Tag: missing cat

After Fire Destroys 1,000 Colorado Homes, Victims Are Still Looking For Their Cats

After their home was destroyed in an all-consuming fire, a Colorado family thought they’d gotten some good news when police found their cat and brought her to the local Humane Society.

The Conejo family visited their beloved Pumpkin at the veterinary clinic where she was recovering from her burns and were eager to bring her home until a veterinary tech realized there’d been a mistake: Pumpkin is female, but the heavily burned and convalescing orange tabby was male.

Now the parents — who were not home when the fire ripped through their neighborhood and couldn’t retrieve either of their cats or their belongings — have to tell their two young kids that it was a case of mistaken identity, and they still don’t know what happened to Pumpkin and their other cat, Justin.

bootsthecat
Boots suffered burns on his face and right front leg.

In what is now officially the worst fire in Colorado history, almost 1,000 homes were destroyed and more than 100 others damaged, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless with many of them still searching for their missing cats and dogs two months later.

The Dec. 30 blaze ripped across three suburban towns between Denver and Boulder, consuming entire housing divisions, strip malls and stand-alone buildings. Authorities still haven’t said how the fire started, playing their cards close to the vest as they await laboratory tests and analysis from forensic fire investigators.

A search warrant executed on the compound of a nearby cult and a viral video that showed a barn burning on the group’s property, reportedly at the time firefighters were notified of the initial fire, have drawn attention and speculation from locals. But authorities say they’re looking at every possibility, from a possible lightning strike to an electrical fire and even the possibility that one of the nearby abandoned coal mines could have spontaneously ignited.

While the Conejo family did not get the news they wanted, things had a happy ending for the male tabby they thought was their Pumpkin.

The cat, an eight-year-old named Boots, had an emotional reunion with his human on Feb. 22 courtesy of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

“Hi, sweetie,” she said, hugging Boots tight in a video posted to the Humane Society’s Facebook page.

Some neighbors, who were inexplicably but mercifully spared by the fire, were counting their blessings but said they felt guilt as well.

Tracy and Jason Granucci were vacationing in Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas when their phones began blowing up with incoming alerts and texts from concerned friends.

Tracy Granucci immediately texted Carol, her cat-sitter: “I don’t care about the house,” she wrote in the text. “Obviously Peanut is all I care about.”

Routes to their street were blocked off and neither Carol nor animal rescue volunteers were able to get to the Granucci home, but when they returned they saw their home was still standing, unscathed despite the destruction of four nearby houses. Peanut, their 16-year-old tortoiseshell, was fine.

“The feelings I’ve had about being in our home and looking out at our neighbors and our community is definitely … survivor’s guilt,” Tracy Granucci told the local PBS news affiliate. “All you want to do is you want to help everybody.”

Camden Hall was at work when the fire raged through his neighborhood and was terrified that his cat, Merlin, was in its path.

When his landlord called to tell him the house had burned down, Hall said he felt “like someone had just ripped my soul out.”

Luck was on Merlin’s side. A neighbor heard distressed meows coming from one of the few homes that were still standing and found the little guy on the porch, badly burned but still alive. Hall reunited with Merlin at a local veterinary clinic.

The ordeal isn’t over for Merlin, however. His injuries were much worse than were realized, and he’s got several procedures and a long road to recovery ahead of him. A GoFundMe started by a friend of Hall will cover the veterinary expenses and help Hall get back on his feet.

Help Catch This Portland Cat Thief And Get Kitty Returned To His Family

We’re putting out a call to our readers and all cat lovers to help identify a woman who brazenly snatched a family’s cat off their front porch in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday.

The woman was wearing a pink jacket with a white scarf, black jogging pants, white sneakers and green socks.

Cat thief suspect
The thief was caught snatching KiKi off his family’s front porch on Feb. 20.

Home security footage shows that at 7 a.m. on Feb. 20, the woman approached the Autar family’s home and tried to get their cat, KiKi, to approach her. KiKi wasn’t having it and turned toward the front door several times, refusing to approach the woman, but she slowly made her way onto the porch and snatched the well-loved kitty.

