Ninja, a 10-year-old pampered feline, had to rely on lightning-quick reflexes as she wandered aimlessly around the streets of downtown Wichita with her junkyard feral cat posse.
In early June, Ninja and her Florida human family started out in a vehicle on a summer trip cross-country destined for Colorado that included two adults, four children ranging in age from 3 months to 8 years, two dogs, another cat and Ninja.
At the Hotel at Waterwalk in Wichita, the marbled cat with white paws and chest slipped out of her cat carrier.
The next thing anyone knew, she was roaming the cold, hard streets of Wichita.
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Now, nearly four and a half months later, covered in fleas and suffering from a superficial neck wound, she has given up her life on the lam.
Through microchips and the kind heart of a person who feeds feral cats in Wichita, she will be reunited soon with her Florida family.
On Wednesday afternoon, the cat was given a clean bill of health from Kelly Jones of the Cat Hospital of Wichita to fly from Wichita to Tampa, Fla. – an inspection essential for flying on a commercial airplane. She was also treated with antibiotics for her neck wound and given a round of flea ointment.
The flight is expected to take place sometime within the next two weeks, said one of her owners, Brett Farmer of Sarasota, Fla.
We want our sweetie pie as soon as possible.
Brett Farmer, Ninja’s owner in Sarasota, Fla.
“We want our sweetie pie as soon as possible,” he said.
“Once she slipped out, we couldn’t find her,” said his wife, Renee Farmer. “She’d had enough of the drive and escaped from her cage. We couldn’t find her and stayed as long as we could, driving around. The Wichita hotel where we stayed sent me pictures of other cats that weren’t my cat.
“I posted on Wichita’s Lost and Found and every two or three days was in contact with Wichita’s shelter.”
Ninja went missing on June 9, Renee Farmer said.
In July, Kelly Schuhs – who feeds three colonies of feral cats in downtown Wichita – spotted a new face.
“It was unusual to find a tame cat in the colonies,” he said. “Feral cats don’t meow, they don’t want love or to be picked up. When I get new cats that are tame, you have to assume they are strays or sometimes people have dumped them. I thought somebody must have dumped her.”
This past weekend, Friends of Felines did a Trap, Neuter and Return from a cat colony in the Delano neighborhood. Ninja was trapped and then scanned for a microchip.
We brought her in with 40 other cats. I marked that she was friendly. She was checked for a microchip, and they gave me a Florida phone number.
Tammy Stubbs, Friends of Felines media and administrative coordinator
“We brought her in with 40 other cats,” said Tammy Stubbs, Friends of Felines media and administrative coordinator. “I marked that she was friendly. She was checked for a microchip, and they gave me a Florida phone number.”
The Farmer family eventually came to believe the worst until a phone call came Sunday afternoon as they were watching a football game.
“She is the sweetest cat,” Renee Farmer said. “She is nervous when meeting someone for the first time, but once she senses you are good people, she is the most loving, attentive cat.”
The probability of a cat reuniting with its owner is not always good, said Cheryl Taskinen, president of Friends of Felines.
“Put it this way: This is cat number four out of 727 that we have done this year,” she said. “It is very unusual. It is also so rare when you have one from so far out of town.”
Ninja was adopted as a kitten by Brett Farmer, a Marine who named her for her superfast reflexes.
Before her life on the streets, Ninja was best known for sitting on the family’s computer when someone was trying to type, lying on the back of the sofa and meowing to go outside the Farmer home to hunt for bugs and lizards.
She would then graciously leave the Farmer family her hunting conquests on the front step of the house.
Renee Farmer said Wednesday that of all the family members, she expects Ninja will be most excited to see Brett Farmer.
“She loves him the most,” Renee Farmer said. “She just tolerates the rest of us.”