PORT ANGELES — Marie Isabel is one lucky cat, and her owner, Dorothy Hopkins is one happy lady.
Marie Isabel is back home after a five-month sojourn that ended in a veterinarian’s office Wednesday.
When client Robin Popinski brought a stray cat to Dr. Carmen Czachor at Family Veterinary Clinic to be neutered, Czachor had two surprises: the cat was not male, and a scan for a microchip showed that it belonged to another client at the clinic, who had reported the cat missing in October.
“It was an improbable finding,” Czachor said.
“I was screaming, I was so excited,” Hopkins said.
Popinski said she lived up Lake Dawn Road, and that the cat had been hanging around for months.
Hopkins lives on Park Street near the Olympic National Park Headquarters, a good 5 miles away.
Popinski had taken to feeding “him” and even gave the cat a name — Oscar Nelson, named after the first homesteader at Lake Dawn.
“I first saw him on the park road, and I thought that was odd,” she said.
Before long, “Oscar” was living under their cabin, where they fed the cat regularly through the winter, even providing for its care when they went on vacation.
Two weeks ago, she was finally able to pet the cat, and Wednesday was able to capture it for its trip to the vet.
Czachor said Popinski was concerned that the cat might have been dumped off by its owner, but after talking to Hopkins, she was assured she was the rightful, and grateful, owner.
“Dotty was crying, she was ecstatic,” Popinski said. “I’m so happy for them.”
Hopkins knows exactly when Marie Isabel disappeared — Oct. 11. She let her outside at 6 p.m., and she didn’t return.
“Usually she would be waiting by the gate, but she wasn’t,” Hopkins said. “When she didn’t show up, I just had a feeling she was gone.”
Marie Isabel was a birthday gift from her daughter, who brought the 3-month-old kitten, an orange and white fluffball, from San Diego.
She was just 10 months old when she disappeared.
Hopkins put up fliers, notified local veterinarians, took out a lost pet ad, called the radio station and checked the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society based in Port Angeles repeatedly.
But Marie Isabelle didn’t come home, and less than a month ago Hopkins packed up the cat toys and took them to Goodwill.
“They were a painful reminder,” she said.
Now she will have to buy new toys, as Marie Isabel is home, and happily taking up where she left off.
“I got her home and opened the crate and she acted like she had never been gone,” Hopkins said. “I’m so grateful to Robin, and to Dr. Czochar for scanning her [for a microchip].”
Czochar said this is a good reminder that people should microchip their pets, and make sure they are properly registered and up to date with current contact information.
________Features Editor Marcie Miller can be reached at 360-417-3550 or [email protected]