Couple's missing cat returns on anniversary date of son’s death

"Now I can love December again because of this Christmas miracle,” Deb Mosberger said. “And now the year 2020 is not so bad.”

Deb Mosberger said it was a gift from heaven Thursday, Dec. 17, as she believes their son Vincent "Vinny" Mosberger spiritually brought Abe, their lost cat, to their Merrifield home on Dec. 9. Their son was killed in a car crash 18 years ago on Dec. 9. Mosberger knew her deceased son loved animals and made her wish known to her friends to have "Vinny" help find Abe and bring him home. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

LAKE HUBERT — It was a Christmas miracle for Gary and Deb Mosberger when their cat Abe came home after five weeks missing.

The Mosbergers said it was a gift from heaven from their deceased son Vincent "Vinny" Mosberger, who they believe spiritually brought Abe the cat home to them Dec. 9 — 18 years to the day the day Vinny died in a motor vehicle crash. Their son was killed by a drunk driver Dec. 9, 2002, at the age of 18, leaving his parents and three older siblings in heartache.

“It was pretty devastating,” Deb Mosberger recalled of her youngest son’s death 18 years ago. “I was sitting here that evening by the fire and he told me (spiritually) he was OK. He said, ‘Don’t worry. Don’t be real upset, I’m OK.’


“I had written something up and I spoke at his funeral, because he was only 18. He had so many friends that were at the funeral and I know they all needed that support.”

Vinny Mosberger, who died in a motor vehicle crash in 2002.


Mosberger said her son, who was very loving, was a big animal lover and they had many kittens and cats when he was growing up.
The Mosbergers currently have two cats — Abe and Lincoln — who were adopted about a year ago. The cats typically go in and out of the house — located on the northeastern side of Lake Hubert east of Nisswa — through a window. On Nov. 5, that is exactly what happened; the cats went outdoors and Lincoln came back, but not Abe.

Deb Mosberger plays with Abe at her Merrifield home Thursday, Dec. 17, after her lost cat returned home Dec. 9 on the 18th anniversary of her son's death. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“The next morning he still hadn't returned,” Mosberger said. “Sometimes he would be out all night, so that wasn't unusual to be gone all night. We always go out and call them ... and it was like 10 o'clock at night, we called them and this time he just didn't come home. We kept calling and calling and wandering the whole neighborhood. We walked in the woods and we went out that next night in the woods with our flashlights and we just couldn't find him.”


The Mosbergers called their neighbors and notified them Abe was missing, enlisting more help to be on the lookout for the feline. One neighbor has a game camera and it showed a cat, so the Mosbergers thought he was in the neighborhood but “he's just been stubborn and doesn't want to come home.” The Mosbergers put up posters of their missing cat at Schaefer’s Foods in Nisswa and contacted a few organizations, such as Brainerd Lost and Found Pets, in hopes someone saw Abe.

Deb Mosberger reaches for her cat Thursday, Dec. 17, at her Merrifield home. Abe went missing in November and with hope running out she appealed to her deceased son who had died in a car crash 18 years ago, to bring her cat home. On the anniversary of the crash, Abe showed up at the Mosberger home hungry and tired. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“Vinny knew how much cats meant to us,” Deb Mosberger said. “On that December (9th) morning, I woke up and it was the anniversary of our son that died when he was 18 years old in 2002. This was his 18th anniversary so that was a very special day for us. I woke up in the morning and I said, ‘OK Vinny, it would be nice if you bring Abe home.’ During the day I told a couple people, Vinny is gonna bring Abe home. So it was about 5:30 at night and I was in the kitchen and all of a sudden there's crying out the window and it was Abe. I couldn't believe it. I ran into the other room and said, ‘Gary, Gary, Abe’s home!’”

Vinny Mosberger

Mosberger said Abe was a lot thinner. He cried the whole night and stayed by her side. Since then he is getting better and not as scared.

The Mosbergers did get a third cat named Rowdy while Abe was missing to help Lincoln, who was sad as his brother was missing.


“Rowdy came to us on Thanksgiving and he’s been with us ever since,” she said.

Looking back, the Mosbergers think that maybe Abe got into one of the construction trucks in the neighborhood to investigate and then had to find his way home. But no one but Abe will ever know what happened in those five weeks — and he’s not talking.

Deb Mosberger tells her story of a Christmas miracle Thursday, Dec. 17, at her Merrifield home. He cat went missing this fall and was lost in the rural area between Lake Hubert and Merrifield. On Dec. 9, the 18th anniversary of her son's death in a car crash, Abe came crying at her door hungry and tired. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Gary Mosberger said the entire time Abe was missing he and his wife stayed positive and had hope Abe would come home. The couple said you have to stay positive and have faith that good things will come — and they did.

Deb Mosberger said since Vinny died she has always hated the month of December. She said her mother also died in December and her father on New Year’s Eve.

“Now I can love December again because of this Christmas miracle,” Mosberger said. “And now the year 2020 is not so bad.”


JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

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