By Mariel S. Clark
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — A nearly-blind cat abducted from a San Francisco animal shelter more than a year and a half ago was found in East Harlem and flown safely back to the West Coast last week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
No one seems to know how Jack Daniels ended up in New York or how many of his nine lives he used up during the journey here, but all involved agree his story is nothing short of a kitty miracle.
Jack, who is nearly blind due to a viral infection that left him with scarred corneas, was just a kitten when someone stole him from the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in January 2009, according to Animal Care and Control of New York City spokesman Richard Gentles.
"We had the police involved, volunteers looking for him. We were very worried," San Francisco SPCA spokeswoman Jennifer Lu told the Chronicle.
Then, on July 31, more than a year-and-a-half later, Animal Care and Control officers found the black cat near the organization's East Harlem shelter at 326 E. 110th St.
Despite being apparently homeless, Jack appeared to have been taken care of since his abduction.
"He was in fairly decent condition," Gentles said. "It's not like he was living on the streets."
Animal Control checked Jack for a microchip — a digital "dog tag" embedded under the skin that shows the owner's name and contact information — and learned he was registered to the San Francisco shelter.
"He was lucky," said Gentles, explaining that more often than not, animals are not microchipped and finding the owner is considerably more difficult.
New York called San Francisco and Jack flew back across the country, accompanied by a volunteer, to be reunited with his "shelter family." He will go back up for adoption in the next few days, the Chronicle reported.
Getting pets microchipped and keeping the contact information up to date greatly increases the chances that missing pets will find their way home, according to Gentles.
"One of most rewarding parts of our jobs is reuniting people with their pets," he said, adding that stories like Jack's weren't entirely uncommon.
Of course, usually the pet is returned "two blocks away from where it went missing, instead of 3,000 miles," he said.