By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — There’s not a chicken bone in this cat’s body.
A jet black cat named Chicken was reunited with his owner on March 30 in Derry. The favored feline got lost in the middle of a family move to Florida.
His owner, Walter Budzian, traveled back to Derry from Florida to claim his pet cat. The emotional reunion was held at the Handel With Care Veterinary Hospital. A local woman had found Chicken and brought him to the Handel clinic until Budzian could be notified.
That made for one happy ending.
Budzian was in the process of moving from Derry to Florida about a month ago. He said he was packing and moving belongings back and forth into his vehicle when 9-year-old Chicken somehow got out and wandered off.
“I searched and searched,” he said. “He hadn’t gotten out of the house in years.”
With a storm approaching that weekend and a strict time limit to get out of the home before new owners moved in, Budzian had to leave without Chicken.
“Driving away was the worst,” he said. “I pretended in my head that somebody must have found him.”
Budzian immediately posted a lost cat notice on Craigslist, hoping someone in this area might find Chicken. He asked anyone finding his cat to take him to Handel With Care.
“I kept posting every 48 hours,” he said. “I was really scared and I really had no hope.”
A woman did eventually locate the cat. She, too, posted a photo of Chicken on Craigslist. She ultimately made the connection with Budzian, who then planned to fly back to Derry to retrieve his cat. He flew on Jet Blue and also made arrangements for a special cat seat for Chicken.
Handel staff kept telling Chicken his “dad” was on his way.
When Chicken first saw Budzian come through the door, he began to purr.
“He knows it’s you, he loved us, but not like that,” Handel practice manager Kim Cinquegrana said. “We’re all going to cry.”
Handel staff members heralded Budzian’s commitment to find his cat.
“The dedication of that owner (is amazing),” Cinquegrana said.
Seeing this cat tale end happily gave a boost to the entire Handel With Care family.
The previous week had been sad, with several dogs being euthanized, including one staff member who had to put her own dog to sleep. Cats often are not often found when they are lost.
“It’s good to have a happy ending to this week,” Cinquegrana said.
Chicken lost a few pounds while on the run, Handel With Care staff said. All in all, he was a very well behaved cat and he will be missed at the clinic, they said.
“He was the sweetest thing,” Cinquegrana said. “He’s amazing and left a little of himself here in Derry.”