Columbus, Ohio USA
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Lost in Leafy Dale
Cat survives 10 days trapped in barren building
By Margaret Marten
Mar/Apr 2012 Issue

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Vivian and Steve refer to their corner of Victorian Village as “Indigo’s block.” The house is situated at the intersection of Dennison and Collins avenues facing Goodale Park, and Indigo is Steve’s cat who has the run of the block, taking off during the day to play and returning at night to rest and reconnect.

“He will sit on a lot of immediate neighbors’ porches and sun himself,” Steve said. Apparently some of those neighbors have taken quite a fancy to him, and Steve has a few clues to prove it. Like the night Indigo came home wearing a collar they’d never seen before. Another time, while walking to Giant Eagle, Vivian and Steve spotted him on a neighbor’s porch enjoying a meal. They figured he must have a second home. “He’s really a beautiful cat,” said Vivian, “and he’s so friendly and a lot of the neighbors know him.”

When Indigo failed to return from his daily excursion one night in December, Steve and Vivian were worried. After a few days absence, Steve panicked and anxiously began printing hundreds of fliers with Indigo’s photo to distribute around the neighborhood. But even after the fliers had gone out, days passed without a word. Neighbors called to offer support, but no real news – until almost a week later when Steve got a response to the flier:

“I think I found your cat,” the caller said. “We’re outside.”

“Steven walks outside and he’s all excited,” Vivian said, ‘Oh we’re going to find Indigo!’” What Steve found was a police cruiser parked down the street. An officer walked up to him and identified herself. “I’m a police officer,” she said. “We have your cat in the back of the cruiser.” Steve looked inside, but instead of Indigo, he recognized one of their other Siamese cats, Chanel, Indigo’s sister. “She’s an indoor cat, “ said Vivian, “but apparently had gotten out.”

A couple nights later at 11 p.m., things took a sinister turn when Vivian got a text with a picture of the flier marked up, Indigo blindfolded, a gun pointed at his head and a bullet flying. “How bad do you want to see Indigo?” it read. “It scared the crap out of me,” said Vivian. “Probably some college kids joking around, sick of seeing the fliers.”

Indigo has a number of endearing qualities. He purrs real loud. He also has a very distinctive streetwise Siamese voice. “He has this real raspy meow,” said Vivian.

A sound like that might scare the birds away or drive someone up the wall if the cat’s hungry or looking to go outside – and that is exactly what Indigo wanted when Kim Anderson heard him meowing inside Leafy Dale, an apartment building undergoing renovation on Dennison Avenue near her home. Trapped inside the locked building for 10 days, Indigo finally broke free when Steve raced over and opened a window after getting a call from the Andersons.

“I go running down there, hollering and hollering,” said Steve. “Finally I hear this ‘rahrrr,’and I knew it was the right cat, but the building was all locked up.” Steve eventually found a window unlocked while waiting for the owners to arrive. “He was a little malnourished, happy to see me, and knew his way back home, walking in front of me.”

Indigo is healthy now. He’s receiving his regular medication again and enjoying the company of siblings Chanel and Marley (an oldtimer about to turn 20). Indigo is relatively young, 8 years old, and still has plenty of those proverbial nine lives left. And he’s famous – after having his face plastered on all the fliers. “We posted maybe 300 or 400 fliers, so everybody got fliers,” Steve said. “I paid to have them all removed so we didn’t litter the neighborhood. I didn’t think we would see him again.”

Indigo’s fame doesn’t stop there. He made an appearance in the WOSU documentary on the Short North neighborhood a couple years ago. “You can see him. He’s walking on the sidewalk by our house,”

Vivian said with a hint of pride in her voice. “He’s like a movie star!”

© 2012 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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