After five years, a calico cat name Willow will be reunited with her Boulder, Colorado, family, the Squires. In late 2006 or early 2007, Willow disappeared from their home when contractors left a door open. Quite to their shock, the Squires received a call on Wednesday saying that Willow was in ….. Manhattan.
A man had found Willow on East 20th street and brought her to an animal shelter, where workers at Animal Care and Control identified Willow thanks to a microchip the Squires implanted in her as a kitten. A photo of Willow confirmed to the Squires that she was indeed the cat who had gone missing some five years ago, says the New York Times. The Squires have three children, two of whom knew Willow — “we still have her little Christmas stocking,” said her owner — and a yellow Labrador named Roscoe, who also knew Willow. They’ve since had a third child and added an English mastiff named Zoe to their family. While the Squires work on transportation for Willow back to Colorado, the cat is staying with a foster family.
The question remains, how in the world did Willow get from Boulder to the streets of New York City? Willow is said to be “healthy and well-mannered, and probably had not spent her life on the streets of Manhattan.” A September 16th update suggests that, however Willow traveled 1,800 miles, she did not walk or steal a ride in the back of a container truck:
Willow, Gothamist reported Friday morning, was befriended and adopted by a New Yorker on a Colorado ski vacation and was flown across the country to a new home in Brooklyn.
A woman who says she cat-sat for Willow’s East Coast owner told Gothamist that the the owner took steps to make sure he was not stealing someone’s cat before bringing Willow east. “She was vetted prior to flying, and none of her history came up,” the woman wrote.
In New York, she was rechristened Molly, and eventually, the cat-sitter wrote, “She was brought to the shelter by someone who loved her very much, but was unable to give her all the time and attention she deserves.”
However. The woman’s account contradicts that of officials at Animal Care and Control, who say that Willow was taken to the 110th street shelter after the man who dropped her off had found her on East 20th street. Says the New York Times:
This means that either the person who adopted Willow in Colorado lied to the shelter about where he had found her, or Willow had at least one intermediate owner after him.
Officials at Animal Care and Control are wondering themselves. “We’ve been trying to get in contact with the person who brought the cat in but have been unable to do so,” said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for Animal Care and Control. “The person that surrendered the cat said that she was a stray.”
One could ask, how carefully did the New Yorker who allegedly found Willow in Colorado vet her history? That “vetting” process did not, it seems, involve checking to see if she had identification in the form of a microchip implanted in her.
Whether or not Willow’s whereabouts between 2006-7 and the present become the material for “catgate,” it’s very good to know that she is healthy and, most of all, that she’ll soon be back home in Colorado.
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Photo of cat in Soho, NYC, by Lee Nachtigal
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