FALMOUTH — Lucy, the South Carolina cat who accidentally hitched a ride to Maine, will soon be on her way home.
Lisa Smith, a volunteer with Maine Lost Cat Recovery and executive director of the Homeless Animal Rescue Team shelter in Cumberland, said traps were set July 13 in “the three locations that sounded the most promising,” based on sightings reported by residents in the Hartford Avenue area.
Early the next morning, when the traps were checked, Lucy was in one and a raccoon was in the other, Smith said. She said Lucy may be headed home as early as Thursday, accompanied by a HART volunteer.
“After several sightings, we put traps out in likely places and baited them with food,” Smith said. She said Lucy, a 2-year-old calico, was in “surprisingly good shape. She was a little thin, but has bounced back very nicely (over the weekend).”
Although Lucy spent more than a week in the wild, Smith said her “fur was very well groomed” and she was parasite free, thanks to a flea collar she was wearing.
Smith said HART has now implanted a microchip to track Lucy’s whereabouts. In addition, the staff is trying to get Lucy acclimated to wearing a harness and leash for going outdoors.
Smith said the Welch family of Charleston, South Carolina, is “just overjoyed” at the safe recovery of their beloved pet. Michael and Meredith Welch have owned Lucy since she was a kitten.
Michael Welch last week called Lucy “a sweetheart” and said “we really miss her. My wife is beside herself.”
On Monday, he said, “We are most definitely very happy” that Lucy might be home by the end of the week. He said although the cat loves to go outdoors, “she’ll be an inside-only kitty for quite awhile.”
Smith said she called the Welches as soon as Lucy was found and they all had “a nice family reunion” via FaceTime.
As far as the Welches and Smith can tell, Lucy jumped into the vehicle of a neighbor who left the car doors open as she packed for a trip to Maine for the summer.
The driver of the car, who did not wish to be identified, said Lucy made no noise on the way to Falmouth and she had no idea that the cat had made the trip north with her until several days later, when she opened the car doors again to fully unpack.
Smith last week said it’s not unusual for a cat to take an accidental ride. “It happens quite regularly,” she said, “especially if the vehicle doors are open.”
She credited Lucy’s timely return to “everybody being so responsive and pitching in” after the news broke that she’d been last seen near Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm property.
“We received lots of reports of Lucy sightings,” Smith said, which helped Maine Lost Cat Recovery determine the best place to put the traps. The overwhelming response “kept us going” and “kept us hopeful,” that the search would be successful, she added.
Smith said Lucy was not the only lost cat recovered this week. She said a cat missing from the Deering area of Portland for more than two months was also successfully trapped and returned home.
Lisa Smith, a volunteer with Maine Lost Cat Recovery and executive director of the HART animal shelter in Cumberland, said Lucy, a 2-year-old cat from South Carolina, was found in Falmouth over the weekend after more than a week in the wild.
By the end of the week, Lucy should be headed home to South Carolina, where her owners are anxiously waiting to be reunited.