In the mid-2000s, four bandmates were living the rock-and-roll lifestyle on Hilton Head Island.
The Fresh Hots lived together in a house on Heron Street, in walking distance of the beach. The nights were late and wild, and foursome played high-energy shows at bars and clubs.
Back home, the party never seemed to end.
But if one force domesticated The Fresh Hots, it was a Siamese cat named Moka, who brought a touch of calm to the party house.
But one night in 2007, Moka wandered away from home, never to be seen again by his Fresh Hots family.
Or so the band thought.
Last week, a driver for Carolina Towing almost hit a cat crossing Mathews Drive in front of Tabby Walk Apartment.
The driver thought the cat looked as if it were searching for its home, so he caught him and took it to an island vet, thinking someone must be searching for the feline.
At the vet's, a small microchip under Moka's skin revealed information about his owner. The data indicated Moka belonged to David Mohacsi of Canada -- The Fresh Hots' former guitarist, who adopted Moka from a Toronto shelter before moving to Hilton Head in 2005.
The tow truck driver gave him a call.
Mohacsi, in turn, called Bekki Cait Kirwan, the band's lead singer and the longtime friend with whom he'd moved to the island. Now living in Huntington Beach, Calif., she messaged the rest of the band -- Hilton Head residents Davey Masteller and Randy Looman -- with the news.
Moka was lost no more.
'WE OWE IT TO HIM'
Moka departure foreshadowed the band's demise.
"When Moka left, the band was already kind of falling apart," Masteller said. "It was just an added unfortunate thing."
The bandmates spent days looking for the cat -- calling island vets and shelters, asking neighbors and posting ads on MySpace -- all with no luck.
Soon after, the band broke up and members went their separate ways.
Aside from updates on social media, for the most part, they had lost touch.
Masteller moved to San Diego, but found his way back to Hilton Head two years ago. Kirwan headed first to Charleston and then to California. Mohacsi went back to Toronto. Looman stayed on Hilton Head and joined a new band.
Moka was a distant memory.
"I wrote him off years ago," Masteller said, who thought his old friend was probably dead.
Far from it.
Moka was clean when the driver found him and seemed well-fed. His nails were clipped.
"I think he's been taken care of," Masteller said. "Hopefully, he's been happy."
Masteller called area animal shelters and vets, and Kirwan posted an ad on Facebook and Craig's List to see if anyone else was looking for Moka. So far, no one has claimed him.
But the 12-year-old cat did return with several health issues. There are stones in his bladder and his appetite is weak. An X-ray revealed a large mass in his stomach.
Despite that, he's been welcomed back by his former roommate.
Masteller thinks maybe Moka set out to find one of the bandmates so it didn't have to die alone.
"We lost him," Masteller said. "Maybe we owe it to him to fix him up now."
REDISCOVERING A FRIEND
When Masteller picked Moka up at the towing company's office last week, the reunion took him back to his years with the band.
"(The band) changed our lives and taught us so much about ourselves," Masteller said. "I learned I could actually sing and write music. I learned how to collaborate, and that you can't fall in love with your first idea.
"It was a great time in our lives. We were kids and didn't know how to stop, but eventually we got tired and grew up."
Moka's return has reconnected the band.
Masteller calls Kirwan everyday to update her on Moka and weigh options.
Before leaving Hilton Head in 2008 for a job in Charleston, Kirwan adopted another cat, Batman, from the Hilton Head Human Association.
In 2012, at age 11, Batman developed a mass similar to Moka's and underwent surgery. For weeks afterward, Kirwan had to inject food into the animal's stomach through a feeding tube in his throat.
"I've said to myself that if I had to do it over again, I don't know that I would," Kirwan said. "It's not really a cat's life to spend time that way."
Masteller says Moka perks up when he goes outside, so he puts his feline friend in the basket that hangs from the front of his bicycle when he rides around the island.
And Kirwan is thankful Moka rediscovered an old friend.
"When I found out Moka was alive and sick, I wanted him to be with someone who knew him and loved him," she said. "And that's what Davey is doing."