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A Cat of a Different Color

The Lost Pet Center at Lamar-Dixon SARA MILLER/HSUS
The man had searched all day for his cat. He had played a desperate game of connect-the-dots, making stops at several shelters and temporary holding facilities in Louisiana. It was after 10 p.m. when he finally arrived at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The official closing time was 9, but HSUS staff offered to help.

“Who can say no to this guy?” thought Sara Miller, director of membership and customer service.

After the man filled out the lost pet paperwork, Miyun Park, vice president of farm animal welfare, took him to explore the barns while Miller searched the computer database. At that point in the disaster response, organizations were taking daily kennel inventories and using the database to record animals’ locations. “Miracle of miracles, I find the cat with the exact barn, the exact kennel, exact cage, everything,” says Miller.

But when Miller caught up with Park and the desperate cat owner, they had already checked the area where the database said the cat was housed and they hadn’t found the right kitty. The man went back for a second look but still couldn’t find a cat he recognized. No match.

Miller thought maybe she hadn’t correctly remembered the cat’s location from the database, and she checked the computer again to make sure. But there was no mistake. When she got back to the barn, the mystery was solved. “He had looked again, and realized that the cat that he’d left [during Katrina] was a beautiful white, but the cat that he found now was kind of dingy gray. … We saw him take the cat out of his cage, and it was beautiful,” says Miller.

The man couldn’t take his cat with him that night, so he returned the next day. And he got more than he bargained for, too. “There were so many wonderful donated items,” says Miller. “When he and his brother came to pick up the cat, they … also [received] a litter box and treats and litter and all those kinds of things to help bring the cat home. It was great.”

 

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