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Colorado cat missing for years turns up in Manhattan

September 15, 2011 |  7:24 am

 Cat 
Maybe it was Fashion Week that drew Willow the wandering cat to New York City. She is, after all, "Puss 'n' Boots," as the New York Post blared across its front page Thursday. Or perhaps the calico is a tennis fan lured by the U.S. Open finals played here this week. Then again, there are all those rats for which the New York City subway is infamous.

Whatever brought Willow more than 1,500 miles from her Colorado home is a secret only the feline knows, and she wasn't saying. On Wednesday, animal care officials announced her remarkable discovery, thanks to a microchip that has put her back in touch with her long-lost family.

If all goes well, Willow should soon be flown back to be reunited with the Squires of Boulder, Colo., who lost the cat several years ago when their front door was left open during a home renovation project. With all the coyotes in the area, they had pretty much lost hope of ever again seeing Willow, Jamie Squires admitted, according to the Associated Press.

"She was just a little thing, 5-1/2 pounds. We put out the 'Lost Cat' posters and the Craigslist thing, but we actually thought she'd been eaten by coyotes," said Squires.

But Willow had had a microchip implanted under her skin when she was a kitten. When a man found her on a Manhattan street Wednesday and handed her over to an animal shelter, a scan discovered the chip and the Squires' contact information.

Squires and her husband, Chris, were "shocked and astounded" when they got a call telling them their cat had been found, and any worries they had about her condition quickly were alleviated.

"The cat was in very good condition, clean, a little chunky," Richard Gentles, spokesman for New York's Animal Care & Control, said in published reports Wednesday after Calico, an insouciant look on her black-and-brown face, was introduced to the media. "So obviously someone was taking care of her."

Jamie Squires said two of the family's three children, who are ages 17, 10 and 3, remember Willow. As for the microchip, Squires said: "All our pets are microchipped. If I could microchip my kids, I would."

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--Tina Susman in New York

Photo: Willow the cat chills in her temporary home in a New York animal shelter before heading home to her long-lost family in Colorado. Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press

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