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It has been 17 months since Ashleigh Lynn’s cat Pancake went missing.
The 20-year-old Bailey woman figured her splotchy gray, yellow and white cat was gone for good.
She even feared Pancake might have been breakfast for a coyote.
Pancake went missing in October 2017 while Lynn was on vacation at the beach.
Lynn is not really sure how Pancake got out of her parents’ house on Roseheath Road north of Bailey.
“She was an inside cat, and she was really shy,” Lynn said. “She typically stayed in my room, but she had started to come out of her shell, and I think she got out of the house somehow, but we’re not exactly sure how.”
At the time she sent missing, Pancake had no collar. She had been scheduled to get a microchip and be spayed two weeks after she strayed from the home.
“We looked all over the house,” Lynn said. “She tended to hide under furniture a lot, and she wouldn’t come out except for anyone but me, so I had to look for her. I couldn’t find her. I looked outside. I called her, and she never came. I looked under the house. I posted online about her. I was really worried about her because I knew she wouldn’t really come up to other people.”
LOVE AND CARE
The months slipped by, and Pancake never showed.
Lynn’s regular job is at PetSmart in Wilson, and she was familiar with the group Purrfect Hearts Cat Rescue.
The organization was founded by Alice Pierce of Wilson.
“My family has been rescuing for about 25 years, but we became a nonprofit last March,” Pierce said.
The group’s mission is to help rescued cats be adopted into permanent homes and to care for homeless cats until they can be placed into good homes.
“We probably adopt out an average of 10 to 25 per month,” Pierce said. “The most we have ever had was 101.”
Several months ago, Lynn noticed a photograph circulated by the group and thought it was Pancake.
“Ashleigh had actually contacted me last year. We had another cat she thought looked like her cat, and we decided it wasn’t hers because it was found in Wilson,” Pierce said.
Then, last week, there was another cat that fit Pancake’s description.
Lynn has a friend on Facebook who is also friends with Pierce.
“She had posted about a cat that had had kittens, and so I commented, ‘Oh, that looks a lot like my cat.’ Alice knew I had been missing my cat and was still hopeful to find her, so she said that it was found in Bailey and I live in Bailey, so I was like, ‘Can I come and see it?” Lynn said.
Lynn didn’t want to get her hopes up too high because it had been so long.
Pierce brought the cat to PetSmart the next day, which was the day before Lynn’s birthday.
“I went into it a little hesitant whether it was her or not, but as soon as she came out of the carrier I knew it was her,” Lynn said. “I know what my cat looks like and how she acts and all of that. As soon as she sat on the ground, I knew it was her. I was so happy. I am so excited. I cried when I realized it was her.”
The next day, March 5, Lynn’s birthday, Pierce brought Pancake and three little kittens to Lynn’s home.
“She wasn’t really purring or anything when I went to go see her at PetSmart, but as soon as she set foot in my room, which is where she spent most of her time before she went missing, she was purring and meowing and rolling on the bed,” Lynn said. “She knew immediately where she was. She knew where she was as soon as she came in.”
Lynn said the reunion was “awesome.”
“It was the best birthday present I could have got,” Lynn said. “I ended up staying home all day because I was reunited with my cat and the kittens. Woo! So, now I’m a grandma.”
Lynn named the kittens Carrot, Cookie and Storm.
‘PRETTY MUCH A MIRACLE’
Pierce said it’s rare for a cat to be reunited with an owner after such a long time.
“It’s pretty much a miracle, I thought, especially with her being missing for 17 months. I have never heard of it happening. I have never had it happen before,” Pierce said. “But with Pancake, it was just unusual. She was only six minutes away from Ashleigh’s home. That’s where she was found. Some neighbors were actually feeding the cat. They had felt sorry for it.”
But then the family moved, and Pancake was forced for fend for herself.
Another neighbor who had adopted through Purrfect Hearts before called Pierce to report that a cat had kittens in their garage. Pierce responded and scooped up the new mother and her three children.
Carrot is an orange tabby, Cookie is black and white and Storm is all gray.
“This Thursday, they will be 4 weeks old,” Pierce said. “I am glad it was a happy ending. As soon as she weans the kittens, she is going to be spayed. That was one of the things I made Ashleigh promise me. All the kittens have already been spoken for, and as soon as they are old enough, they will get spayed and neutered they will go to their new home.”
Lynn said Pancake has been a good mother.
“She is doing great,” Lynn said. “She is a little less shy than she was when I found her, so she is exploring the house a little more. She is taking care of her babies just as well. At night, she sleeps on the bed unless the kittens meow for her. She is constantly coming up to me meowing and things like that.”
Lynn said she’s very appreciative of Purrfect Hearts Cat Rescue.
“Alice is just my best friend now,” Lynn said. “She comes into the store all the time, so I see her often. She’s amazing. What she does is awesome.”
To view cats in need of adoption,visit the Purrfect Hearts Cat Rescue page on Facebook or call Pierce at 252-245-0903.