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Joyful Reunion As Cat Lost For 3 Weeks in Snowstorms Returns Home

After weeks of searching, a cat that went missing in Greeport has found her way home to Astoria.

Photo Credit: Kathie Cibulski
Photo Credit: Kathie Cibulski
If cats have nine lives, Scarlett, a black cat who was found Thursday after having been missing for almost three weeks following a car accident on the North Ferry in Greenport, must be blessed with a few extra.

Scarlett was reunited with her owner Sandra Quiles on Thursday night, and there were tears of joy all around as the cat nestled in her arms, home at last.

On Friday, Quiles said Scarlett, who lost about five pounds during her ordeal, was happy to be back home, sleeping most of the day and eating well. "I am sure she will be her normal, healthy weight soon," she said.

Quiles sent a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers who came together in an outpouring of support, searching the streets tirelessly despite bitter cold and snowstorms. 

"I will never forget this wonderful group of people who I have never met, strangers, who came together to help me, a stranger from Astoria. It is awesome to see in this day and age that people still care."

"My sister is ecstatic with the reunion of her sweet Scarlett," Marlene Quiles said Thursday. "We are all thrilled to know that she's back home alive and safe thanks to the caring community of Greenport. I have never experienced such unity before and am thrilled to know that there is such compassion in this world."

The story of Scarlett's rescue is a carefully woven series of events that led the lost cat back to her warm home; the tale includes a dedicated knot of volunteers, phone calls and emails, and even a big orange cat who took the lost feline under his proverbial wing, leading her to his cat "shelter," where Scarlett was found.

One woman, a volunteer from SAVES, a cat rescue organization on the North Fork, who first heard Scarlett meow and led other volunteers to the lost cat, said the orange cat is the true "hero" in the tale.

Some who had spotted Scarlett told those searching that the four-footed feline had hoofed it to the right, toward Mitchell Park, after running off the ferry.

After being spotted in various places around the village, including Noah's restaurant and Claudio's, the cat ended up sharing the orange cat's shelter, the volunteer said. 

Touched by the story of her cat's champion, Quiles offered to adopt the orange tomcat. But the "country boy" would not adapt to life in Astoria, all agreed.

Shelter Island resident Debbie Spotteck, a woman who helps to locate, spay and neuter stray cats, was there when Scarlett was found, and was the first to pick her up again after the cat's long odyssey.

"It was overwhelming," she said. 

Spotteck described the winding road that led to Scarlett, including long hours spent in the snow and cold, searching areas of Greenport around the ferry, including the Blue Canoe, an eatery located near the boardwalk in the village.

"We were like real private eyes," she said. At one point, she said, they saw paw prints in the snow.

Despite the challenges of searching in snow and slush, with water pouring off snow-laden roofs and under decks, Spotteck said, "I just couldn't give up. I just was not about to give up on this mission."

And no matter what, Spotteck said, those searching kept the faith. "The power of prayer is really powerful," she said. 

On the day Scarlett was found, Spotteck said she heard a meow and lifted a broken piece of plywood. "It was just absolutely unbelievable," she said, crying. "Very emotional. I looked at the sky and I said, 'Thank you, God.'"

At the reunion Thursday night, volunteers banded together to watch Scarlett head home.

When her owner appeared,  Spotteck said, "Scarlett leaped into her arms. It was beyond words."

Added Joan Vecsey, the Shelter Island woman who also searched diligently for Scarlett, "The happy endings are what keep feeding us who do rescues on a daily basis. This moment takes away a lot of hurt. We simply prayed and prayed that God would give us the wisdom to find this cat."

Quiles, the cat's heartbroken owner was crying joyfully when she saw her cat, noting her dramatic weight loss.

"It was like putting a puzzle together," Vecsey said, of searching for Scarlett. 
"Scarlet found herself a nice, surrounded area."

