day before heading home, where he will reintroduce Hemi to his wife and children.