Woman’s Car and Cat Stolen: Here’s How She Got Them Back

A cat owner that truly loves their pet and sees it as a member of their family will do almost anything to keep their cat safe from harm. In some cases, it involves the cat owner taking extreme action or thinking outside the box. Both apply to a cat owner who had her car stolen while her cat was inside, and she took extraordinary measures to make sure her cat was returned home safely where she belonged. According to The Washington Post, Jennifer Carl, 33, was driving along in her Jeep Cherokee rental car in January 2020, and her cat Willow had come along for the ride. She was returning to her home in Washington D.C. after she and Willow had visited her mother in New Jersey. Jennifer’s mother was in remission after fighting cancer, so it had been an important and emotional visit. Prior to visiting her mother, Jennifer had to take a Coronavirus test to make sure it was safe for her to visit. When she got the all-clear, she was excited to take the trip. Jennifer decided to take along Willow, a 19-pound Calico. After enjoying the visit, Jennifer and Willow began their journey home.

How the Car and Cat Were Stolen

During the trip home, Jennifer needed to use the bathroom, so she pulled into a gas station along the New Jersey Speedway for a quick comfort break. She quickly put on her protective mask, left the Jeep Cherokee running, and pressed her key fob to lock the doors before running into the restroom. Unfortunately, the doors did not lock, and it is that that led to the shock that followed. After using the restroom at the gas station, Jennifer stepped outside and was horrified to see that her car was gone. Initially, she thought that she was confused and had maybe come out of the bathroom on a different side. However, she soon realized that it was no mistake and that her Jeep Cherokee had gone. Worse than that, Willow was still inside the stolen car. When Jennifer realized that not only was her rental car stolen but that her beloved cat had also gone, it threw her into a total panic. She realized that she had also left many of her personal belongings in the car, including her phone, her clothes, and her computer. Jennifer’s panic led to her screaming loudly on the gas station forecourt.

Reporting the Incident

As soon as she realized that her car, belongings, and cat had gone, Jennifer telephoned the police to report the incident. Although the police were helpful and took the situation seriously, Jennifer was left in a predicament as she was miles from home with no car. Fortunately, some good Samaritans were willing to take her back to her mother’s house in New Jersey while she worked out what to do next. While she stayed with her mother, Jennifer began trying to piece her life back together. She got herself another car, replaced her clothes, and bought herself a new phone and computer.

What About Willow?

While replacing her personal belongings was easy, it was much more difficult for Jennifer not to know what had happened to her cat. She first got Willow after finding her stuck in a tree in Jersey City 11 years earlier, and the two had been inseparable ever since. Immediately after the car theft, Jennifer felt helpless, but that soon changed. Unwilling to accept that her cat was gone forever, Jennifer decided that she needed to take action. The first step was to hire a pet finder, and she came across Nancy Mello, 39, who lives in Mystic, Connecticut. Mello is a psychic who can connect with animals, and she has a lot of experience in helping people find their missing pets. Her initial experience of animals stems from growing up on a Californian farm. Since discovering her ability to read animals, Mello has cut down on her work finding out if people’s partners are having affairs and connecting with people’s dead relatives to focus more on finding pets.

Due to her phenomenal success rate, which she says is between 65 and 75 percent, she has had pet owners from across the globe asking for her help. She has helped the owners of Blinky the cat in Dubai, the owner of a mini-mule from Upstate New York, along with many people with missing dogs. In addition to using her clairvoyant talents, Mello also supports people in finding their pets in practical ways. Mello advised Jennifer to use social media as a method of raising awareness about Willow, with a focus on the New Jersey area. So, Jennifer decided to post about her cat on her Facebook page, and people soon began sharing the post. Jennifer also added posts to various other social media platforms, TikTok, and on lost pet pages. Soon, the story was picked up by local newspapers and by NBC. The social media, newspaper, and television coverage led to many people volunteering to help by getting involved in the search or by putting up fliers. At first, any attempts to find Willow were unsuccessful.

Finding Willow

Just five days after the car theft, the Jeep Cherokee was found abandoned close to Newark. However, there was no sign of Willow or even her cat carrier. The discovery of the car without Willow made Jennifer think that she might not see Willow again, but she refused to give up hope. Then, someone living close to where the vehicle was abandoned contacted the police to say they had found some of Jennifer’s belongings dumped in their yard, along with Willow’s cat carrier. Finding the bright pink cat carrier gave Mello a way to connect with Willow, and she immediately picked up that the cat was still alive, but she was in a house somewhere terrified. According to Mello, the cat told her that she was being a diet of dry food, which she was not enjoying as she usually ate fresh fish. Mello communicated with the cat that she needed to get outside the house so that Jennifer could find her.

A group of volunteers helped Jennifer to bait a trap with Willow’s favorite food, salmon and sardines. They set up the trap in the neighborhood where the cat carrier was found, but then they could only hope that the trap would work. Miraculously, just an hour later, Willow was seen nearby by a neighbor. Willow darted into the crawlspace under the house, so Jennifer tried to tempt her out by leaving her some salmon. When Willow recognized Jennifer’s smell, she came to her loving owner, and the pair were finally reunited. Although there has not yet been an arrest for the car theft, Jennifer is just glad that she has Willow back home with her where she belongs. Police continue to investigate the case.

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