The cat came back in Berwick

The cat came back in Berwick

Feline endures injury and earns several names after its escape

CORRINE MATASH holds her cat, Liza, recently at her home outside Berwick.

Press Enterprise/M.J. McDonald
CORRINE MATASH holds her cat, Liza, recently at her home outside Berwick.

Press Enterprise Writer

BERWICK — Corrine Matash's cat weathered enough adventures in seven weeks to last all her nine lives. Starting as a stray, the cat found a home, went missing, got hurt, lived on the street, landed another home and then — thanks to a veterinary worker's sharp memory — ended up safe and cozy with Matash again.

Along the way, the cat had three names. But she started out as Liza.

Matash's daughter had found the stray cat last year, and Matash took her in. In late December, when Liza was about 8 months old, Matash took her to be spayed at the Berwick Veterinary Care Center on Bowers Road.

"The day that it was done they said that she was doing fine," said Matash. "The next morning I got a phone call that the cat was gone."

On Dec. 28, a report of a gas leak at the veterinary center brought firefighters, who took the animals out of the building. But Liza bolted away during the evacuation.

For the next two weeks, Matash and family looked for her, put an ad in the newspaper and posted flyers. They had no luck. The winter weather was bad, and no one had seen Liza. The search ended.

Liza's next life

More than a month had gone by when Michelle Waltman and her daughter, Emma Colone, 2, began to notice a cat outside their home on East Sixth Street, 10 blocks from the vet's office.

"I kept seeing this kitten limping around. It was scared of us," said Waltman. "After I'd seen it for two or three days, I decided to feed it. It was scared of us, but it ate."

Waltman fed the cat for a few days. Eventually it warmed up to her and her daughter and let them pet it. Waltman called the no-kill animal rescue shelter. "They could take in the kitten in a few days, but they wanted me to catch it and take it into the house to keep it out of the cold."

Emma named the cat Meow Meow. She stayed with them for four days. On a Sunday afternoon, Sharon Yasneski from the Animal Resource Center came to pick up the cat.

"She was very, very sweet and very tiny," recalled Yasneski. "She appeared to have a dislocated hip. She was such a dear little thing, and my husband and I knew that nobody wants an animal with a disability, so we had said that we would take her.

"We called her Dora the Explora because she didn't let the hip keep her down. She explored every part of the house."

The strangest part

The next afternoon, Yasneski took the kitten to the vet. Usually, if she's dealing with an animal for the Animal Resource Center, she takes it to a vet in Bloomsburg. But she decided to take Dora to her own vet instead — Berwick Veterinary Care Center, the scene of the cat getaway in December. The doctor did a workup on Dora. She appeared to be healthy, except for the limp.

"I asked about having the hip looked after. He said it would be a matter of X-rays. It would probably be about $100," said Yasneski. "My husband and I decided to pay for it instead of asking the Animal Resource Center. So the next morning we took her back."

A different technician and doctor were working that day. The technician opened the cage, and the last part of the cat's story fell into place. The tech recognized her. Emma Colone's Meow Meow and Yasneski's Dora the Explora was really Liza, the escapee from seven weeks earlier.

"The ironic thing is, if I hadn't taken her to my vet here in Berwick, she would have never been returned to her owners," said Yasneski.

Later on the afternoon of Feb. 14 — Valentine's Day — Liza was reunited with the Matash family.

"She was just getting used to the house when we lost her, and when we brought her home it was like she had never left," recalled Matash. "She's a little survivor."

This story appeared in the August 18 edition of the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise newspaper.