A Cat’s Great Escape Ends in House Arrest

There were several variables that had to come together to bring one little black cat home to his owners. A Willow Glen family got to reunite with their furry feline and escape artist, Jake, a 10-year-old black house cat who disappeared on Memorial Day. That was the last day that Jake’s owner, Martha Nino saw Jake, according to her story told during an interview.

When Jake didn’t show up home the day after Memorial Day, Nino got onto the website, Nextdoor just to check it out. She decided to put up a post and she quickly started getting encouraging comments and even news of possible sightings. Unfortunately, none of the first tips to Jake panned out. Nino explained how her family had gotten Jake nine years earlier and were aware of the warning that came with him that he was an escape artist, but it didn’t have any affect on them; they took him home anyway.

Nino described how he had escaped about five years earlier and they started to think he was meant to be an outdoor cat, so they let him be, and sure enough, every night, according to her, he came home. But this time, on Memorial Day eve, he did not return. That’s when she posted on Nextdoor about her missing Jake. One person suggested leaving his litterbox outside, stating they can smell it for up to a couple of miles, so Nino did. She stuck his litter outside, and her husband would go out in the eve, calling Jake’s name, she said he yelled like a “crazy person.” They checked local shelters too, all the way to Monterey, posted fliers all around, and neighbors went on searches for Jake. But nothing revealed any sign of the black escape artist cat.

After nearly five weeks, the family started to lose hope of ever finding Jake until about two weeks ago they got a tip that Jake was in-fact in the area and was hiding out just a few blocks away. Nino’s husband’s phone started lighting up with calls in the middle of the night one night, but without much thought, they didn’t check the calls until the next morning and got the call from Vivian Ceaser who only lived three blocks away. She had spotted Jake sitting in her backyard the night before. By luck Ceaser had just joined the Nextdoor site a day or so prior to seeing him, and she explained she couldn’t take him due to already having several pets herself. Instead, another neighbor, Rachel Daniels, said she would keep him and try to find his owners.

Early that morning Nino texted Daniels, got her address, and ran straight over to her home to retrieve their Jake. When they got there, Nino says that Jake had lost a lot of weight, about 1/3 of his body weight and had lost his tag and collar, but regardless, she knew right away it was Jake. Nino and her husband took him home where he slept about 24 hours. Probably exhausted from all he’d been through, although they don’t know what it could have been, seeing that he was found just blocks away. They find it hard to believe he was that close and just didn’t come home. It is more probable to them, that someone had had him, because he is such a loveable cat, he’d go up to anyone. But she believes that due to his ability to easily escape, he more than likely had just gotten away. Whatever it was, Nino wishes he could talk and tell them about his journey.

Nino is not only thankful to have her Jake back, but she says that the experience and the Nextdoor site, are responsible for helping bring many people together – neighbors who didn’t know each other, do now. And neighbors who did know each other prior, are closer now. She is thankful to all her cool neighbors, and the Nextdoor site.

Daniels, who had kept Jake until Nino and her husband came to get him, came by the next day to check on Jake. She felt bad knowing he was in such distress. Jake instantly recognized her and greeted her. The two even had their photo taken together.

Today, Jake is now and indoor cat. He is on house arrest and will no longer be allowed outside, Nino says they have already decided that.


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