BONNERS FERRY — A very well-loved and dearly missed cat was found more than 10 miles away from its home last Monday evening, and no one knows how this pet ended up there.
Melonie Carrington, owner of “Pringles,” tried to find reasons why her cat may have ended up so far away after being gone for more than 30 days.
“We live right by the high school and she is a friendly, friendly cat; she might have jumped into someone’s car or someone might have just picked her up,” Carrington said. “She was well taken care of.”
Calls went out to the local animal shelter in hopes that Pringles was there, to no avail.
“The first phone call was to the Second Chance Animal Shelter,” Carrington said, “... Carla posted [that Pringles was missing] on the site and she was very helpful.”
Carla Clark of Second Chance Animal Shelter took the call.
“In any given week there are 10 to 20 animals reported missing in the county. Typically, with cats, they don’t come home,” Clark explained.
Cats have a tough time when missing from their homes. Clark reported that this area is full of predatory animals and that cats often end up as prey.
The Second Chance Animal Shelter staff are committed to getting pets back home. They are a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization and has a thrift store to help financially support their mission of finding lifelong, loving homes for abandoned, lost, homeless and abused animals.
The shelter takes in donations from its thrift store, which is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When people call the shelter looking for a lost pet, Clark said, “we make a log of every missing animal reported. Owners send a picture and we post on Facebook pages; Boundary County Lost and Found Pets, and Selkirk Porch Chat.”
Clark reported that, “dogs usually come home more; dogs have about a 90 percent return rate.” For cats, that number is reduced to only about 30 to 40 percent.
“Any animal found, we try to backtrack to see if anyone has reported them missing. We try everything we can to make sure an animal gets home to their rightful owner,” Clark said.
Carrington and her 11-year-old daughter, Allison Carrington, began to lose hope as time went by with no word on Pringles’ whereabouts.
“Our daughter, Allison, was devastated — it was hard to tell a little girl about her cat going missing,” Melonie said.
“We didn’t have hope, I prayed and hoped she would come home. We just lost our other cat, Sassy, about two weeks prior to Pringles’ being gone,” Carrington explains.
It seems that Pringles hasn’t used up her total of nine lives yet.
Mandi Bateman, whose residence is near the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge, was greeted by a friendly, young cat one evening and decided to take a chance and let her into the house.
“Just a little before midnight on Monday, Sept. 30, I heard the sound of a distressed cat outside. My cats are indoor cats, so I knew it wasn’t one of them,” said Bateman.
“Once I got her inside, I realized that she was in good health and was wearing a flea collar,” Bateman said, “She was so sweet, and I loved her instantly, but knew that such a sweet and well cared for cat must have a home somewhere that missed her.”
Luckily for Pringles and Pringles’ family, Bateman jumped into action by posting a Found Cat post on Facebook and asking that her post be shared throughout the community.
“I was happy to provide her a forever home if her rightful parents weren’t found, as she got along with my dogs and cats right away, and slept the whole night in bed with me, cuddled up next to my face,” Bateman explained.
The very next day, someone contacted one of Bateman’s Facebook friends about her post. Bateman cautiously answered the person saying, “I was leery of someone maybe just wanting a free cat, so I asked them to provide me with a description.”
The person described the cat perfectly, “I knew immediately that this was the same cat. I told my friend to give them my number. Almost instantly the phone rang,” Bateman explained.
Pringles was on her way back to her family and her family was ecstatic to hear she was coming home.
“I was so happy to give Melonie the news that her cat was alive and well,” Bateman said. “We arranged to meet, and even though I was sad to see Pringles go, I was overjoyed to reunite her with her family.”
“I am so glad that I listened to the cries of a lost young cat and went looking for her, and I am even happier that I took the time to look for her home. Reuniting her with her family was the best feeling in the world,” said Bateman.
Second Chance Animal Shelter is located at 6647 Lincoln St., next door to the Second Chance’s Thrift Store. They can be contacted at 208-267-7504.