Oh where, oh where has our kitty cat gone? | AspenTimes.com

Oh where, oh where has our kitty cat gone?

Scott Condon
Cameron Burns Mollie Burns, left, and her sister Zoe with Morrigan the cat, who was found after five months away from the Burns' Basalt home.

Morrigan never knew that cats were only supposed to have nine lives.The 20-year-old grand dame survived getting hit by a car and the usual things a cat encounters during its younger days. More recently, she’s been dealing with kidney failure and deafness.But Morrigan’s a tough old bird. She disappeared from the Basalt home of Cam and Ann Burns in late September and went on a 4 1/2 month adventure that ended Feb. 6.Morrigan was more or less an indoor cat since age 5. She wouldn’t venture past the patio area of the Burns’ Elk Run residence.When they couldn’t find her one September evening, they figured she had slipped into a cozy spot to sleep somewhere indoors and didn’t give it a second thought. “She was so feeble, she couldn’t get far, right?” said Ann Burns.

Wrong. When Morrigan didn’t show up the next day, the Burns family started to worry. They posted signs in Elk Run, visited the cops and called a local kennel, all to no avail.It’s difficult to tell exactly what happened. Ann eventually learned Morrigan was spotted a day or so after she went missing in the parking lot of the El Jebel City Market. She speculated that Morrigan got cold or spooked, found an open window in a vehicle, sought shelter and was eventually and unwittingly delivered to the grocery store.The person who found her took her to R.J. Paddywacks; one of the store’s owners handed her over to Ollie Bode, who provides shelter for lost and abandoned animals at her Alpine Meadow Ranch and Kennel.With the help of the Animal Rescue Foundation, Morrigan was eventually placed in a foster home while fliers were circulated seeking her owner.The Burnses, of course, knew none of this was happening. They prepared their daughters – Zoe, 5, and Mollie, 2 – for the worst. “We read them the book ‘Cat Heaven,'” said Ann.Morrigan usually slept in the same bed as the girls, curled up in kitty bliss between their heads. For months Zoe drew pictures of her beloved cat, with themes like Morrigan leading kittens in heaven.

Morrigan ended up in the foster care of a woman who lives up Four Mile Canyon outside of Glenwood Springs. The search continued for the rightful owner but there was a glitch. The rescuers thought Morrigan – a 5-pound, long-haired fur ball – was a male of approximately 12 years of age.Ann saw one of those fliers through a complete fluke and thought it looked like Morrigan, despite the description. She called the foster parent and learned the adopted kitty was actually a female. Ann inquired about a distinctive white mark on the gray cat’s tummy and – bingo!To say she was ecstatic wouldn’t properly describe the moment. “It was more like a ‘Holy s–t, this is my cat’ moment,” said Ann.She still didn’t totally believe her good fortune until she arrived at the foster house and saw Morrigan’s silhouette in front of a window.”It was just like seeing someone come back from the dead,” she said.

The wayward cat had been shaved because her hair was matted. Otherwise her health seemed to be in the same sorry state as before. Ann couldn’t be happier taking care of her geriatric queen.And what does Morrigan think of being back home? It’s the cat’s meow, of course. “She has been purring since the minute she saw me,” Ann said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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