Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Update: Beautiful Jessie has come home! And: What we learned about lost/found animals
Mica and I were touched by a neighbor's plight after I saw flyers up all over Banker’s Hill with pictures of a beautiful cat with big aquamarine eyes, snuggled close in the partially visible, bare shoulders and arms of her owner.
In fact, as I told Mica, I knew immediately that I had met this cat without knowing her name, one sunny day passing by her yard.
She was a sleek and tawny brown, sitting with her back to me at the base of a tall palm. Surely an Abyssinian from that muscular back, I thought. She was staring upward at something thrashing around in its fronds. I followed her gaze upward, joining her attempt to find the source of the thrashing, likely one of the finches of which we have such an abundance in Banker's Hill—unless something more exciting—we do have chattering green and red parrots swoop through on escape from the zoo, or a day trip away from their digs in Balboa Park trees.
But then, something stopped me from speculating further about birds; this superb feline had turned around to look at me now, and what a looker! Besides the aforementioned sleek brown coat, gleaming in the sun, she had these startling, Caribbean water eyes, making me think of palm trees and tawny sand, and fruity drinks on the shore of some sun-baked island.
The palette of a vacation, in a compact little cat! Certainly, a cat-lover’s cat; a cat who commands notice. I made inquisitive little chuffing noises to her, but she was alas, too busy focusing on whatever continued to thrash around in the upper reaches of the palm, so I wished her good luck on the hunt, and passed on my way.
After I related this tale to Mica, he wrinkled his nose. ‘Well, obviously you are going to call her, then!’ he snorted. But what can I do? I wondered. ‘Why, blog her, of course! Put her picture up for everyone to see!’ Genius, of course. I called Victoria from the number on the flyer, and she agreed that it was worth a try.
Jessie the cat is so beautiful, so striking in appearance, that it is entirely possible someone snatched her up and took her home to love. But Victoria has been left behind to mourn the absence of her closest companion, and the two need to be reunited.
It should be stated firmly that no questions will be asked, and that a reward has been offered.
Mica and I decided that Victoria’s words asking for Jessie’s return should be left intact:
"I bought Jessie in 1996, in Boston, where I was finishing college. We were pals instantly. She is so special to me. She witnessed all my changes, from 25 years old on. In sad times she was there to comfort me, and we all go through heartbreak and loss in those growing years.
We flew out together to San Diego in 2003. A new start for both of us. We've lived happily in this neighborhood for nearly 6 years. I never thought she'd disappear like this. I am literally missing part of myself. The sound of my keys coming down the path would make her leap to the door. I couldn't open a can with out her twisting herself in my legs. And every night and morning she would jump up, press against me and flop down against my neck so we could cuddle tightly in bed.
I should be be so happy right now, planning my wedding, but I feel something is missing and I just can't feel joy. I feel like I should suffer as she must be suffering, wondering why I haven't come for her.
I truly appreciate anything anyone can report about her being missing. She's been gone since sunday feb 28th, 8.30pm. Life just doesn't seem the same."
I have removed contact information because there is no longer a need.
Jessie the cat is home!
Thanks to the direct efforts of our pal antigeekess, otherwise known as the fabulous AG, Victoria and Jessie are now catching up, loving on each other, and enjoying some treats in the kitchen. No doubt Jessie will curl up fast in Victoria's arms tonight, safe again home.
Victoria will write in herself once she can tear herself from Jessie, but would immediately love to thank AG for her smart search tactics that led to the lady who had been prepping Jessie for adoption.
I told you this was a special, lovely, aquamarine-eyed cat! I knew someone would have had to pick her up and want to love her, or take her to safety. Who knows how far she wandered; details are still sketchy, but the important part is, she's back.
I'm proud of AG, thankful to everyone who contributed to the blog, and to the cat community out there of folk who keep their ears perked and eyes opened.
