OAKLAND — Precious the cat spent 19 days lost in a strange area, but is now safe at home after hearing a tape recording of his favorite sound — the grinding of an electric can opener.
Precious’ problems began Christmas Eve when Lincoln and Dawna DeMarey crashed their car into a guardrail on Interstate 95 in Waterville, 100 miles from home. The crash threw Precious’ cat carrier from the car. When a rescuer picked up the carrier, the top came off and the frightened feline dashed into the woods.
“We’d given up. I’d thrown away all his records and everything,” Lincoln DeMarey said.
But Waterville rescue workers Tony Brown and Janice Bradbury never gave up hope that they’d find the feline. Last Friday, someone spotted Precious.
“I couldn’t believe my ears,” Bradbury said. “Somebody had seen the cat.”
Hugh Doucette, who lives about two miles from the crash site, had been feeding the cat.
“But I didn’t put two and two together until the next morning that this was the missing cat I had read about in the newspaper,” Doucette said.
Doucette alerted authorities, and Bradbury arrived on the scene with a tape the desperate DeMareys had made of their voices calling Precious, and of the cat’s beloved electric can opener.
Precious came within 10 minutes, and neighbors snagged him when he made a run for the tape recorder.
DeMarey said his cat came home thin and exhausted, but happy to be home.
“Last night he hopped up on our bed right between us. He’s curled up and sleeping now. He seems very happy,” he said.