Calleigh the Cat is back on her Arbuckle Road porch, following a two-year absence that’s a mystery to her owners - the Downing family.
“It’s amazing to me,” said Tonya Downing. “We thought she was dead.”
Calleigh wandered onto the Downings’ property in 2010 from parts unknown. To say she was a feral (wild) cat is a misnomer since she seemed pretty tame and immediately adopted Mark, Tonya and their three children.
Calleigh quickly moved from outdoor to indoor status. Most days, she could be found sunning on the Downing front porch.
On July 27, 2012, Calleigh abruptly disappeared.
Family members searched local farm fields to no avail. And Tonya posted the cat’s picture on Facebook, asking for help in locating her missing feline.
Calleigh’s distinctive markings — as well as a protruding front tooth and gimpy front paw — set her apart from other lost cats roaming the Internet. But Tonya received no responses and the Downings assumed their pet had become lunch for a local coyote.
The family rescued Sophie, a boxer-lab mix in September 2012. Sophie provided a measure of comfort to the Downings, but was no replacement for their long, lost Calleigh.
Then on Tuesday, Calleigh reappeared — exactly two years and two days from the time she went missing.
She’s much thinner now, but appears free of fleas or ticks, Tonya observed.
“We’ll take her to a vet to get her checked out,” she added.
Where Calleigh has been for two years is a matter of speculation.
Maybe she was held hostage in a neighboring home or taken and returned by a remorseful “cat-napper,” Tonya wondered.
Regardless, Calleigh was reclining in her favorite porch perch on Wednesday.
“But, she’s staying far away from the dog,” Tonya noted.
Contact Jane Beathard at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.