By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – One Tupelo family is rejoicing this month at the unexpected return of a pet cat who disappeared more than a year ago while on a backyard outing.
No one but Sylvester knows how he survived his 15-month ordeal or why he traveled more than three miles from home, but his fat belly and shiny fur reveal a time well spent.
It all started one day in October 2010 when the Curl family let Sylvester outside its Hickorywood Drive home to explore, as was custom for the black-and-white feline. But whereas usually he returned soon, this time he never came back. Hours passed, then days, then weeks.
“We looked everywhere, but after a few weeks of not finding him, we thought he was gone forever,” said Billy Curl, whose children shed many tears over the disappearance of the beloved cat.
The Curls had adopted Sylvester as a kitten two years prior after finding him and two siblings stranded in an old barn. The mother cat was dead, and her babies were meowing for food and warmth. The Curls bottle fed the kittens until they were old enough to eat on their own.
Then they gave away one and kept the other two, but one of those two ran off and never returned. Sylvester, however, quickly became part of the family. And his disappearance greatly saddened them.
But Sylvester somehow survived, and on Thanksgiving day he showed up at the house of George Bobo wearing a tattered collar hanging by a thread. It had no tag, so Bobo removed it and hung it on his key rack.
“He wanted to come in the house,” said Bobo, who lives on Racove Drive. “We have a little dog, so we didn’t let him in, but he just stayed around the yard anyway.”
The Bobos fixed up a little box with blankets for Sylvester in the garage and fed him daily. They also tried diligently to find his rightful owner, putting ads in the newspaper and taking him to veterinary clinics to see if he was registered. All to no avail.
Finally, they decided to give the cat to a couple who wanted to adopt him. But when the couple saw the cat’s collar, they noticed an address and phone number written on the inside in faded black marker.
The phone number was disconnected, so the Bobos went to the address. The Curls no longer lived there, but the person who does put them in contact with the Curls.
George Bobo called Billy Curl with the news. Curl said he couldn’t believe it.
“I drove to the house, and there he was sitting in their front yard,” Curl said. “He didn’t recognize me at first, but then I said his name the way I usually did, and he warmed right up to me.”
Sylvester now is back with his family and getting used to having a stable home – and some competition from another cat, Picky, the Curls had adopted during his absence.
He’s also getting used to his new status as a miracle cat.
“It’s just amazing,” Curl said. “Too many things had to happen for him to come back to us. It’s really a miracle.”