Thursday, May 30, 2024

That makes purrrfect sense

Staff Writer | September 30, 2022 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — It was your typical Monday afternoon in Sanger, Calif., when the phone rang at Susan Moore’s home.

It was a conversation she remembers well.

“We found your cat,” the caller said.

“My cat?” Moore answered.

"We found Harriet.”

Moore wasn’t sure what this was about.

“Excuse me?” she said. “What cat are you talking about?”

“We found your cat,” the caller repeated. “I’m calling from Hayden. I have your cat.”

The still-puzzled Moore, a California girl, said she wasn’t familiar with Hayden, Calif.

“That’s because we’re in Idaho,” the caller said.

After more explanation, it clicked with Moore that the cat in question was hers, one by the name of Harriet, that went missing nine years ago from their country home.

Nearly a decade later, it had turned up on Prairie Avenue in Hayden, found Sept. 19 by a passerby and brought to the Companions Animal Center, formerly Kootenai Humane Society.

The cat, described as sweet and in good health, was scanned for a microchip.

“We called the owner,” said KHS Development Director Vicky Nelson. “When they answered and we told them we had their cat, they were speechless.”

So, how did Harriet get from California to Idaho? There is no clear answer.

"It’s hard to say,” Nelson said.

Moore guesses that perhaps it sneaked aboard her husband's horse trailer, hopped out when he reached his rodeo, and someone found her. Or maybe a neighbor came across her in the country, took her in, and later moved to Idaho.

Unless someone claims ownership of Harriet, she’ll be reunited with Moore.

Her brother moved to Lewiston in January and is set to drive to KHS this weekend to get Harriet, and later fly with her to California.

“She’s not going to remember me,” Moore said.

Still, she will gladly welcome her back to their 41-acre ranch, and hopes she gets along with their barn cats, two dogs and several horses.

“She’s going to have to be an outside cat,” Moore said.

A bond remains between them.

Moore rescued Harriet when she was a kitten in a shelter 11 years ago. The family had just moved to the country and wanted a good barn cat, which Harriet turned out to be.

But soon after being fixed, she got sick, almost died and recovered after a visit to the veterinarian.

“My free cat cost me $400,” Moore said, laughing.

Harriet rewarded her with loyalty. She roamed the property and kept it rodent-free.

When she went missing, Moore searched near their home, checked lost pet sites and contacted shelters.

“I tried everything,” she said.

Harriet had disappeared — her husband guessed coyotes got her — until that call from KHS.

While happy to hear Harriet was alive and well, Moore said somebody in Idaho must be missing her and she hopes they step forward.

“I would love to leave her where she is at,” Moore said. “She really doesn’t belong to me. She belongs to somebody else."

While Harriet's whereabouts for the past decade are unknown, Moore is sure of one thing about her old and now new feline friend:

“Definitely, she has nine lives."


Photo courtesy Companions Animal Center

Harriet is waiting at the Companions Animal Center to be reunited with her owner in California.