It takes a community to rescue a cat

BLYTHEWOOD – After a group of animal advocates from Blythewood and Ridgeway rescued a Jacksonville, Florida cat last week that had gone missing in Blythewood last September in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the rescuers and the cat’s owner, Chris Miller, were treated to breakfast Sunday morning by the staff at Blythewood’s Lizard’s Thicket.

Lux’s rescuers were treated to breakfast by Lizard’s Thicket management. Rescuers, from left: Cilla Phillips, Amy Kennedy, Wendy and Rob Schisler, Mark Cruise, Robert Calahan, Kelly Cruise, Donna Browning, Cam Chappell and Chris Miller, Lux’s owner.

The occasion was the reuniting of Miller with her cat, Lux (pronounced Lukes), who went missing after Miller and her husband stopped in Blythewood to have lunch at Lizard’s Thicket on Sept. 14. The couple and their two dogs and Lux, a 15-pound black cat with yellow eyes, were returning home to Jacksonville after evacuating during Hurricane Irma.

Before going into the restaurant, the Millers cracked the car windows and left the sunroof partially open for the animals’ comfort. After lunch, the Millers got back into their car and a ways before stopping for fuel.

“We drove a little further,” Miller said, “before we discovered that Lux was missing. We searched the car and couldn’t find him.”

“We drove back to Blythewood where we searched into the night around Lizard’s Thicket, then we checked in to a motel in town and began our search again the next morning in the Cobblestone Park area.”

That’s when they met Cobblestone Park resident Mark Cruise who offered to enter their missing cat information on the NextDoor app for Cobblestone Park and Eagles Glenn.

During the ensuing months many in the community kept a vigil for the cat. There were occasional reports of sightings, but no solid leads. The managers of a cat colony in the area were also keeping on the lookout for the missing cat.

Cam Chappell, left, and Cilla Phillips, two Blythewood women who help manage cat communities, say good-bye to Lux before his ride back to Jacksonville. | Photos/Barbara Ball

Cam Chappell set out trail cameras. Cilla Phillips thought a couple of times that she’d seen Lux, but couldn’t be sure. After a couple of sightings that turned out not to be Lux, Cam Chappell thought she spotted him Sunday morning.

“We had two black cats in the cat colony,” Chappell said. “So when a third one showed up on Thursday, I was sure it was Lux.”

A humane trap was set and a couple of hours later, Lux walked into it. Miller was contacted and made plans to pick him up in Blythewood Sunday morning.

The breakfast reunion of Miller with her cat and the folks who helped rescue him was joyous. Many with other cat, dog and pig rescue stories with happy endings were related.

“We appreciate all you did for us and Lux,” Miller told her new friends. “We are grateful. What a wonderful community.”

After taking selfies all around, Miller and Lux said good-bye and set off for the long drive home.