A couple of days ago, I sat down over a cup of good organic French roast with Victoria at our local café in Banker’s Hill. (Formerly “Café Mundo and now Banker’s Hill Pizza, it sells delicious, freshly made to order pizzas as well as organic free trade coffee at better prices than your average block away corporate monster). She arrived with a large bunch of assorted yellow and white blooms I wish I could have shared with AG, and which Mica craves so keenly that we have to keep the vase in the bedroom with the door shut. They were temporarily on the dining room table, and Mica is still performing kitten reconnaissance missions to try and locate them, thinking something might remain on the table. He is in fact so obsessed that I might have to give them away. Most flowers and plants are poisonous to housecats; I don’t know how outdoor cats survive—perhaps because they graze on grass for their tummies, they just ignore the other plants and blooms in the garden? Indoor cats are micro-obsessed with everything in their environment, and mark small changes with the attention of an autistic with a ritual to finish. By the way, there are useful Web sites listing all of the plants that are poisonous to cats, and I tell you, the list is dizzying—even pothos, so I keep them well-trimmed and hanging high.
Victoria took me back to see Jessie, and what a love she is! She stood on the tabletop, a tiny cat doll, all tawny warm brown, stepping quickly on her dainty high-arched feet. Quite the little lady, she happily lapped up whispery shreds of bonito flakes from my fingers and palms, between sessions of rubbing her little ewok face all over mine with ardent kisses. This cat is the most loverly I have ever the pleasure to rub cheeks with! Having seen her once before, I knew she was special, but not how enthusiastic would be her physical expressions of love for humans. No wonder Victoria was bereft without her! Looking into Jessie’s clear green eyes, I saw such a friendly light; it seemed to say that she knew how lucky she was to be home, and that she wasn’t going to let it go unappreciated.
I wanted to give a bit of a happy ending to Jessie’s adventure, but also record here some of the details that have taught me, Victoria, and AG not only something about finding lost pets, but what to do if you find a pet yourself, as well as what may or may not happen once someone picks up your pet who has wandered too far from home:
Though the blog was a good idea, the most important factor in Jessie’s return was the chain of emails AG sent out to all of the rescue and adoption organizations she could google. Even if one does not have a blog site, and a link to provide, an email with the necessary information, a picture and description of the animal, also with an attachment, would be fine. The important thing is to get a description of the animal and the most important information about him/her out there and traveling on the Internet. Neighborhood flyers are important, but they should take second place on the task list to getting these emails out.
If you find a lost pet, don’t just take matters into your own hands and decide on a course of action without first doing a thorough search of the neighborhood in which you found the animal—for flyers. In Jessie’s case, the woman who picked her up somehow did not see the flyers posted all over the place—there were at least two on telephone poles in the very block where her office is located, and where she found Jessie. Her office is only about a block and a half from Jessie’s home! All of the nights Victoria spent searching and calling for Jessie in that area were for naught—perhaps because the lady locked Jessie inside—we aren’t sure if she kept her at the office before taking her home.
If you do find an animal, take her to a vet or shelter as close as possible to where you found her. Jessie’s lady took her all the way to La Mesa to her own vet, a move which nearly sealed Jessie’s fate of re-adoption, of which Victoria would not have easily learned, as everyone would assume a local vet or shelter would be consulted by the finder of the lost animal.
If all of this sounds a bit critical of the lady who found Jessie, it is solely for the purpose of our learning from what happened, what was successful, and what was nearly not, and why. Jessie was one day away from being put up for adoption when she was found, and who knows what could have happened if we hadn’t gotten to her in time—her new “owners” might have refused to give her up. The only other thing I can think of is that there should have been more emphasis on the fact that Jessie’s age may not be apparent, and how very tiny she is—this is a physical feature that, along with other aspects of her purebred status, sets her apart from many other cats likely to be at a shelter.
I feel I’ve learned quite a bit from this whole experience, and would like to thank AG for her invaluable lesson on the importance of inquiring at all of the local shelters and organizations one can find listed.