After Marilyn Parker’s neighbor moved to a Seattle suburb, she figured she’d never see his puss around Farmington again.
Then the cat came back.
Not the very next day, but more than a year later.
Former Farmington feline “Ninja” moved to Mill Creek, Wash., with Brent Todd and his family in April 1996.
They kept the 8-year-old orange tiger inside for a week, then let him out. He immediately leaped over the fence of his new yard and never came back, Todd said.
On May 25, Marilyn and John Parker spotted Ninja sitting on the second-story porch of the Todds’ old Farmington house.
He was waiting to be let inside and fed - just like the old days.
“We looked over and I said, ‘Gosh, that looks like their cat,’ and then I said, ‘Oh, it can’t be,”’ Marilyn Parker said.
But it was, she said.
Ninja’s 850-mile catwalk left him thin and scraggly, but he had the same coat, same personality and same distinctive caterwaul.
“Oh, he looked awful. He was all beat up, and he looked exhausted,” Parker said. “He looked like he’d been through the war.”
Assuming he took a general, southeastern route, the trekking tiger cat crossed the Columbia and Snake rivers, crossed a few mountain ranges and pussyfooted through Oregon’s Hood National Forest.
The first four days, he slept. He didn’t eat anything Parker set out for him. The fifth day, he gulped down a bowl of milk and a whole can of tuna. Now he yowls at the Parkers’ back door for his dinner around 3 a.m. each day.
Ninja always was a little wild, Parker said. Now, he’s just plain wild. She can’t get close enough to pat his head, let alone take him to the veterinarian.
It’s possible the feline is just a feral Ninja look-alike, veterinarian Brad Esplin said.
But Parker said there is no doubt this cat is Ninja.
“The cat is very unusual,” she said. “He has a strange yowl.”