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Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Andres", DLH, White with Lynx Points, Palo Alto - Found!

Andres before being lost

Andres before being lost

Andres before being lost.

Andres at hospital after being found

Where Andres was found trapped by neighbor.


Search Details:

Andres is an indoor/outdoor, four year old DLH with Lynx Points neutered male. He is microchipped and wearing a blue collar. 

There were several sightings around the apartment complex where he lived of Andres after he went missing. We started at the most recent confirmed sighting, which appeared to be where he got into a fight with another cat. 

As I got to the search, Andres' person told me about another possible sighting of Andres that was more current. It was several blocks away. We drove to that spot and started the search there. 

We followed the track for several hours, when the search was called off by his person. He said he would continue to look for Andres. 

See the follow up letters from Andres's person during the search and after he was found. 


Email December 17, one day after search:

"Nothing new. Same location, four sightings now within one block. 


Email received December 24, 2011

"Greetings all,

I have reached a momentary dead end in my search for Andres, so I thought today will be a good day to provide an update of his missing status to everyone who has provided help and/or suggestions  to me.   The good news is that I am almost certain that I saw him at 3AM last Sunday morning walking on the sidewalk of Oregon Ave., close to Louis and heading in the direction of Greer.  And there are at least three other people who are certain they saw him within a block of this same area.   He was about thirty yards away from me and it was very dark, but I heard a  bell that  sounded exactly like Andres'.  He was also about the same size and looked like the same color.  I made the mistake of running after him when he started running away and I lost sight of him.  He stopped momentarily, and I was able to shine my small flashlight on him and the white glare from his eyes seemed to me that they were his blue eyes and I was able to see his fur color for a second.  I decided to go there because of the help I had received from two separate individuals who thought they saw him on the sidewalk of  Louis Rd., two houses away from the corner Of Oregon Expressway and heading in the direction of the Oregon Ave.   frontage road entrance.  One person thought he saw him around 4pm on Friday the 16th, and alerted me via email.  The other person called me the night before around 7:30 PM and saw him under a car.  Her daughter approached him and he ran and jumped a fence and went into the backyard of 3218 Louis.  I brought a scent dog to this location after providing personal belongings of Andres and the dog used the scent to start a track.  The owner of the dog is certain that he had been in this location the prior evening based on the dog's response to the scent of Andres that he found in the backyard.  The dog tracked Andres' scent unsuccessfully for four hours.  I also made another phone call to the person who saw him at 7:30 PM.  She had time to view Andres' pictures that I posted on my photo website and she told me that she was certain that it was him that she saw. Palo Alto animal services had warned me about the possibility that the dog could actually scare the cat away, but I decided to use it to try and verify it was him.  

I have been able to piece together a lot of information provided by neighbors and all of the experts on lost animals to develop a pretty good idea of what happened to him.  Andres was seen by three separate neighbors on Dec 5., starting at 9AM, 11AM and 3PM in front of my unit where the mailboxes are located. This would be logical because he had not eaten anything that day and his normal routine is lunch and a nap in the afternoon.  If he eats in the morning, he stays out longer.  If he does not eat, which is less common, he will come back sooner.   He also knows the sounds of my cars when I get home and park, and I will sometimes see him running to the front door as I am parking.  If I am late, I often find him sitting on the door mat of my front door.      Two separate neighbors heard cats fighting loudly at separate times that day.  The first fights were around 8 AM, which were described as very loud and there was another fight around 3:30 PM.  I came home around 4PM and I did not see him anywhere.  Martha and another neighbor also noticed large clumps of his fur underneath the balcony of the unit next door to me.

The first possible sighting of Andres was on Monday night Dec. 5 on Celia Dr. The person who thought she saw him is a animal shelter volunteer.  She could not be certain that it was him because it was dusk, but she was certain that he did not live on that street.  She notified me on Wednesday night 12/7 after seeing his description and picture.  That same night I left Andres fliers at every house on Celia.  The following morning, 12/8 another resident called me around 7:30 AM to notify me that her two sons saw Andres in their backyard. He disappeared by the time I arrived.  Both sons independently verified later  that it was Andres after seeing his pictures.  Around this time I was also receiving emails from a possible sighting at the next door apartment complex Parker Apartments.  This was thought to be about a 60% chance that it was him as it was also dark.  The problem with the Parker Apartment sightings is that this a location that Andres and other Oregon Greens cats frequent regularly.  If he is there, it would also mean that he is definitely not lost as he is very familiar with returning from this location.  

