WEST MILWAUKEE -- The odds of finding a lost cat around Milwaukee aren't great. In fact, the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) took in more than 6600 cats in 2013. But as one Greenfield woman discovered, those odds should never stop you from searching.
"I instantly had a gut feeling that there was something wrong," Lori Pucylowski said.
Pucylowski's fears turned out to be true. October 10, 2011 her declawed cat, Shadow, ran away from home.
"We knocked on doors, we asked people if we could look under their bushes, we purchased some live traps, then we purchased some night vision cameras," Pucylowski said.
Every so often, a camera would record Shadow in the area, but he never stayed put. Lori posted 5,000 fliers throughout her neighborhood and surroundings and started checking daily with MADACC.
"When I would come here they would say, 'Don't give up hope. Don't give up hope.' But, realistically, we were thinking the cat couldn't defend himself, where could he possibly be after a year," Pucylowski said.
One year turned into two. Heartbroken, Lori started looking into adopting a new cat. She found one through MADACC that strangely looked a lot like Shadow. After describing his habits and markings, Lori came in to meet the stray, not certain if it was her cat or not.
"He just snuggled his face in my neck and she started to cry and said, 'He's yours,'" Pucylowski said.
MADACC Executive Director Karen Sparapani knows these reunions are rare, especially with cats. She says if Shadow had been microchipped, he may have been found sooner.
"It's relatively painless, it's not very expensive and indispensable for getting your animal back to you," Sparapani said.
Sparapani recommends getting your pet licensed too. Lori took care of that right away after reuniting with Shadow; a cat she doesn't plan to ever lose again.
"Keep looking, keep checking, keep asking and don't care if people think you're crazy," Pucylowski laughed.
MADACC will run a discounted microchip and vaccine clinic at its headquarters on Burnham Street Saturday, March 29th. You do need to pre-pay to get that discount. For more information, call 414-649-8640.