-Cat went missing from Broomfield, Colorado, in 2006/7
-She turned up on a street in Manhattan, New York
-Owners were tracked thanks to microchip inside her
By Mark Duell
Eyes have it: How Willow got to New York, which is more than 1,600 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the city are both mysteries
A cat has made an extraordinary journey of almost 2,000 miles after she went missing from Colorado five years ago and turned up in New York.
Willow disappeared from a home in Broomfield but was found on Wednesday in Manhattan and will soon be reunited with her owners.
Jamie and Chris Squires, of Boulder, Colorado, were ‘shocked’ to hear of her whereabouts, but she had a microchip implanted as a kitten.
The family, who live near the Rocky Mountains, have two of three kids and one of two dogs who may still remember Willow.
But how she got to New York, which is more than 1,600 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the city are both mysteries.
‘To be honest, there are tons of coyotes around here, and owls,’ Mrs Squires said. ‘She was just a little thing, five and a half pounds.
‘We put out the “Lost Cat” posters and the Craigslist thing, but we actually thought she'd been eaten by coyotes.’
Journey: How Willow made the distance of more than 1,600 miles from Broomfield, Colorado, to Manhattan, New York, is still a mystery
Long trip: Willow disappeared from a home in Colorado, but was found on Wednesday in New York City and will soon be reunited with her owners
The couple were ‘astounded’ when they got a call from Animal Care & Control in New York City, saying she had been found on East 20th Street
Mrs Squires added that her husband told her not to tell their children until they were sure it was indeed Willow that had been found.
‘Then we saw the picture, and it was Willow,’ she said. ‘It's been so long.’
Animal Care & Control Executive Director Julie Bank said a scanner found the microchip that led to the Squires family.
Found: Jamie Squires said Willow escaped in late 2006 or early 2007 when contractors left a door open during a home renovation
‘All our pets are microchipped,’ Mrs Squires said. ‘If I could microchip my kids, I would.’
The children are aged 17, 10 and 3 - so the older two remember Willow. Mrs Squires said her 3-year-old saw a photo and remarked: 'She's a pretty cat.’
The Squires family also have a yellow labrador named Roscoe, who knew Willow, and an English mastiff named Zoe.
‘We had another dog back then too, and I remember Willow would lie with them as they all waited to be fed,’ she said. 'She thought she was a dog.'
Found: Jamie Squires, right, and Chris Squires, left, were 'shocked' to hear the whereabouts of Willow, who had a microchip implanted when she was a kitten
Mrs Squires said Willow escaped in late 2006 or early 2007 when contractors left a door open during a home renovation.
Since then the family had moved about 10 miles from Broomfield to Boulder, but kept its address current with the microchip company.
Ms Bank recommended that all pet owners use microchips.
She said Willow, who now weighs 7lbs, is healthy and well-mannered and probably has not spent her life on the mean streets of Manhattan.
But there are no clues about her trip east or anything else in the five years she's been missing.
Looking: Willow stares out from a cage at her temporary home on Wednesday in New York's Animal Care & Control facility, after her very long journey
The ACC and the Squires family were trying to arrange for transportation back to Colorado and health certificates.
They said it might be two weeks before the reunion. Willow may spend some time with a foster family in New York.
‘The kids can't wait to see her,’ Mrs Squires said. ‘And we still have her little Christmas stocking.’