I have filed missing cat reports with all of the animal shelters from San Francisco to San Martin. is the website that is used by all of the local animal control agencies to help pet owners see pictures of all lost animals that have been turned in.  I have also been in contact with all of the local animal hospitals in case he was injured and brought in by someone thought they adopted a stray cat.  In addition to fliers and posters, I had a voice mail service blast an alert message to everyone in the area.  I decided to use Oregon Expressway as the north border for the voice mail, so nobody on the north side of Oregon Expressway has where Andres has been seen has been alerted yet.   As of now, I still only have a lot of questions and no answers.  However, I have  received a lot of guidance from all of the local experts on missing animals.  Andres is a outdoor experienced cat who  is fiercely independent.  He has found his way home from his daily adventures and social visits every single  day now for over a year.  Because there is no dead cat inside the Oregon Greens complex, it is highly unlikely that he died in a fight.  Because he has a microchip, Palo Alto animal control would have called me if he was killed by a car.  If a cat is hit on the on ramp or the freeway, Caltrans will turn the dead body in.  If it is killed or found dead within city limits, animal control will retrieve the body.  All of the animal control agencies immediately scan cats when they are brought in doa or alive and notify the owner. 

 Based on Andre's personality type, I have been told by all of the experts that the most probable scenario is that Andres is hiding and/or subsequently has gotten himself lost somewhere close.  The experts strongly discount the possibility that he was stolen or that someone else has adopted him or drove off with him.  Because he hates being inside all day, it is unlikely that he is still inside of the person's home who thought they adopted a stray cat.   Because no dead body has been found and there is no smell of a decomposing body nearby,   they would say it is more likely that he is either trapped in a garage  or walked inside someone else's house or apartment than he was  killed in a fight or stolen.  The odds are much higher that he is scared and lost somewhere close.  Celia Drive is two blocks away from me and the Louis sightings are within a block of the the Celia sightings.  All of the sightings with the exception of the 4PM Louis Rd. sighting all were around the times that the experts say a lost cat will make his move from one location to another, early in the morning or at sundown.  None of the residents on Oregon and Louis who I talked to own cats said their cats wear a collar with a bell.  The experts also say that a lost, scared cat can easily be disoriented and will not answer a call to his name from his owner.  I met the owner of the house close to the sidewalk  where I think that I saw Andres in the middle of the night on Oregon Ave.  He is currently leaving a humane animal trap in his front yard with Andres' favorite food to try and lure him into it.  Thus far , we have caught two cats but not Andres.  

Thank you all for all of the useful information that you have provided to me to help piece together what caused Andres to go missing.  I also welcome any additional suggestions or ideas on how to catch a lost cat.  

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,


Email received January 9, 2012:

"Greetings all,

I am happy to tell all of you that Andres was found last night at 9pm at the Parker apartment complex on Tanland.  It was good fortune for the person who  heard him meow for help from inside a barbecue pit where he has been trapped.  Her roommate happened to be drinking with his friends and decided to take a break outside and sit on one of the patio chairs where the barbecue pit is located.  She saw him as she was  walking  to her car  and decided to stop briefly to say hi.  That is when she heard the meow.  She decided to open the small valve door below the barbecue and  she saw him inside (see attached photos).  He ran straight to the pool from the barbecue and started drinking the pool water.  When she brought him inside her apartment he immediately dashed toward her dog and rabbit food bowls and devoured the food.  She saw the fliers so she decided to drive to Colorado Ave. where Andres' missing cat poster is and  look at his pictures. She then called me to let me know she had him.   I immediately went to pick him up and take him to the emergency clinic, where his liver, blood and vital signs were checked.  He has several large wounds, is very skinny, dirty (he smells like a barbecue) and only weighs six pounds.  He weighed over twelve lbs. before going missing so he lost 50% of his weight.  His wounds also look peculiar.  How long he was trapped for and  the way he got himself inside the barbecue remains a mystery.   There is only one way in or out of this barbecue for a cat.  Therefore, the question is whether he walked through the small door if it was open and then  physically shut by someone while he was inside, or if someone decided to lock him inside it.   There is no other way to get inside.   The good news is that Andres is at the clinic with an iv for dehydration  and the doctors think that he is going to be fine.  I want to thank everyone for your support and assistance.  I was receiving a lot of calls from people who thought they saw him running around.  Although we will never know if he was at any or all of the those locations when he was to thought to be seen, it does not matter.  Everyone was making an earnest effort to help rescue him and I had no reservations about chasing all of the leads.  I was trying to make one sale and did not care if it meant talking to the entire midtown Palo Alto area in the process.  Thanks again for you assistance and efforts.  I learned a lot about the integrity and character of the members of our community during the last 34 days. 

Cheers to a happy ending,



View Andreas Track in a larger map

Created by My Tracks on Android.
Total distance: 13.33 km (8.3 mi)
Total time: 3:44:55
Moving time: 2:08:28
Average speed: 3.55 km/h (2.2 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 6.22 km/h (3.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 55.37 km/h (34.4 mi/h)
Min elevation: -40 m (-133 ft)
Max elevation: 19 m (61 ft)
Elevation gain: 411 m (1348 ft)
Max grade: 1 %
Min grade: -1 %
Recorded: Fri Dec 16 13:03:29 PST 2011
Activity type: -