Lost, found, adopted: Stories of cats gone missing

Birdie

Owner: Carolyn Kalter
Address: Upton Avenue in Fulton
Status: Missing

Birdie knew the drill.

She would camp by the door and the second Carolyn opened it for the dog, she slipped out right behind. She would be gone awhile, who knows where, then she would wander back. Sometimes right away, sometimes not until the next morning, but sooner or later there she was, perched patiently outside the front door.

She always came back.

So June 10, Carolyn knew something was wrong.

She and her husband and two girls made signs, posted them around the neighborhood. Figured Birdie couldn’t have gone far. Carolyn was always a little nervous posting the flyers, is some neighbor going to be annoyed, you know. But she had to try. A few got torn down right away. But folks called, a few dozen of them, even some who professed they weren’t really pet people but still wanted to help.

One call felt so close. A woman who lived just a few blocks away, had been feeding a cat but couldn’t let it inside. Allergies. The cat showed up a few days then never again. Too late. The woman told Carolyn she wished she could have helped more.

Carolyn stopped putting up flyers in early September, though a few remain, warped and weather-beaten within plastic bags nailed to utility poles.

People still call occasionally with tips, one just a few weeks ago. None have matched the description: Three-year-old female tortoiseshell, grey with a clouded right eye.

Carolyn has posted a reward on Craigslist. $50. It’ll stay up for 50 days, then disappear.

Dylan

Owner: Nicole Karlinsky
Address: Pleasant Avenue in Whittier
Status: Found

When Dylan, a four-year-old female tortoiseshell, went missing in early September, Nicole papered the neighborhood. She figured she’d get a few calls. Five days later she did.

She just hadn’t planned on hearing what she did.

The caller told Nicole she lived a few blocks away and had found Dylan and then given him to a friend. She wasn’t interested in connecting Nicole with the friend. Didn’t want to get in the middle of things, she said.

Nicole called the police. They said they couldn’t do much without evidence. On a whim Nicole went online and found the woman’s profile on a popular social-networking site. The profile included photos of Dylan and the name of the person who had him.

Nicole called the police again, filed a statement. A few hours later her phone rang. She answered. Did you lose a cat? someone asked. Nicole said she did. I just dropped it off on the corner, the person said, and hung up. Nicole walked outside and sure enough, there was Dylan. No one else around.

“You think with all the trouble I’ve had, my cat wouldn’t be an outdoor cat,” Nicole said. She was referring to a time a few years ago when she lived in Dinkytown and one day Dylan came home wearing a different collar. One day soon after she didn’t come home at all. She put up signs and eventually discovered that someone had taken Dylan in. She got him back.

Dylan, well, she might be outside right now. Nicole worries, but what can she do.

“She gets outside sometimes because she gets crazy for it,” Nicole said. “I feel awful locking her up.”

Emma

Owner: Sarah Ruvelson
Address: Dupont Avenue in Kenny
Status: Found

Sarah knows the risks, of course she does, she’s a nurse, she sees the worst of confrontations between people and the world’s endless offering of intoxicating and violent randomness.

She also sees the impermanence of things, which leads her to believe in risk’s rewards. For her. For her cats, too.

“My cats get so bored inside. I can see them run and chase grasshoppers, they’re totally having fun. They love to run and jump and play and hunt. I know how important quality of life is. It’s not quantity, it’s quality.”

So when Emma, Sarah’s black-and-grey tabby, cried at the back door, the door opened.

One Monday afternoon in October Emma cried. The door opened.

Two hours and no Emma. Sarah began to worry.

Two days and no Emma. Sarah walked the neighborhood, drove to animal control, posted on Craigslist, put up flyers.

“My boyfriend asked me, ‘What are you going to do if she comes back? Are you going to not let her out?’ I said, ‘No way. She loves it.’”

Four days and no Emma.

On the fifth day, Saturday, Sarah and her boyfriend returned from a farmers’ market and there was Emma at the front door.

She had lost a fifth of her body weight, she smelled like motor oil, she was so hoarse she could barely meow.

She was home.

Sarah hugged her, petted her, fed her.

Ten minutes later Emma was at the back door again. She cried.

The door opened.

Lucia

Owner: Carol Arnold
Location: Bryant Avenue in East Harriet
Status: Adopted

“My neighbors found her Labor Day weekend … she was not timid at all. I had my arms full with some packages, getting some stuff out of the trunk of my car, and there she was sitting in the garden area in the back of the condo. She came right up to everybody.

“I took her in for the night, then I took her to the Lake Harriet vet. They scanned her and couldn’t find (an ID microchip).

“When I had her those first couple of days I was like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like to have a cat.’ I don’t know what I expected to be onerous, but it wasn’t. I’m sure I sounded like an idiot asking my friends, ‘Is this okay to do, is that?’ … After spending a few days with her, I couldn’t fathom her going to the Humane Society.

“I put posters up … I scanned through Craigslist, found nothing …  I made the appointment with a vet and they found a chip after all. I was devastated. I thought, ‘Oh no, they’re going to find the owner.’

“Then I thought, if I knew if she belonged to somebody I certainly would give her back. I couldn’t imagine sitting in those shoes. That would be horrible. If it was someone with little kids and it was their kitty.

“The owner was a woman in St. Paul. She had given (Lucia) to a friend in Minneapolis. She said, ‘I have to check with my friend to see it’s okay.’ The friend never got back to her … after an official amount of time, the vet officially transferred ownership to me.

“Maybe that’s too uncomfortable to think that somebody abandoned her. But it doesn’t matter.

“I’m a cat woman for the time in my life. Even though I hadn’t planned on having a cat, she had planned on having me.”

Destiny

Owner: Linda Chavez
Address: Newton Avenue in Armatage
Status: Missing

“We’re still looking. She’s been missing since Sept. 1.

“She loved the outdoors. She was one you couldn’t keep in too long.

“If the door’s open and she gets out, sometimes she’s out all day during the day. She always came home. Sometimes she wouldn’t come home until the next morning.

“Many times people have found her and called us, and we say, ‘You’re just a couple blocks away, just put her back down, she’ll come home.’”

“One time, one of our neighbors was moving, and she went into the house and they didn’t know it and shut up the house. After we were looking for her for a week they brought her back. Just that one time she never came home.

“I don’t know what happened to her.

“She’s a black cat. Medium-sized, six years old, very friendly, comes up to everybody and rub against their legs. She has a little bit of white on one of her paws. She did have a black collar with a white section that glows. It has a red heart tag with her name and our phone number on it.”

“There are cats roaming all over the place, but I just figure they belong to one of the neighbors, so I don’t do anything.”

“We’re still hoping.”