Willow is a beautiful calico cat. Willow’s home is in Boulder, CO. Five years ago Willow disappeared from her home … And was recently discovered in New York City!
Two factors played a role in Willow’s fortunate recovery: 1) she had an implanted chip, and 2) a kind person had the foresight to bring her to a shelter where her chip was scanned.
Now Willow is waiting on a vet check then she will be on an airplane back home.
This is one story that had a strange but happy ending. However, most cats that disappear are not so lucky. Even Willow’s owners thought she had been eaten by a coyote. Between wild animals, cars, people and more, danger abounds for cats outside.
A cat outside is at ten times the risk of death or injury than an indoor cat, quotes “House Cat, How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Sane & Sound.” Indoor cats live an average lifespan of 15-20 years as opposed to an outdoor cat’s lifespan average of 5-10 years. Yes, I have known (and even owned one) cats that have lived past age 15 that were outside half their lives, but the averages tell us that this is the exception rather than the rule.
My first cat, Muffet, died when I was 4 years old, hit by a car here in Vernon, Connecticut. Yet, back then, keeping cats indoors all the time was unheard of! Today, life even in this small town has become extraordinarily busy and roaming cats face more dangers than ever.
Shelter workers and those individuals who handle and work with stray, abandoned and ill cats know firsthand the dangers that are posed to an outdoor cat. Most breeders and shelters allow their cats to leave their facility only under the strict condition the cat remains indoors. Even Humane adoption centers are requiring those they adopt cats to, to keep them indoors only.
We can’t know what adventures Willow had in making it to New York City, but it’s suspected she was stolen, another danger to outdoor cats. (Do you know that research labs will use pet cats that have been stolen, performing horrible torturous experiements on them? It’s true. Many will take shelter cats destined to be euthanized, but pet cats have been stolen and have ended up one way or another in labs or even in shelters.)
Willow’s owners were smart to microchip her, as most shelters do microchip testing on all new cats that come in. Otherwise, she might have wound up as one of the millions of statistics euthanized each year. But, keeping her as an indoor cat would have prevented her trip from occurring in the first place.