September 15, 2011 in Nation/World

Missing calico crossed country

Jim Fitzgerald Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A microchip is helping reunite Willow, a 6-year-old calico cat shown Wednesday in New York, with her Colorado family after a five year absence.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – A calico cat named Willow, who disappeared from a home near the Rocky Mountains five years ago, was found Wednesday on a Manhattan street and will soon be returned to a family in which two of the three kids and one of the two dogs may remember her.

How she got to New York, more than 1,600 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the city are mysteries.

But thanks to a microchip implanted when she was a kitten, Willow will be reunited in Colorado with her owners, who had long ago given up hope.

“To be honest, there are tons of coyotes around here, and owls,” said Jamie Squires, of Boulder. “She was just a little thing, five and a half pounds. We put out the ‘Lost Cat’ posters and the Craigslist thing, but we actually thought she’d been eaten by coyotes.”

Squires and her husband, Chris, were “shocked and astounded” when they got a call Wednesday from Animal Care and Control, which runs New York City’s animal rescue and shelter system.

Willow had been found on East 20th Street by a man who took her to a shelter.

ACC Executive Director Julie Bank said a scanner found the microchip that led to the Squires family.

“All our pets are microchipped,” Squires said. “If I could microchip my kids, I would.”

The children are 17, 10 and 3, so the older two remember Willow, Squires said. As for the 3-year-old, “She saw the photo and said, ‘She’s a pretty cat.’ ”

The Squireses also have a yellow Labrador named Roscoe, who knew Willow, and an English mastiff named Zoe.

Squires said Willow escaped in late 2006 or early 2007 when contractors left a door open during a home renovation.

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