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Reunited: New York cat found in South End, returned to owner

By Daniel Dunkle | Dec 30, 2019
Courtesy of: Carole Martin Buddy in his first minutes after being reunited with Kate Foretek.

Rockland — Following an effort of volunteers using drones and motion detection cameras over a period of weeks, a New York City cat, lost in Rockland's South End, has been reunited with his owner and sent home.

The month-long saga began Nov. 30 when Buddy, a five-year-old cat, jumped out of the arms of his owner, Kate Foretek of New York City, who was bringing him along for a visit to her parents on Ocean Street.

The gray and white cat was wearing a harness at the time. He had started his life as a feral cat in the Bronx before coming to live with Foretek, a sound engineer for theater productions in New York City.

To Foretek's surprise, total strangers from around Rockland volunteered hours of their time during the busy holiday season to help find the lost feline.

Carole Martin, Trisha Ibarra, Ron Frontin, Paul Ackerman and Ann Jennings helped. At one point Jim Gamage was using a drone to look for the pet.

Martin said five motion-activated cameras were set up in strategic locations in the South End and by Dec. 23, there was evidence of Buddy's movements on some of them. The volunteers were spending time sifting through 1,200 images from the cameras per day. He was seen at 16 and 21 Ocean Street, always around 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Martin said the cat was being quite sneaky in his movements.

On Thursday, Dec. 26, Ann Jennings reported it was living under her shed on Ocean Street. The team looked in at him in his den down there with a snake camera.

"Then our vigil started," Martin said.

All of the ways out except for one were sealed and that one was blocked by a Have-A-Heart trap. Still, the cat would not come out.

The volunteers began to pull up the floor of the shed to reach him. After that project began, the cat emerged.

Buddy was taken to Rockland Animal Hospital to be checked over. He had lost two pounds in the ordeal, and the veterinarian said it was a miracle his harness had not snagged on anything.

Buddy stayed with Martin for two days until Foretek arrived Dec. 29 to pick him up. They are now safely back in New York.

"I am so impressed with the Rockland community," Foretek said in previous statements. "I have never experienced this much help from people who don't even know me. It has restored my faith in humanity."

Buddy at Rockland Animal Hospital. (Courtesy of: Carole Martin)
A shed floor on Ocean Street is cut out with Buddy's hiding spot underneath it. (Courtesy of: Carole Martin)
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Comments (7)
Posted by: Carole Martin | Jan 03, 2020 08:34 a member of the Buddy search team, a quick note: Shari Closter played a significant role in helping to train us to track Buddy's movements. While her passion remains with dogs, she transferred her to expertise to us so we could translate it to a cat situation. An excellent and generous mentor to us rookies. Thank you, Shari!


Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jan 02, 2020 11:16

Checked our outbuilding and other hiding places with no luck, then saw the sign at South End Grocery was taken down, so thought the worst. Then, Eureka! Kind and persistent South Ender's came through for Buddy and his owner!

Posted by: Pam Leach | Dec 31, 2019 21:05

What a relief!  I’m so happy Buddy was found and returned to his family!

I was also thinking how wonderful it would be for all people who lose their beloved pets to receive the publicity (including a full article) in the VillageSoup that this missing pet did!  I guess Buddy must be an extra special cat!

Posted by: Reade Brower | Dec 31, 2019 15:31

so cool!

Posted by: Peter Root | Dec 31, 2019 08:38

This is one great story. It truly restores my faith in humanity.

Posted by: Ananur Forma | Dec 30, 2019 17:12

Glad to hear this news, thank you for the follow up, it is heart breaking to lose a pet. Buddy is very cute.

Good news is always welcomed. Great people in that neighborhood, for sure!!!

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 30, 2019 15:42

Thank the good Lord for this find! Any animal lover would know the anguish this owner felt. Happy New Year to all and good going on this happy ending!

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