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Joyful Reunion As Cat Lost For 3 Weeks in Snowstorms Returns Home

After weeks of searching, a cat that went missing in Greeport has found her way home to Astoria.

Photo Credit: Kathie Cibulski
Photo Credit: Kathie Cibulski
If cats have nine lives, Scarlett, a black cat who was found Thursday after having been missing for almost three weeks following a car accident on the North Ferry in Greenport, must be blessed with a few extra.

Scarlett was reunited with her owner Sandra Quiles on Thursday night, and there were tears of joy all around as the cat nestled in her arms, home at last.

On Friday, Quiles said Scarlett, who lost about five pounds during her ordeal, was happy to be back home, sleeping most of the day and eating well. "I am sure she will be her normal, healthy weight soon," she said.

Quiles sent a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers who came together in an outpouring of support, searching the streets tirelessly despite bitter cold and snowstorms. 

"I will never forget this wonderful group of people who I have never met, strangers, who came together to help me, a stranger from Astoria. It is awesome to see in this day and age that people still care."

"My sister is ecstatic with the reunion of her sweet Scarlett," Marlene Quiles said Thursday. "We are all thrilled to know that she's back home alive and safe thanks to the caring community of Greenport. I have never experienced such unity before and am thrilled to know that there is such compassion in this world."

The story of Scarlett's rescue is a carefully woven series of events that led the lost cat back to her warm home; the tale includes a dedicated knot of volunteers, phone calls and emails, and even a big orange cat who took the lost feline under his proverbial wing, leading her to his cat "shelter," where Scarlett was found.

One woman, a volunteer from SAVES, a cat rescue organization on the North Fork, who first heard Scarlett meow and led other volunteers to the lost cat, said the orange cat is the true "hero" in the tale.

Some who had spotted Scarlett told those searching that the four-footed feline had hoofed it to the right, toward Mitchell Park, after running off the ferry.

After being spotted in various places around the village, including Noah's restaurant and Claudio's, the cat ended up sharing the orange cat's shelter, the volunteer said. 

Touched by the story of her cat's champion, Quiles offered to adopt the orange tomcat. But the "country boy" would not adapt to life in Astoria, all agreed.

Shelter Island resident Debbie Spotteck, a woman who helps to locate, spay and neuter stray cats, was there when Scarlett was found, and was the first to pick her up again after the cat's long odyssey.

"It was overwhelming," she said. 

Spotteck described the winding road that led to Scarlett, including long hours spent in the snow and cold, searching areas of Greenport around the ferry, including the Blue Canoe, an eatery located near the boardwalk in the village.

"We were like real private eyes," she said. At one point, she said, they saw paw prints in the snow.

Despite the challenges of searching in snow and slush, with water pouring off snow-laden roofs and under decks, Spotteck said, "I just couldn't give up. I just was not about to give up on this mission."

And no matter what, Spotteck said, those searching kept the faith. "The power of prayer is really powerful," she said. 

On the day Scarlett was found, Spotteck said she heard a meow and lifted a broken piece of plywood. "It was just absolutely unbelievable," she said, crying. "Very emotional. I looked at the sky and I said, 'Thank you, God.'"

At the reunion Thursday night, volunteers banded together to watch Scarlett head home.

When her owner appeared,  Spotteck said, "Scarlett leaped into her arms. It was beyond words."

Added Joan Vecsey, the Shelter Island woman who also searched diligently for Scarlett, "The happy endings are what keep feeding us who do rescues on a daily basis. This moment takes away a lot of hurt. We simply prayed and prayed that God would give us the wisdom to find this cat."

Quiles, the cat's heartbroken owner was crying joyfully when she saw her cat, noting her dramatic weight loss.

"It was like putting a puzzle together," Vecsey said, of searching for Scarlett. 
"Scarlet found herself a nice, surrounded area."

The cat, however, is no longer the shy feline that got lost. "She's bold. She picked up some swagger while she was out," Vecsey laughed. "It's as if she's saying, 'I've been on the streets of Greenport."

Volunteer Kathie Cibulski of Cutchogue said she was overjoyed that the missing cat had been found. "I am just so happy that after spending so many hours in the cold wind and rain searching for Scarlett, she is finally home." Cibulski, who was there when Quiles arrived, said, "I had to see them reunite and meet the missing Scarlett that I searched and called out for, for days and evenings. I kept telling Sandy, 'We are not giving up. She will be okay.' Cats are amazing."


Jill Longisland February 23, 2014 at 02:55 PM
Gosh Denise, that was quite nasty. I am just a person who is tired of having to clean up after the neighbors' cats- it is destructive to my property and a nuisance and expense to me. I have had cats, one of which was an outdoor rescued cat and I just kept him inside and he did very well. None of the behavior described by Dan, and I knew he was safe from predators and cars and disease. My dog has a nasty habit of eating cat poop, which has incurred a large vet bill for me when she got sick, most likely from the poop. I really believe anyone who loves their pets, however they obtained them, should keep them safe and have consideration for other people. That consideration makes for wonderful neighborly relations. Being nasty and argumentative on top of being inconsiderate, does not. Thanks dan for your kinder, more explanatory response, but I still feel that people need to protect their animals and consider the needs of their neighbors. The neighbor I describe has a 6 foot fenced in back yard and could easily open the back door and let his cat do its poop in his own yard. He chooses to cause a problem for his neighbors, including myself.
SUSAN ELLEN JASKULEK February 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM
HAPPY-ENDING,ANIMAL VOLUNTEERS ARE CARING AND THOUGHTFUL.I VOLUNTEER WITH LAST HOPE. KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS OR ON A LEASH. ORANGE CAT DESERVES A REWARD. ELLES MOM
Patch adams February 25, 2014 at 01:13 AM
The orange cat needs a home too, shame on scrubport
Mary H February 27, 2014 at 11:41 AM
This is the best story EVER!!!!! Thank you to all VOLUNTEERS! You are the best people on Earth!!!

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