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Centretown News Online
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Cat rescue 'taught me to have faith in people'
Thursday, 30 September 2010
By Jeff Hamilton
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A local man had his prayers answered and his faith in people reaffirmed after a recent search for his beloved cat came to a happy ending.

Bill First, a resident of Centretown for more than 20 years, was reunited with his cat, Scarlet, four days after she suddenly disappeared.

“I knew something was wrong,” he commented, “when Scarlet didn’t come home the next morning after being out the night before.”

Deciding to act quickly, First began to do everything he could to get his cat back. He called the Ottawa Citizen and made a missing claim and he put up posters in coffee shops and on lamp posts.

He even arranged a search party in the neighbourhood.

“We were out every day looking for Scarlet,” says next door neighbour and fellow cat-lover, Shelley Baumgarten.

But after four days, still no luck.

“My original feeling was despair,” says First. “She could have been hurt, or hit by a car.”

Then the phone rang.

It was the voice of a young woman, calling from an unidentifiable number, saying she had found a cat that matched the description on a “LOST” poster she saw from a bus stop on Elgin Street.

They both wanted to meet immediately.

First said he didn’t know what to expect about the meeting with his cat’s potential saviour. All he knew was that she had his little ginger and white Tabby friend.

They agreed to meet at the St.John’s Anglican Church, at the corner of Somerset West and Elgin streets, the same place where she had found Scarlet.

Upon his arrival, he was surprised to see a young girl standing outside the church doors.

“She was a woman in her early 20’s,” he says. “I would have expected that level of responsible behaviour from someone a bit older.”

Apart from her age, it was her kind soul that really surprised him, First says.

“She was new to the city, and didn’t have a job yet,” he said. “But she still did everything she could to make sure my cat was safe.”

After the initial greeting, she explained how a man getting out of a car had dropped the cat off on the church lawn. She then picked up the cat, sneaked it on to a bus, and took it to her home in Vanier. Once there, she got a litter box and cat food to make sure it was cared for.

“When it comes to animals I think a majority of people would show they care,” he says “I’m happy to know I was right.”

Hearing her story also confirmed First’s faith in people.

“It has taught me to have faith in people because when you need their help, they’ll be there for you.”

Scarlet is one of six cats that First and his partner, Andre, care for and they are both happy to have their family whole once again.

“Our cats are very important to us and we couldn’t be happier to have Scarlet back."

Last Updated ( Friday, 15 October 2010 )
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