It’s clear from the way she holds KiKi that she’s not familiar with cats: Footage shows her holding him by the scruff of the neck, which is extremely painful for adult cats. Here’s a video of the entire sequence courtesy of Karina Autar:

And here’s a video from a second camera overlooking the driveway. The thief is clearly holding poor KiKi by the scruff with one hand as she briskly walks off:

The woman leaves in what looks like a black or dark blue Chevy suburban, quickly fleeing the neighborhood with the trunk still open. The SUV did not have a front license plate:

Earlier footage shows the same woman on a bicycle stopping in front of cars on the block and checking their doors. It appears she tossed the bike in the back of the SUV and drove off quickly, perhaps after someone spotted her.

Anyone who recognizes the woman or has information about the theft can call the Portland Police Department’s non-emergency number at 503-823-3333 or email Karina Autar directly.

Florida Woman Reunited With Lost Cat [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Charlene High was reunited with her cat, Donna, after staff at the Humane Society were able to work out a solution between her and the New York family that was going to adopt the 5-year-old Cornish Rex.

Little Donna went missing in February when contractors were installing a wheelchair ramp in High’s home and she got spooked as so many cats do, running out of the house.

She was found on March 14 and brought to the Humane Society of Highlands County, where staff held her for the mandatory five days before listing her for adoption.

In the meantime, High — who had been calling around to local shelters, posting Donna’s photo online and looking for her in the neighborhood — saw a social media post about a cat who had been found. The staff at the Humane Society named her Karena, but she was High’s Donna, and High said she was “ecstatic” her kitty was alive.

High and Donna couldn’t be immediately reunited, however. A family from New York had filed adoption papers for Donna and were planning on driving down to Tampa to pick up the cat.

Staff at the Humane Society worked to find a solution for everyone involved.

“We had to do some backchanneling and talking to the adopters and trying to find a solution with the adopters while also talking to Ms. Charlene,” said Sara Olivero, a staffer at the Humane Society of Highlands County. “We’ve had to do a lot of shuffling, a lot of phone calls, a lot of phone tagging.”

Ultimately, Donna’s would-be adopters agreed that she should be returned home, and will adopt a kitten instead, Olivero said. Donna was spayed, given a day to recover at the shelter, and was reunited with High on Tuesday.

“Ms. Charlene felt bad. The situation was bad to begin with,” Olivero said. Thankfully the solution was satisfactory to all and “every party is happy” with the outcome.

A Fox13 Tampa Bay (WTVT) story about the situation was aired and published to the web on Monday after the resolution, but presented the story as if the dispute was ongoing in addition to including several errors of fact.

We contributed to the flow of misinformation by linking to the WTVT story 11 hours after it was published, a practice called aggregation, and added our own commentary based on the misinformation. We got burned, and the result was presenting an inaccurate and outdated account of events to our readers.

We regret the error and promise to do better in the future. We’re glad the Humane Society found a satisfactory solution in a difficult situation, and we’re glad that Donna the cat has been returned to her original home.

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Credit: Charlene High

 

 

Cops Need Help Identifying Woman Who Stole Cat

Police are looking for help from the public as they try to identify a delivery driver who stole a Colorado family’s cat.

The woman is a driver for Postmates, an Uber-owned company that delivers food and other items from restaurants and shops that don’t offer their own delivery services.

Footage from a nearby surveillance camera shows the woman pulling up to the Adams County, Colorado home at 10:27 pm on March 9.

She delivers the package, then bends down and picks up the customer’s cat — an 11-month-old ginger tabby named Simba — before taking off in her white SUV.

Simba had a collar but was not microchipped, police say. Unfortunately, the suspect’s license plate number was not visible in the surveillance footage.

Unbelievably, Postmates hasn’t told detectives who the driver is. It wasn’t clear from a tersely-worded police statement whether the company has been uncooperative or it simply doesn’t have information on one of its own contractors. Neither potential explanation looks good for the company.

The Postmates app is also supposed to provide customers with basic information about their delivery drivers. It wasn’t clear why that information was apparently not available.

After police posted their plea for help identifying the alleged cat thief, several users warned of ongoing scams involving people who steal pets and demand ransom.

Simba’s case is also reminiscent of a late 2019 incident near Minneapolis in which a delivery driver stole a much-loved cat from a customer.

