Lucky

posted April 15th, 2009 by
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By Mary Taylor, StreetCats Volunteer

Ice storms aren’t usually credited with reuniting long lost pets with their owners—in fact, many pets are lost during winter storms. But this year was different. If not for the ice storm of January, 2009, the Smith family (not their real name) might have never found their beloved cat, Lucky.

It had been five months since Lucky, a beautiful male brown tabby, had been missing. The last time the Smiths saw him was Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. Lucky, an indoor cat, must have slipped out of the house when the dogs were let out. The Smith family was heartbroken.

In the days that followed Lucky’s disappearance, they combed the neighborhood and knocked on doors, asking if anyone had seen him. They put a “lost cat” notice on Craig’s List and checked with the Jenks animal shelter. They did everything they could think of and received a few leads, but it seemed no one had seen the sleek tabby.

Lucky had been a member of the Smith family for five years. They had found him as a tiny feral kitten, abandoned and alone. He was bottle fed and raised and loved. And now he was gone.

Summer became autumn and the days got colder. They still searched for him and called the animal shelter, but to no avail. The fall months passed, the holidays were approaching, and still no Lucky. There didn’t seem to be much point in continuing their search. Lucky wasn’t coming back home. The Smiths feared the worst.

It was late November when Nancy, a volunteer at Street Cats, received a phone call. A kind gentleman had found a cat on his porch. The cat had been out there for three days in the cold weather. The man had fed him but couldn’t keep him. He found the cat to be sweet and noticed his front paws were declawed, adding an extra danger since he had no defense against other animals. Could Street Cats take him in?

Street Cats is a cat rescue organization in Tulsa. They save kitties found on the streets and find new homes for them. They are a no-kill shelter. Once a cat is taken in, it has a home for life, even if no one adopts the cat. So far, that has never happened.

Nancy drove out and picked the cat up. She named him Arnold and took him to the veterinarian for a check up, tests, and inoculations.

Sadly, Arnold wasn’t in the best of health, but he was curable. Unfortunately, until he was better, he couldn’t be around the other cats. This would delay his coming to live at Street Cats and his adoptability, as well. Arnold would be kept in foster care until he was back to his normal healthy self.

Christmas passed, the new year rang in, and Arnold got well. At last he could come to Street Cats! He had his picture taken and posted on the Street Cats website, and he was micro-chipped, to identify him if he was ever lost again. Arnold got along great with the shop’s other kitties and was a big hit with the volunteers. He loved to cuddle and sit on laps. He would make a wonderful pet for someone.

During the first week of January, life at Street Cats was pleasantly interrupted by Channel 6 News. They were doing a story on the cat shelter and came to make a video. Linda, a knowledgeable volunteer, was interviewed, filmed, and highlighted on the 6 p.m. news. The video was also placed on Channel 6’s website. It was great publicity. Hopefully, it would result in a lot of adoptions.

In mid-January, dire weather forecasts predicted an ice storm. They were correct. Although not as bad as the storm of late 2007, it slowed Tulsa to a crawl. Some homes lost power, road conditions were dangerous, and businesses were closed or manned by skeleton crews. The school and church closings were posted on each TV channel, but it was faster and easier to go to their websites.

In Jenks, the Smith family went online to see if their son’s school was closed. As luck would have it, they chose Channel 6 News and noticed a video about a cat rescue group called Street Cats. After watching the video, they clicked on the link to the Street Cats’ website. Although it had been five months since Lucky disappeared, they still had hope. As the pictures of the cats available for adoption appeared on the computer screen, one kitty caught their attention. His name was Arnold. Could it be? After all this time? Was this Lucky? YES!  They knew it was him!

After several phone calls, the Smith family drove down to Street Cats. They were waiting at the door before it opened. They had pictures of Lucky and described him perfectly. But the clincher was yet to come…

They were led into the back of the shop where the kitties live. Several cats were strolling around, playing with catnip bags and balls. One of them was Arnold.

“Lucky,” the Smith family called his name. Arnold / Lucky turned his head at the sound of his real name. Was that his family? Lucky approached the Smiths and purred and nuzzled as they picked him up. After such a long time—and against all odds—his family had found him.

Lucky was going home!

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