Zelda goes homeAfter two months on the lam, a cat is reunited with owner
WORTHINGTON — Remember December? Those sub-zero temperatures, every-other-day snowfalls, shiver-inducing winds? Well, Zelda remembers it, too, but she would rather not talk about it. She can’t discuss it, in fact, because she is a cat — one who spent much of November and December wandering around Worthington, separated from her cat-sitter and owner and fending for herself in the wintry weather.
By: Jane Turpin Moore, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Remember December? Those sub-zero temperatures, every-other-day snowfalls, shiver-inducing winds?
Well, Zelda remembers it, too, but she would rather not talk about it. She can’t discuss it, in fact, because she is a cat — one who spent much of November and December wandering around Worthington, separated from her cat-sitter and owner and fending for herself in the wintry weather.
“I had guard drill in Little Falls that first weekend in November,” explained Zelda’s owner, Sovia Dalle, 19, of Lennox, S.D., “and a friend said her mother in Worthington could watch Zelda for me while I was gone.”
An affectionate cat that loves curling up to sleep on a warm blanket, Zelda is also characteristically curious. When an open door beckoned, she slipped out into the cold.
“They hunted for her, and when I got back, I came down and looked for her, too, but I thought she must just be gone for good,” lamented Dalle, who acquired Zelda last February.
But Zelda must be at the start of her proverbial nine lives. One morning shortly before Christmas, Jenni Rojas opened her door on the east edge of Darling Drive to see what snowdrifts the day might hold and in ran a white cat.
“Jenni thought the cat was white,” stressed Lisa Brandt of Worthington, the next in the chain of Zelda’s rescuers. “That’s how much snow and ice she had on her — and she’s a dark calico cat.”
Rather than kicking the stray cat out the door, Rojas warmed her up and fed her. However, Rojas knew her rental agreement would not allow her to keep Zelda. A cook at Blue Line Travel Center, Rojas talked to Brandt, a waitress at the cafe, who she knew to be a cat-lover.
“She’s such a pretty cat,” enthused Brandt.
After about a week, Brandt became concerned about what she thought was a frostbitten front paw, so she took Zelda to see veterinarian Travis Freiwald at the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Windom.
“I asked them to scan her to see if she had a HomeAgain microchip in her,” said Brandt.
Somewhat to Freiwald’s surprise, the cat did have the identifying microchip, although she was not wearing a collar or other identification when she was found.
“We don’t always think to scan strays, although scanning them is just a matter of course for many animal shelters,” said Freiwald, commenting on the relatively new microchip process that allows for lost or runaway pets to be recovered by their owners. “If you have it done, you need to be sure to send in the registration for it so your information is properly entered into the database.”
While Dalle apparently hadn’t taken that step, she had spent the roughly $50 last February to have the HomeAgain microchip implanted in Zelda, and Freiwald was able to track her down via the Marshall veterinary clinic where the process was completed.
“I think this is the first time in my experience that we have facilitated a pet-owner reunion using the microchip,” offered Freiwald. “It was good of Lisa (Brandt) to bring the cat in; not everyone would take the trouble to do that. The cat did have a small lesion on a paw that was infected from either frostbite or a cat bite, and we were able to treat that, as well.”
Brandt paid for Freiwald’s services out of her own pocket, then got in contact with Dalle to arrange for Zelda’s homecoming.
At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Brandt eagerly waited for Dalle in the warm lobby of Perkins Restaurant, while Zelda reclined on a blanket in Brandt’s truck.
“Sovia was more than happy to get the phone call from the vet and me and said she wanted the cat back,” shared Brandt.
When Dalle arrived, she said she had missed Zelda, as had her Great Pyrenees dog, Angus.
“He kept looking around for her,” laughed Dalle.
Dalle and Brandt shared information about Zelda — how she likes car rides and enjoys playing with toys — before venturing out to the parking lot.
Dalle embraced the healthy-looking cat and voluntarily reimbursed Brandt for Zelda’s medical treatment. After exchanging phone numbers, the two animal lovers raved about the HomeAgain microchip’s effectiveness while Dalle expressed her gratitude to Brandt and Rojas for their willingness to go out of their way for her little furry creature.
“While Zelda was missing, I kept thinking the microchip must not have worked, but it did after all,” said Dalle. “I really appreciate what Lisa and Jenni did for Zelda and me. I’m glad Lisa didn’t decide to keep her, because getting Zelda back means a lot. They did the right thing.”
Brandt modestly replied, “I just did what I’d want someone else to do if it was my cat.”