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  • Helena Kyle

A True Story for Pet Lovers

A True Story for Pet Lovers: Cat Not in the Hat

Previously Published in the Pineapple Post

By Helena Kyle, Freelance Writer

helenakyle [@] outlook.com

Last November 16th, 2015, Du, (pronounced, due) a new cat in town, went missing only 4 days after his owners, Shawn, Jack, and their daughter, Mackenzie, moved to the neighborhood of Rocky Point, near Port Salerno – he was missing for 62 days.

Du shies away from most people, due to his feral roots; therefore, when an acquaintance of Shawn’s stopped by to visit, a frightened Du, dashed off through his kitty door, and out into unfamiliar territory. By nightfall, a rainstorm ensued, washing away the possibility of familiar scents to lead him back home. Shawn, the heroine of the story, sprang into action; she made, and posted, lost-cat signs throughout the neighborhood - large, poster-board signs displaying a photo of their missing cat, along with pertinent contact information.

The upside to Du once having been a feral cat, is his ability to survive in the wilderness. His new neighborhood is dotted with undeveloped land, including 2 park preserves, offering the opportunity to hunt for food if necessary, as he did in his early feral years. An obstacle to Shawn’s search for Du happened within the first few days; she noticed her signs were torn down, throughout the neighborhood. Evidently, the signs were destroyed by the Grinch who stole missing-cat-signs. As days turned into weeks, Shawn remained steadfast in the search for her beloved Du. She diligently posted new signs, early in the morning, to replace the ones routinely destroyed by the Grinch, after dark. Du may have been out of sight, but not out of mind, of the residents of Rocky Point. Day by day, week, by week, the search continued. Shawn received one to two phone-calls weekly, from neighbors reporting a possible Du sighting; the calls kept Shawn hopeful.

Where was Du while the search ensued? One can only imagine. He might have found good eats at the water-front restaurants near Rocky Point, where he was once spotted, but he disappeared out of sight too quickly to be found.

Perhaps he was chased around a garden as Peter Rabbit was, by Mr. McGregor, or worse by the resident bobcat in the neighborhood. Or, he might have made the most of it, as did James Herriot’s, Oscar, Cat-About-Town. Was Shawn’s Pink Panther stolen? Rather than let her imagination interfere with the search, she patiently persevered.

Sixty-two days after Du went missing, he was found, alive! Shawn’s due diligence paid off. A neighbor, a good neighbor, one block up from Du’s residence, spotted him in her yard. She coaxed the famished feline, with food, onto her screened-in patio. She took a photo of him, and called Shawn to confirm his identity. Du, the-survivor, is quite content to be back home. Once reunited with his family, Shawn posted several new signs throughout the neighborhood, of gratitude for considerate neighbors, and to announce the good news of the happy ending to Du’s story.

Tips on helping pet lovers find their missing pet:

  • Take a photo of the missing-pet flyer/sign, for phone number and pet I.D.

  • If you spot the pet, call the owner as soon as possible.

  • Coax the pet to a safe, enclosed area until the owner arrives.

  • Note: A feral cat that has been spayed or neutered, will have a notched ear, typically, the right ear – Du’s left ear was notched; a compassionate person in his feral past had him neutered.

For information on low-cost feral cat spay/neutering, or for pet loss support, call the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast: (772) 223-8822 (hstc1.org)