Cat Caper Mobilizes Carytown 

Whatever the name, the cat was an unofficial mascot, she says. "He was smart and knew how to work the retailers and the customers. He had so many people feeding him it was like a daily smorgasbord for him at any store." PAL took care of the feline's medical needs, giving him shots, checkups, even ear surgery for mites, which left his left ear crumpled.

Ironically, the day the cat was last seen was Pets on Parade day in Carytown. He had spent most of the day sleeping in the upstairs of Anthill, Adams recalls. But once he made his way outside to socialize and explore, as was his custom, he must have become a target for the taking, Adams figures. Mysteriously, the cat disappeared.

Retailers and Carytown regulars were puzzled and upset. Adams enlisted volunteers and spread word of the cat's absence. Rumors spread quickly that someone who lived nearby had taken the cat, possibly to provide him with a fulltime home.

"I realize someone had the right intentions, but for Carytown Cat they've done the equivalent of taking the paintbrush from Picasso," Adams said in the days that stretched to weeks after the cat's disappearance.

"It was devastating. I did everything I knew how to do in a grassroots way," she says. "I was giving up hope." Then her sleuthing paid off.

Nearly three weeks to the day of the cat's "kidnapping," Adams says she and her husband were walking along Ellwood Avenue when they stumbled upon their subject. "He had been heisted and we found him on a porch," Adams says excitedly.

Today, the cat is back in Carytown. The curious caper has "made us reassess how we take care of him," Adams says. Workers with PAL, Lane Sanson, Vanessa's and Anthill drafted a letter, signed it and dropped it off at the porch where the cat was found, explaining the cat's living situation. Measures have been taken to ensure he won't disappear again. He's getting a new engraved collar that reads "Carytown's Cat since 1998." And, Adams adds, "We'll be taking him in every night." — Brandon Walters

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