Home Depot – Woman’s Heartbreaking Search For Cat Lost Before Christmas
RIVERHEAD, NY — The holiday week has a long and heartbreaking stretch of hours for a woman searching for the stray cat she was hoping to give a home for Christmas.
Birdie went missing just a heartbeat before she was set to head to her forever home, said Carolyn Lowry of Shirley. She’d trapped the cat, who she first found while bird-watching in Calverton, then brought her to Petco for shots and to be dewormed. Birdie — whose name was originally “Mama” before Lowry heard the sweet chirping noises she made — needed to be quarantined for three weeks since Lowry has another cat. But last week, she’d planned to bring Birdie in for her booster shot and then, to her forever home for Christmas. There was even a pile of presents and a fish-shaped stocking waiting.
But the top came off the carrier in the Riverhead Petco parking lot and Birdie escaped.
Lowry has spent the days since in a long, solitary vigil, sitting in the parking lot and driving around for up to 20 hours a day, searching. “This is just breaking my heart,” she said. “I’m so worried about her.”
Although there was a sighting of Birdie in the area behind Home Depot on Christmas Eve, there has been nothing since.
But Lowry won’t give up. “I’ve been there searching more than I have been home,” she said. Physically exhausted, she has to return to her job as a police dispatcher Wednesday night but plans to head back to the parking lot to search for Birdie during every free hour.
The holiday season was colored with sadness. “I didn’t really have a Christmas,” she said. “I’ve basically just been running back and forth, looking for my cat.”
Lowry estimates she’s put about 1,000 miles on her car this week, “just trying to find her.” She’s waited all night, until about 3:30 a.m., hoping for a glimpse, a sign of hope.
“It’s awful because she could be out there, cold and scared. She might be hungry I don’t know if she found another food source. I just miss her,” she said.
On Christmas night, Lowry put out sardines before she left around 3 a.m. and when she came back, half the sardines were eaten, but nothing has been touched since Dec. 26.
Birdie can’t even find her way back to the new home she was meant to have — because she’d never been there. “She doesn’t know my home,” Lowry said. “She only knows where she used to live, in a field.”
Still, Lowry has been putting up signs in Riverhead, hoping someone will spot Birdie.
Her voice filled with tears, Lowry spoke about her missing cat. “She stole my heart. She was so sweet and trusting for a stray. Then I lost her in a parking lot,” she said. “I just want her home. I want her to be warm and have food, and to know she’s loved.”
Birdie became so close to Lowry that she’d run to her and jump in her car; she would also lay at her feet and wait for tummy rubs, she said.
Virginia Scudder of The North Fork Country Kids: Rescue and Preservation Through Pedagogy, has brought people out to search the parking lot and has offered a $200 reward through her organization. Scudder realized after the search had begun that Birdie was one of the cats she, herself, had once helped through her “Trap-Neuter-Return,” or TNR program. “I’m heartbroken,” she said.
Lowry is broken-hearted and wants desperately to find the cat she calls her own. “Every time I had to leave her, I’d watch her in my rearview mirror. She’d sit there, watching me drive away,” she said, her voice catching.
Back at home, Lowry said, the new, matching buffalo plaid stockings still wait, filled with the toys Birdie loves and that she never got to play with on Christmas. “I just want her home tonight,” she said.
If you see Birdie, do not chase her. Stay and call 516-480-8436.