Do you have a cat story that just beggars belief? A story so bizarre, you can barely believe it yourself? We sure do, and that cat story stars Buffer: an old, sickly gentlecat that somehow made his way back to us over 18 miles for the urgent medical care he needed.
Late September 2016, our executive Lauri first heard about this miracle kitty…here’s the tale told from her perspective:
I received a call from an older gentleman with health issues, who lives in the Emerald Acres trailer park and feeds several feral/stray cats; we provide donated food to him to feed the kitties. Anyway, he called to say a new kitty had started coming for food and he was worried about him. He said he seemed very thin and sickly, and that he might need vet care. I told him to keep me posted and we were hoping to bring food for him soon. A week later he called again saying the cat was eating and doing better, but was definitely still looking sick and he was worried. I asked if he was friendly and could be handled and he said “Hell yeah! He sits in my lap and purrs!” So, Mike and I gathered some supplies to take to the gentleman and a carrier to see if we could get the kitty to the vet. (To the right is the ‘before’ picture of Buffer, before he escaped.)
When I first laid eyes on the kitty that the gentleman had named “Buffer”, I wondered, ‘how is this kitty even alive? He is a skeleton.’ His buff colored medium length fur was matted and filthy, gunk in his eyes and crusty stuff around his nose…. I put down some food and he attacked it like he hadn’t seen food in a long time, though he’d been fed a couple hours before. I grabbed him and put him in the carrier, determined to get him to the vet ASAP.
When we arrived at the vet, there were dogs in the lobby barking incessantly and Buffer was upset, so Mike stayed outside with him while I went in to check in. After a bit, the vet tech went out to take a look at Buffer. He thought from my description that Buffer was “half dead” so in his mind it made sense to open the top of the carrier to get a good look. After a surge of anger, then a feeling of despair, I watched as if in slow motion as Buffer leapt out of the carrier, under cars, then over the fence behind the vet office, and out of sight. Mike and I cancelled our afternoon appointments and scoured the property behind the vet office for hours. Kate drove to Allison’s to get traps then brought them to us; we set several. Twice a day for two weeks, we went back to check and reset traps, put up posters etc., trying to get this poor sick guy back. We caught a couple other cats and a few raccoons, but no Buffer. One of our traps even went missing. Sunday, I picked up the traps and brought them home…still no Buffer. Kate thought he was gone for good.
Do you believe in Meow-icles? Please consider ‘Believing in Buffer’ by donating to cover his medical costs!
Then late Monday evening, a woman named called me saying a stray, light orange kitty had shown up and she was concerned for her because she was so skinny and sickly. The woman did not have any cat food, but put some dog food down and the kitty devoured it. Buffer? No, she was sure it was a female. I asked her where she lived and she said Crystal Park, up in the mountains behind Manitou Springs…definitely not Buffer. I asked her to let the kitty stay in her garage and to please give her some water and tuna and suggested she call Happy Cats, Look What the Cat Brought In and TCRAS to see if they can help. Tuesday, she me back saying she couldn’t get help. She said the kitty seemed to have a bloody nose and difficulty breathing. Also, she checked more closely and said the kitty was a male and so sweet…would sit in her lap and purr. Buffer? No way…her place is way too far away. I told her if no one could help, I would come get the kitty the next day. (To the left is the ‘after’ picture of Buffer, after we re-rescued him!)
Wednesday, the woman called again saying no one else was able to help. I said I would pick up the cat at 6pm. I drove about one hour to get up the mountain behind Manitou Springs, then down into the valley where she lives, that’s how far this cat was, and I’ll be damned if the kitty I saw in her garage did not look exactly like Buffer. I got him in the carrier and into my car and the first second I had a cell signal I called Mike and asked if I could bring this cat to his house for him to look at. When I got to Mike’s, he came out and looked in the carrier and without hesitation said, “that’s him.” No question about it! He was 100% sure. Even the ear notch was the same.
I could go on with more detail, but the bottom line is that we found Buffer on the opposite side of the city, two full weeks after we lost him. Back when I first saw him it seemed like it was a miracle he was alive…it’s a miracle indeed that he survived and is still alive, that we got him back, that he’s in my care. Gives me chills every time I think about it. Now I sit with him and he purrs in my lap…
Do you have a tale to match up to Buffer’s miracle? We’d love to hear about your crazy cat story! Inspired by what we do? Please consider ‘Believing in Buffer’ by donating to support our rescue efforts!