A doorbell camera caught the driver touching the cat and picking him up, but the angle obscured the view of the man actually stealing the cat. After months of denying to police and the cat’s owner that he stole the friendly feline, the driver finally confessed in a rambling letter to the cat’s devastated owner, admitting he tossed the cat out of his truck’s window shortly after stealing him. Because of weak animal protection laws that treat pets as property, the driver was charged only with a pair of minor misdemeanors.

In the case of the Postmates driver in Colorado, because they haven’t had any luck finding the driver, nor any identifying information from her employer, police are appealing to the public and hoping someone will recognize the woman.

6I5IUE5OSZA3VO63OVBF32LGP4They’ve released stills from the surveillance footage, as well as this description: “The woman is a Hispanic female with brown hair in a ponytail, a cloth face mask on, a gray long-sleeve shirt, black pants, and black shoes.”

Anyone with information about the woman or Simba’s whereabouts can reach police at 303-288-1535.

Cat Attacks Pilot, Forces Emergency Landing

Here’s a roundup of amusing cat stories from the past few days:

Pilot Lands After Berserk Cat Gets Into Cockpit

The captain of a Qatar-bound passenger flight was forced to return to Khartoum International Airport in Sudan — his takeoff point — after a berserk cat got into the cockpit and began attacking him, according to news reports.

The Wednesday flight was headed to Doha, Qatar’s capital, and was in the air for about an hour before the cat forced the emergency landing. Flight crew weren’t able to subdue the cat, who likely slipped onto the plane undetected the night before when it was stored in a hangar, according to airline authorities.

The cat-jacking was not the first incident of its kind, Euro Weekly News noted. In perhaps the most well-known incident in 2004, a cat named Gin escaped its carrier mid-flight and snuck into the cockpit while stewardesses were passing meals to the pilots. Gin attacked the captain and co-pilot, forcing them to return to Brussels. Also in 2004, a cat breached the cockpit of a plane bound for Bangladesh and caused havoc. While the plane arrived at its destination without any problems, it took the flight staff another two hours after landing to trap the frightened furball.

Earlier this month, a cat snuck onto a grounded El Al jet at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. On Feb. 21, maintenance staff at the airport discovered the relaxed feline “sunning himself” on the dash after using the pilot and co-pilot seats as his personal scratchers.

The cute shop cats of Cleveland

Cleveland.com’s Anne Nickoloff has a nice write-up about the shop cats of Cleveland who occupy bookstores, record shops, a brewery, a hardware store and a comic book shop, among other businesses. Some of the shop cats serve part-time as mousers, but most of them are really mascots and friendly faces that keep regulars coming back.

Shop Cats of Cleveland
The shop cats of Blue Arrow Records in Cleveland. Credit: Cleveland.com

Among them is Saaz the cat, who calls The Cleveland Brew Shop home.

“She’s part-pet, part-employee because we have a lot of malted barley here, and so often if you don’t have a deterrent, it can attract rodents,” Brew Shop owner Darren Cross told Nickoloff. “It’s actually true – the pheromones of the cat will eventually get around the store and mice can detect those pheromones and they’ll stay away.”

“I’d recommend having a cat for any store. People walk into our store just to pet the cat… She comes to the door when people walk in, she’s not shy like you would expect a cat to be, so it works out well.”

Cat is reunited with owner after 15 years apart

While this is a nice story, it’s also a cautionary tale about allowing your cats outside. Along from the anguish of losing a cat, I imagine the worst part is not knowing what happened to the little one.

A Los Angeles man named Charles adopted Brandy when she was just two months old and had her for only a short time before she disappeared. Charles told the Associated Press he searched for her and put up signs, but after his efforts proved fruitless he guessed coyotes may have gotten to the young cat.

“I wanted her back because when I adopted her I made a moral obligation to take care of her for her life,” he said.

On Sunday he received a call from a Los Angeles area shelter who had picked up Brandy and scanned her microchip. The long-lost cat was skinny and malnourished, but “seemed content” and was purring.

“I did break down and cry because I thought about all of the years I lost from her,” Charles told AP.

Charles and Brandy reunited
Charles and Brandy. Credit: Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control