The cat, however, is no longer the shy feline that got lost. "She's bold. She picked up some swagger while she was out," Vecsey laughed. "It's as if she's saying, 'I've been on the streets of Greenport."

Volunteer Kathie Cibulski of Cutchogue said she was overjoyed that the missing cat had been found. "I am just so happy that after spending so many hours in the cold wind and rain searching for Scarlett, she is finally home." Cibulski, who was there when Quiles arrived, said, "I had to see them reunite and meet the missing Scarlett that I searched and called out for, for days and evenings. I kept telling Sandy, 'We are not giving up. She will be okay.' Cats are amazing."


martha grill February 22, 2014 at 09:19 AM
Pawsome story! Too bad there's not a pic of the hero orange kitty!!
Harbor Homestead Co February 22, 2014 at 09:35 AM
Great story, glad they were re united, what happened with the orange cat?
Lisa Finn (Editor) February 22, 2014 at 09:39 AM
Hi all, The orange kitty is fine; he will continue his life as a "bachelor" in Greenport, according to the volunteers who check on him and feed him. I will try in the days ahead to get a photo of him for all of you. :)
Janet Russell February 22, 2014 at 09:58 AM
Love it great people that rescue our babies love when I hear the stories of the success Many Blessings Janet Russell
Suzie February 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Great job! Love these reunions!
Jimmy Bones February 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Not a cat fan.
michael bassett February 22, 2014 at 11:11 AM
michael b just made my day how often do we hear the other side. everyone should feel wonderful love lost and love found. god bless all involved they should also share the love.
cbg February 22, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Great story! Bless all those who helped and especially the orange cat. Just amazing, moved me to tears as I am a big cat lover.
Denise Weber February 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Scarlett is a beautiful cat like my Oreo. My Oreo took off in those brutal days of snow and ice and I thought I would never see her again. She came back on the third day and she was hungry but not soaking wet or freezing. That's when I knew she wasn't alone. She has a friend somewhere and she takes off alot to visit but she always comes home to eat and let me know she s OK
Adele Martines February 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM
So great to hear this! I'm very happy with the outcome...
Vera Pianto February 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Wonderful! Wonderful! Cats care for their own. God Bless that orange cat for helping out. A TRUE HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Archie Bunker February 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Me personally, I hate cats. yes, I speed up!
Barbara February 22, 2014 at 01:13 PM
Hey Archie, If you have nothing nice to say...
Jill Longisland February 22, 2014 at 02:02 PM
Denise - that comment about your cat "takes off" but comes home was very disturbing. Cats belong in the house where they are safe and not out causing a nuisance to the neighbors. I have a neighbor who lets his cat out, watches it run across to my property where it poops on my lawn and in my flower beds. It has destroyed the roots of plants and when I spoke to him, he was beligerent and argumentative. What is it that allows a person to think it is okay to let their cat out to cause problems for others? The Greenport story was fantastic, though.
Archie Bunker February 22, 2014 at 02:04 PM
Jill, that exactly how come people leave out saucers of antifreeze!
Jill Longisland February 22, 2014 at 02:50 PM
Funny archie. Seriously, I don't want to hurt the cat - it doesn't know any better. Maybe the anti freeze would work on the owner! Have a nice day.
Dana February 22, 2014 at 03:01 PM
Wonderful wonderful story..Congratulations to all involved!
Harriet Brown February 22, 2014 at 04:09 PM
It is wonderful to hear good news, for a change.
PJC February 22, 2014 at 05:35 PM
Glad the cat was found but how it go from being a "she" to a "he" and back to a "she" again?
Sandra Quiles February 22, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Yes, Ms. Richards you are correct I will be forever grateful to the volunteers from Shelter Island. Mrs. Joan Vecsey, Ms. Debbie Spotteck, Mr. Richard Lenzer and Mr. Patrick Bastible. Thank you! Thank you! for finding my precious Scarlett.
Griz Strom February 23, 2014 at 01:04 AM
