Search for Lost Cat Has a Happy Ending

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A 14 day search for a fugitive feline ended when the escapee turned himself in. Stan and Carolyn McNulty were happily reunited with Scarface at their home on Saturday night, and the rescuers found themselves $1,000 richer for it.

VIP Petcare Services ( was finally able to give out the reward for a cat thought to be long lost. After 2 weeks of trap-setting, sign-posting, professional search & rescue, a good deal of hope and an even greater helping of frustration, the Northern California-based company can breathe a sigh of relief. But the real winners here are the McNultys and of course, Scarface, who shared an emotional reunion after the cat came begging for food at a nearby apartment complex.

VIP Petcare Services hosts a weekly vaccination clinic at the Pet Food Express in Benicia (, just down the road from Stan & Carolyn's home in Benicia. They have been taking their pets there for years because of the low-cost services and the convenient location. On November 29th, two weeks earlier, they brought three semi-feral cats in for vaccinations and leukemia testing.

This trip didn't go so smoothly, as Scarface, the final and most feral patient, jumped up out of his carrier, bit the technician, and dashed out the front door before he could be contained. A 30 minute search ended in futility and the McNulty's had to return home with a refund, an apology, and only two cats.

VIP Petcare Services vaccinates nearly 200,000 pets each year and over the last 13 years has had a small handful of escaped cats. Will Santana, co-owner of the company, was determined to make every effort to recover this one. A crew returned to the site the following Monday with traps. The traps were placed strategically and they spent the day searching in the nearby neighborhoods.

The following day Donna Holsten, a professional animal search & rescue professional ( picked up the trail. 2 days of searching produced no cat, but they managed to follow it to an apartment complex down the road, but lost the trail there.

Traps were constantly reset and checked by the staff of Pet Food Express for the next 10 days with little result other than a couple false alarms and the capture of a plastic bag.

As hope dwindled, finally Scarface reappeared, presenting himself to Brian & Alicia Silva, a couple living in the apartment complex nearby. They saw him at their door begging for food for several nights, and began leaving him a blanket and some treats on the stoop. At last they managed to coax him inside and call the number they saw on one of the many posters around town.

Scarface is back at home now and quickly returning to full-strength. The Silvas were presented with a check for $1,000 by Will Santana personally, who said later "I'm just glad we were able to help bring this little guy back home. This was an ugly situation, but nobody lost hope, and we just kept the information out there. This time it paid off."


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Devan Paddock
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