When a person’s cat goes missing, it can cause them a significant amount of distress. They are likely to devote a lot of time and energy to finding their pet and making sure they return home safely. In most cases, an owner will trawl the local streets looking for their pet and search in neighbors’ sheds. They may also put up posters or use social media to assist their search. However, cats sometimes turn up in the most unexpected cases, such as the cat that turned up in a neighbor’s chimney almost a month after it went missing.
Piper is an obese tuxedo cat that lives with her owner, Caitlyn Wertenberger, in Union, Washington. In February 2021, Piper went missing from her home. It is likely that Wertenberger was not too distressed at first, as cats often go missing for a couple of hours. However, her concern grew when Piper did not return. Wertenberger then began to search for her beloved cat, starting in the local neighborhood. When she had no luck and still did not find Piper, she began to search in the surrounding area, all to no avail. As her concerns for the health and safety of her missing cat grew, Wertenberger ranked up her search efforts. She began to put up posters around her neighborhood, post flyers through her neighbors’ doors, and used social media in the hope that someone would find Piper. Sadly, none of these methods worked. As 28 days passed and there was still no sign of her precious pet, Wertenberger began to lose hope that she and Piper would ever be reunited. However, the story took an unexpected turn at this point.
The Unexpected Discovery of Piper
According to Newsweek, a nearby house was vacant when the search for Piper began, but a couple then moved into the property. For the first week they were living in the house, they kept hearing what sounded like a meowing sound coming from the walls. The couple repeatedly walked around the house looking for the source but were unable to identify where the meowing was coming from, and they were unsure what they should do next. They had heard about Piper’s disappearance and decided to get in touch to invite her round so that she could investigate the meowing herself. It was a glimmer of hope for Wertenberger in what had seemed like a hopeless situation, and she went straight round to the formerly vacant property to investigate. Wertenberger did not want to get her hopes up too much in case it was not Piper, but it was still worth checking out the situation.
On arriving at the house, Wertenberger could also hear the meowing but was uncertain of the source. She thought that the noise sounded like it was coming from inside the chimney. However, she thought that it was unlikely that this was possible. Knowing that Piper is overweight, she did not believe that it was possible for her cat to fit into a narrow space, such as the inside of the chimney. However, on further investigation, it turned out that the noise was coming from inside the chimney, and they discovered that Piper had become lodged due to her weight. Thankfully, they were able to free the stricken cat.
A Check-Up for Piper
Although it is not known exactly how long Piper was lodged in the chimney, it was 28 days since she had gone missing by the time she was discovered and rescued. Due to the length of her disappearance and uncertainty over how long she had been trapped, Wertenberger was concerned about Piper’s health following the ordeal. Therefore, she took Piper straight to the vets. Piper was given a full examination by the veterinarian and was diagnosed as suffering from dehydration. He also said that Piper had lost seven pounds during the time she was missing. It was reported that Piper weighed a whopping 19-pounds, which is significantly overweight for a cat. However, it is not clear if 19-pounds was Piper’s weight before she became stuck in the chimney or if that is what she weighed after becoming dehydrated during her disappearance. Other than her weight loss and dehydration, Piper was in surprisingly good health and was well enough to return home, which was excellent news for Wertenberger, who had begun to believe that she would not see her cat again.
Views on Piper’s Disappearance
Yakima Humane Society provides animal rescue services in the area in which Wertenberger and Piper live. When they became aware of the unusual circumstances of Piper’s disappearance and rescue, a representative gave their views on the situation. They said that while it was not uncommon for a cat to go missing for that length of time, the circumstances were unusual. The representative went on to say that they were aware of many situations where cats had been missing for much longer. One example of such a case was the story of a cat who had been missing for over a year before being discovered close to home. Staff at a rescue shelter in New Jersey were caring for an orange and white tabby which they had called Roscoe.
It is a standard procedure to scan cats and dogs for microchips when they arrive in a shelter, as the discovery of a microchip can reunite the animal with its owner quickly. When the staff scanned Roscoe, they discovered that his real name was Alexander, and his address was local. While that is not unusual, the staff were shocked when they contacted Alexander’s family. His family said that he had been missing for more than a year, so they may have given up hope of being reunited with Alexander. What is more surprising was that the cat was found so close to home, as the cat’s owners live only a few miles from the rescue shelter.