Ladies and gentlemen….drum roll, please! The Spectrum News Buffalo EVERYDAY HERO for Thursday, December 17, 2020:
the SPCA’s own
Click on the image below to see this spotlight on a volunteer who dedicates her life to making our animals’ lives better! THANK YOU, CARY!
Tommy the Cat: Reunited for Christmas! One Stray Cat’s Buffalo-to-North Carolina Journey Home for the Holidays
December 10, 2020 By: SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
See Tommy’s video here >>
“Reunited for Christmas” sounds like a favorite holiday movie with a fantasy ending. For Tommy the cat, however, this holiday fantasy ending was real!
Tommy, a sweet kitten, was adopted at the SPCA Serving Erie County by then-Buffalo resident Frances Grinage back in June of 2018. As part of his adoption, Tommy was microchipped at the SPCA. Frances says he fit right into her Buffalo home, where he lived with other four-footed friends…among them, dogs CoCo and Baby.
Frances tells us that every night, Tommy, CoCo, and Baby contentedly shared her bed for their nightly slumber, and that every morning, Tommy would wake her up with a “kiss” on the nose.
In August of 2020, Frances found herself on the move to North Carolina. Tommy, however, had other plans; as Frances was packing up the car to leave, Tommy escaped. Frances said she searched high and low and wanted to remain in Buffalo until she found Tommy, but finally had to begin her road trip without her beloved boy.
Jump ahead to earlier this December week. A good Samaritan who found a very sweet, stray cat arrived at the SPCA to surrender the kitty. It turns out this sweet cat was microchipped…and that chip identified Tommy’s owner as Frances.
When Frances received the call that Tommy had been found (approximately one mile from where Frances had lived!), she said she was elated! “I couldn’t believe it!” said Frances. “I felt like my heart was going to explode! All I wanted for Christmas was to have my Tommy back.”
The SPCA team went to work, and on Wednesday, December 9 (coincidentally during the annual SPCA T-Mobile Radiothon with Newsradio 930 WBEN and Star 102.5 FM Radio!), with a little help from the SPCA’s Cary Munschauer, Tommy packed his bags and headed to the Buffalo airport for his 1:30 p.m. flight to North Carolina!
As pictured here, Tommy patiently awaited his departure at the airport…seems he had a little bit to say when it was slightly delayed…but Tommy’s flight was closely monitored and it appeared to be a smooth trip home.
Frances contacted us early this morning to say that Tommy arrived safely home, and was resting after his travels! “He cried a lot at first, and was extremely nervous. He finally settled down around 8 p.m.”
Frances added that a 4 1/2-month break apparently did nothing to change Tommy’s routine! Right away, Frances tells us, “…he did recognize me and also CoCo and Baby! We all slept together again! It felt like old times.”
Even during a year as difficult as 2020, Tommy’s tale proves that miracles really do happen, especially in the City of Good Neighbors. An entire community came together to help this cat reunite with his loving mom and family.
“I’m truly happy he’s home,” says Frances. “Thank you and the entire staff of the SPCA for my early Christmas gift!”
Kitty Crew Member Returned to Tall Ship After Brief Port of Call in Buffalo
July 8, 2019 By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
All hands were on deck at the the SPCA Serving Erie County’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca site late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
When a good Samaritan brought a stray kitty to the SPCA at approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, she was certain the cat had an owner somewhere. After all, the young cat was wearing a harness, and her ID tag said Fiji.
To ensure the four-legged visitor found on Erie Street in Buffalo didn’t require critical veterinary care, SPCA Veterinary Technician Lana Bilger immediately examined the friendly feline, who appeared unharmed, unhurt, and in excellent condition. But after scanning the cat, the SPCA crew realized she clearly had no microchip identification, and further examination of the ID tag on the cat’s harness raised questions; on the back of that tag, Lana noticed the words ‘Picton Castle.’
Unaware of whether this was the name of the cat’s owner, the name of the cat’s hometown, or even, possibly, the name of the cat, SPCA representatives did a quick internet search of the words “Fiji,” “Picton Castle,” and “cat”…and within seconds, it became clear that this cat was a crew member of one of the tall ships, the Picton Castle, currently visiting Buffalo, NY!
Understanding that the ship’s departure was scheduled for the weekend, Lana and SPCA Veterinary Assistant Chelsea knew that it was critical a reunion happen in a short period of time. SPCA Cruelty Investigations Officer Jay Ivory made a call to the ship’s headquarters in Nova Scotia at approximately 12 a.m. EST Saturday morning, Lana sent an email to the address provided on the ship’s website, Fiji was set up in her own personal suite with refreshments and blankets, and the wait began.
By Saturday afternoon, SPCA reps still had not heard back from the Picton Castle and started to create an alternate plan, when SPCA volunteer and AdvoCAT Cary Munschauer heard the cat’s tale and remembered that another SPCA volunteer, Donna Camp, was also volunteering to work the Tall Ships Port of Call: Buffalo.
As a volunteer, Donna was given a list of ship contact names and personal phone numbers. One call from the SPCA to one of those numbers led to three response calls from ship representatives in less than thirty minutes!
Fiji was, indeed, the ship’s four-year-old cat, has traveled the world twice over, and often disembarks the Picton Castle to explore the locations being visited before heading back to the ship when the engines start.
By the time the SPCA was contacted, Picton Castle crew members were already on their way to the West Seneca shelter to retrieve their little stowaway (who was actually adopted onto the ship at six weeks of age in 2014, during a Fiji port of call).
Fiji was microchipped by the SPCA. Staff members also worked with crew members on identification information and contact numbers to ensure that, should Fiji’s visit to a future port of call be extended, she will always be returned before the ship shoves off!
An ardent “Ahoy” goes out to the SPCA’s Lana, Chelsea, Cary, Donna, Jay, along with Hilary Lemperle, Aaron Kandefer, and visiting Lincoln Memorial University veterinary student Marissa, who made sure Fiji was cared for, cuddled, properly identified, and prepped for her vessel’s next voyage!