A reader shares the story of her cat Ollie in honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day. Ollie went missing in 2008 and was gone for three years. His family thought they would never see him again, but diligent animal control services staffers never gave up on finding him and returning him to his rightful home.
Luanne Browning Gilbert shares the story of her family’s long lost cat Ollie with us. Like approximately 32,000 others, Luanne has joined Wayne Morris’ August 17 Black Cat Appreciation Day event, begun by networking through friends on Facebook, and now spread far and wide. She tells us Ollie’s story in commemoration of her own cat and of black cats everywhere.
Ollie disappeared from his Tennessee home in 2008 and was gone for a very long time; so long that his family finally gave up on their active efforts to find him. The staff at the local animal control services agency never gave up on him though, and their dedication finally paid off just days ago.
Here is Ollie’s story:
When my little black kitty girl Speck walked across the living room floor I was reminded how much she looks like Ollie. Ollie went missing in August of 2008. We looked everywhere and tried everything to find him, fighting code enforcement by putting up posters, ads in the paper, Craigslist, Petfinder, and walking the neighborhood for hours on end, and still no sign of him. Needless to say, I was heartbroken.
(Then, this past Sunday) The phone rang and it was Nancy from Collierville Animal Services. They’d trapped a black declawed male cat, she said, but we both knew it wasn’t him. She knows it would take a miracle to get Ollie back after all these years, but she still calls each time a cat comes in matching his description.
Arriving at the shelter a few minutes later, I looked in the cage. There was a scared black cat looking back at me. “Do you want me to get him out,” asked the volunteer. “No, I’m fine,” I told her. I got him out and to their surprise, he let me hold him. I put him on top of a stack of carriers to pet him and he head butted me, just like Ollie used to do. He would stand on his tip-toes when I scratched his back by his tail, and do a little dance for me. This kitty did the same thing, plus he nipped me when I stopped rubbing him!
Could this really be Ollie? Chris, my son, would know. Ollie adored him, so I called. He always told me that Ollie had a tiny bit of white on one of his toes. Nancy took a picture of his foot as I held him and I emailed it to Chris. A few minutes later I got a message, “It’s him!” Knowing in my heart this was Ollie but not needing another cat if it wasn’t, I called Ralph, my husband, and told him to get down there right away.
Ralph came in, excited but probably thinking I’d lost my mind. When Ollie nudged him with his head and grabbed his finger with his paw, he knew it was him. Ollie sleeps on the bed with us again, not quite sure what to think of the other cats yet, but he knows, he’s home.
My Ollie is home again, thanks to Nancy for keeping his card for all these years and calling me each time a black cat came in matching his description. Thanks to Suzanne for trapping him while trying to “fix” all the ferals, and Nina, and all of the other wonderful people at Collierville Animal Services.