March 12, 2009 in City

Used couch came with furry stowaway

By The Spokesman-Review
Christopher Anderson photo

Vickie Mendenhall holds VeeVee the cat at her job with SpokAnimal on Thursday, March 1, 2009. Mendenhall got a couch at Value Village and, after having it at her home for a few days, discovered the cat was living inside the piece of furniture. She is now looking for a good home for the cat.
(Full-size photo)

The used couch that Vickie Mendenhall bought for $27 came with a furry surprise – a calico cat that hid inside it for more than two weeks.

On Thursday afternoon, the feline was reunited with her overjoyed owner after media reports about the cat’s improbable saga.

Mendenhall, who bought the couch at Value Village for her new home at 3104 N. Madison St. in Spokane, said she and the other occupants had been hearing the faint sound of meowing repeatedly but could never find the source. Every time they searched for a cat, the sound stopped.

“Every night we’d hear it and then we’d try to find it, but we couldn’t find it,” said the 32-year-old mom, who coincidentally works in the cat room at SpokAnimal C.A.R.E.

“We thought it was coming through the vents into the house.”

She said her 9-year-old son, Tyler, theorized the house was haunted by a cat.

Then on Tuesday evening, she said her boyfriend, Chris Lund, was watching TV and felt something move inside the couch beneath him.

He pulled the couch away from the wall, lifted it up and voila! There was the cat, which apparently crawled through a small hole under the couch, and was very hungry and dehydrated.

Mendenhall called Value Village, but the staff there had no information about who donated the couch. She then took the cat to SpokAnimal, so it could recover, and contacted media outlets in hope of finding the owner.

The strategy worked – Bob Killion of Spokane went to SpokAnimal to claim the cat after an acquaintance saw the story on television and alerted him. Killion had donated a couch on Feb. 19, and his 9-year-old cat, Callie, disappeared at about the same time.

“We realized, ‘oh my gosh, I can’t find her anywhere,’” Killion recalled.

Killion, a retired Air Force master sergeant, says he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2001, and was only given a year and a half to live. He credits Callie, along with his other cat, Tiger, and his Pomeranian, Lola, for helping him through that difficult time.

“Pets have been so important,” he said.

Mendenhall said the cat appeared grateful to be rescued.

“When we got her out, she was giving me that look, ‘Thanks for getting me out of there.’”

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