Neighborhood Welcomes Home Murphy
Sometimes, it takes a village to find a cat.
In the case of a cowcat named Murphy, it took the west end of Oneonta, New York to help Murphy find his way back home:
By Jake Palmateer
ONEONTA _ "Murphy's Home!"
The sign on Pam O'Connor and Mark Voorhees' Chestnut Street yard on Sunday said it all.
O'Connor's 10-year-old cat, Murphy, went missing two weeks ago and had nearly been given up for lost. But on Saturday, Murphy was reunited with his owner.
The grey-and-white cat with one yellow eye and one blue eye ran out the front door June 12, O'Connor said.
It was unusual for the neutered Murphy, who she said is strictly an inside cat, to get outside.
Murphy has been O'Connor's pet since he was a kitten.
"I bottle-fed him. He was an orphan," O'Connor said.
O'Connor printed flyers, and she and Voorhees delivered them to houses across the neighborhood.
"It was a lot of walking," Voorhees said.
Businesses assisted by allowing flyers to be placed in windows, she said.
But as time went on and there were no sightings of the cat, Murphy's owner began to fear the worst, especially since the couple lives on a busy street.
But a Murphy sighting on Thursday near Napa Auto Parts by a neighborhood boy named Robert renewed hope, O'Connor said.
"A garbage man corroborated the story," she added.
And on Saturday, a girl named Katie who also lives in the neighborhood spotted the cat near the Marketplace on Chestnut antique store, O'Connor said. Murphy's home was roughly in the middle of the one-mile stretch of Chestnut Street between Napa and the antique store.
Although the girl had tried to entice the cat into a cat carrier with food and even held the cat briefly, Murphy escaped, O'Connor said. O'Connor said she found Murphy hiding under a nearby porch after the girl called her.
A reward of $500 was offered, and O'Connor said she would split it between the two kids. O'Connor said she didn't know their last names.
Voorhees said he thought Murphy may have been hiding out in a swampy area below Chestnut Street during his time on the lam.
The cat appeared Sunday to be in good condition.
"He's lost a little weight," O'Connor said. "He's happy to be home."
As O'Connor and Murphy took down "lost cat" signs over the weekend, passers-by inquired about the kitty and congratulated O'Connor for Murphy's safe return.
"The neighborhood is spectacular," O'Connor said.
O'Connor said she is grateful for Murphy's return.
"It was a tense couple of weeks," O'Connor said.
O'Connor said the occasion was special because Sunday was her 60th birthday.
Remember, one of the most valuable tools in your pet recovery arsenal is the good will, eyes and ears of your neighbors. In an age where many neighbors no longer know--or even have met--each other, it's good to cultivate relationships with those on your street so that if your cat ever goes missing, you'll have 20 families--not just one--looking for Fluffy, and hoping and praying for her safe return.