By Melissa LaScaleia
Tracy Thompson is a cat lover living in the Market Common. One Friday in April, as she was rounding up her clan to come inside for the evening, Liberace the cat suddenly stopped on the front steps and bolted for the stop sign at the intersection of Baldwin Lane and Shine Avenue.
Tracy took off after him and saw him stopped— face to face with another cat. Desirous of preventing a cat fight, she picked Liberace up and headed for home. But the other cat would have none of it.
“He started talking and meowing at me like, ‘Hey take me home with you,’” Tracy says. “His tail was straight up which indicates that he’s really comfortable, and he began to follow me home, winding his way in and out of my legs. So back we all went.”
Tracy examined the stray for injuries or any identification, and found none.
“He was super friendly so I knew he wasn’t feral,” she says. “Still I didn’t want to mix him with my cats, so I got him some food and brought it outside for him. He was ravenous and devoured it, so that told me he had been out for sometime.”
Worried about coyotes and wild animals in the nearby woods, she made him an impromptu bed inside her house for the night, where he remained— a really good citizen.
The next day, Tracy let him out with her other cats, and posted his photo on Facebook, Nextdoor, and PawBoost looking for his owner. She didn’t get any leads. By Sunday night, he was frolicking and playing with her other cats just fine.
On Monday morning, she brought him to the Cat’s Meow to see if he was chipped, and lo and behold he was. By 9am, she was talking to the cat’s owner.
Tracy’s new visitor was named Curious, and belonged to a couple named Peter and Lise Bell from Maryland. They had come to Myrtle Beach on vacation on February 24, and were camping in their RV at Myrtle Beach State Park. The first night of their vacation, Peter accidentally left the window open. Curious, living up to his name, was compelled to go exploring, and went missing much to the couple’s distress. They had been posting on Facebook, Lost Animals of Horry County, and calling the state park for months. But it was the chip that got him home.
“During the course of conversation, it was clear that they loved Curious a lot and were trying to find him desperately,” Tracy says. “Curious had to cross four lanes of traffic to get to my house, which is pretty crazy.”
Peter hopped in his car the morning he got Tracy’s call, and was at her door by 8:30pm that same day. The neighbors on Tracy’s street who had met Curious and were in the know came over to great Peter when he arrived.
“That’s when we found out that Curious was 18 pounds when he went missing and now he was 9.5,” Tracy says. “When Peter took him home, he took a visit to the vet, and Curious was just fine. In fact, the vet liked his weight better than 18 pounds.”
When Peter left the next day, he also left a check for $500 in gratitude.
“My mother passed away eight years ago,” Tracy says. “And every year, my father, Dwight, and I usually give a large display of flowers to our church in her honor. But this year, we decided to match Peter’s donation in honor of my mother and on behalf of Curious. So we donated $500 to Cat’s Meow and $500 to Save-R-Cats in her memory. The whole story, from beginning to end, it was like a Hallmark moment.”