Ollie the Long Lost Black Cat Returns Home


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By Karen Harrison Binette

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.

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13 thoughts on “Ollie the Long Lost Black Cat Returns Home”

  1. In 2009 I lost my beautiful little (we fat) tortoiseshell named Maggie. she was adopted and as soon a she could she escaped over a 2 meter wall with electric fencing and went looking for me I think. I went every morning at 05:30 a.m. and every evening at 06 p.m. looking for her. I made 200 copies of a poster for her and put them in all the mail boxes where she went missing, gave to the local police guys and posted them in as many restaurants, buisnesses etc. as I could. one month after she went lost I was walking about the street where she had been adopted to and I was calling her and i heard her little voice sweaking at me. she had lost 9 kilos and was down to 3 I almost didnt recognize her. walked through a fire ant colony to get her! OUCH! i cried and cried I was so happy to see her. she was so hungry. this is a cat who was bottle fed from the time she was 2 weeks old she knew nothing about hunting. she is now happy and the queen of the house! Sometimes if you dont give up hope you will see them again. must has been rought knowing Ollie was declawed and managed to make it. In Brasil this is against the law… should be everywhere.. scratch pads will take care of that scratching problem…

  2. This is a terrific story. But why wasn’t Ollie microchipped? It would have been much easier to identify him, and even perhaps to find him, if he had been microchipped. I hope you will do that now.

  3. We have a black cat we have adopted, found in northern wisconsin by mich border. A long shot but thought i would post, he is old and has a small white patch on his throat. found him about a year ago, he was starving w worms, and exhausted. very sweet, and he sings! He is always ready for breakfast at 7am even if i am not and he sings then until someone pets him. sometimes he cries, i feel he is missing his last home.

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