I've been reading this story from day one and it seems like no one is giving thanks to the young lady that started the article on the list cat. If it weren't for her placing an ad in the "Town Square" none of us would've been searching for Scarlet. So I'd like to say thank you to Marlen Quiles it was smart of you to contact the paper and reach our community of Greenport.
DEBBIE O February 23, 2014 at 09:22 AM
I luv this cat story! I loved the way the cat "jumped" into her owners arms! Cats are like angels! :-)
cynthia quigley February 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Nice story!!
Denise Weber February 23, 2014 at 11:12 AM
to Jill Longisland. Unless you know the full story of someones life you shouldn't make nasty comments. My Oreo was a stray cat that I took in. I have a wooden house for her but because I am living with my sister and her daughter who has her own cats that stay inside I can't let a stray in. We live in a wooded area and my cat goes out there to poop not in other peoples yards not even ours. You obviously are not an animal lover but in my neighborhood we are all animal lovers and watch out for each others animals. Sorry that your a cold fish you must be single.
dan February 23, 2014 at 01:31 PM
To the person that posted about antifreeze that is sick and I pray that you never harm an animal. To the person that commented on outdoor cats, please try to understand and have compassion ..many people adopt cats that have been strays. Once they have the nature experience , it is impossible to keep them indoors. They meow at the door all night, they wait at the door for the opportunity to run out, they often exhibit nervous behavior licking themselves bald. Cats are natural predators. On the other hand a cat that has always been an indoor or raised as a kitten can be kept inside. Many outdoor/indoor cat owners face large expenses and worry when their cats become outdoor roamers.! Including a fortune in flea/tick preventative that run into hundreds of dollars. If you have never taken in a homeless cat, this is hard to understand. Most people prefer their cats stay indoors- cats are not easy but many of us have compassion not just for animals, we tend to be compassionate caring neighbors/ humans. Please try to have compassion and not judgement. If the cat is digging in your beds pour cayenne pepper , they usually will avoid . Btw birds, racoons, squirrels , possums poop and pee everywhere too. Use gloves when you garden and find ways to deal with your stress better. I doubt the neighbors cat is the cause of your discontent . Glad Oreo came back home safely. Nice to read about kind caring people.
Griz Strom February 23, 2014 at 02:42 PM
People if you don't have anything positive to say then go meditate!
Jill Longisland February 23, 2014 at 02:55 PM
Gosh Denise, that was quite nasty. I am just a person who is tired of having to clean up after the neighbors' cats- it is destructive to my property and a nuisance and expense to me. I have had cats, one of which was an outdoor rescued cat and I just kept him inside and he did very well. None of the behavior described by Dan, and I knew he was safe from predators and cars and disease. My dog has a nasty habit of eating cat poop, which has incurred a large vet bill for me when she got sick, most likely from the poop. I really believe anyone who loves their pets, however they obtained them, should keep them safe and have consideration for other people. That consideration makes for wonderful neighborly relations. Being nasty and argumentative on top of being inconsiderate, does not. Thanks dan for your kinder, more explanatory response, but I still feel that people need to protect their animals and consider the needs of their neighbors. The neighbor I describe has a 6 foot fenced in back yard and could easily open the back door and let his cat do its poop in his own yard. He chooses to cause a problem for his neighbors, including myself.
SUSAN ELLEN JASKULEK February 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM
HAPPY-ENDING,ANIMAL VOLUNTEERS ARE CARING AND THOUGHTFUL.I VOLUNTEER WITH LAST HOPE. KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS OR ON A LEASH. ORANGE CAT DESERVES A REWARD. ELLES MOM
Ivan Ivanovich February 25, 2014 at 01:13 AM
The orange cat needs a home too, shame on scrubport
Mary H February 27, 2014 at 11:41 AM
This is the best story EVER!!!!! Thank you to all VOLUNTEERS! You are the best people on Earth!!!

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