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Saturday, April 15, 2006

14 Days

Molly the cat

The Fraidy-Cat of Hudson Street Is Yanked to Safety

Published: April 15, 2006

The epic search for Molly, the black, 11-month old fraidy-cat stuck in the wall of a Greenwhich village food store for two weeks, ended in jubilation last night after rescue workers spotted her in a small opening and quickly yanked her away to safety.

Molly's return came at 10:13 p.m., prompting a crowd of dozens of reporters, photographers and neighborhood residents who had gathered outside the shop, Myers of Keswick at 634 Hudson, to erupt in cheers. Rescue workers said they had traced Molly's plaintive meows to an area near the ceiling of the shop, drilled a small hole, and spotted her crouched in a dark crawl space.

"I saw her eyes shining in the light," said Kevin Clifford, 33, the worker who pulled her out. "I was calling her and she was meowing to me. She was scared."

Peter Myers, the relieved owner of the shop, said he took Molly shortly after she was freed and fed her a lavish meal of lean belly pork and sardines in olive oil.

During the two week-ordeal, the media hubbub grew apace and cat agnostics grumbled about folderol.

For the past two weeks, Molly, a mouser of wandering disposition for a the British specialty-food shop, had been ensnared or spooked or disoriented somewhere between two buildings on Hudson Street, possibly in a dank, narrow 30-foot-long horizontal space at basement level.

Until last night, nothing had enticed Molly out of the darkness. Still, her faint meows can be heard.

Without food, rescued workers said, Molly could probably last for three weeks at most, so each passing day became more dangerous. Even if she caught an occasional mouse for food and licks the walls for moisture, they said, her situation is urgent.

Earlier yesterday, Josh Schermer, a volunteer who has helped in the search for the last 11 days and had heard Molly's cries, said "she sounds like she wants to get out more now."

A six-person rescue crew also began drilling additional holes in walls or widening holes they started earlier in the week. They were searching the space between 634 Hudson Street, where Molly would catch mice for Myers of Keswick, the British food shop, and 632 Hudson, which houses Hudson Bar and Books.

Feraz Mohammed, a city animal control officer, said an anonymous donor concerned about Molly's plight had pledged to cover the rescue costs, including the drilling of holes. Mr. Mohammed did not elaborate.

Last night, rescuers put out more traps in hopes of enticing Molly.

In a drizzly rain, crowds of bystanders ebbed and flowed on this corner near Horatio Street, sometimes pressing against the yellow police caution tape.

Cat lovers, including an elderly man wearing a pin with a cat wearing a halo and wings, watched expectantly. He kept blowing a dog whistle in a fruitless attempt to coax Molly out.

Maxine Albert ("I'm a psychic, but I also do pets") stood on the sidewalk, shouting down into the basement where rescuers worked. "I feel the cat in the wall on the lower left-hand side," she shouted. "My image is she is trapped."

A second psychic, who did not identify herself to reporters, tried to take her message directly to a City Department of Buildings inspector who appeared to rebuff her. She reacted with anger.

Rescuers had tried, to no avail, a pet psychologist, drills, high-tech miniature cameras on cables, cat food and raw fish, as well as oral enticements, presumably including the smacking noises peculiar to cat owners.

Epic is not an overstatement. This story has been on TV for two weeks. Efforts to open up the wall, to lure her out, interviews with her owner, an engineer to protect the building. I expect the rescuers to get awards for their work.

Rescue Kittens. They brought in rescue kittens

posted by Steve @ 12:48:00 AM

12:48:00 AM

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