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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Want to Captivate New Yorkers? Try the (Latest) Trapped-Cat Story

That was Sunday's headline in the New York Times, after Molly the cat was rescued from a shop wall in Lower Mahnattan. I was there until Sunday, and followed the story with amusement (and concern), because even in America's most sophisticated city, animals-in-distress stories can rivet the populace. The genre has a long history.

Here's some of the story, and a link to the rest:
It is easy to hide in New York City. Sometimes it is even easy to get trapped. Ask the cats.

Molly was reunited Saturday with her rescuer, Kevin Clifford.

One October day in 1941, a black Persian named Mickey climbed out of his owner's apartment at 178 Fifth Avenue, went as high as he could and fell five stories down an inaccessible part of the chimney, the start of a 24-hour ordeal that ended when a restaurant owner next door gave rescuers permission to break through his storeroom to pull Mickey out to safety.

In 1947, another cat, Suzie, was trapped for five days under a Brooklyn pier until she was rescued. The bait: milk and doughnuts. The reward: She got her picture in the paper.

The saga of Molly — the black cat freed from the wall of a Greenwich Village shop on Friday night after a frenzied two-week spectacle — was merely the latest chapter in a rather old New York story, the Story of the Trapped Cat. No one knows how many cats have gotten stuck in the chimneys, walls and crevices of this city, but one thing is certain: Molly was not the first to cause a scene and attract the attention of onlookers, the authorities and reporters.


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