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Cats' Adventures & Travels 2

Molly from the Deli-cat-essen
Precious, a 9/11 cat

Molly from the Deli-cat-essen

Greenwich Village, New York

Black cat Molly made world headlines in April 2006 when she became trapped in a maze of walls, beams and pipes in the basement of a delicatessen in Greenwich Village, New York. Eleven months old at the time, Molly is the resident mouser at Myers of Keswick, a popular establishment catering to a clientele who like British food items not generally available in US stores; and of course, like most cats, she is curious.

Molly, the cat from the Myers of Keswick delicatessen, in her rescue cage - Greenwich Village, New York, 2006
One of the kittens used to try to tempt Molly out before she was rescued, New York, 2006

When she went missing it was feared she'd died, but after about 12 days she was heard mewing, and so rescue efforts were renewed. Police, fire department and animal-rescue organisations were all at the scene, and all manner of methods were tried in an effort to coax out the cat. These included cat food, a one-pound raw fish, catnip, a cat therapist, a miniature video camera to try to see where she was trapped — even two kittens were drafted in (left), to try to appeal to Molly's maternal instincts. All these efforts failed. Mike Pastore, field director of the Animal Care and Control Department of New York City, said it was the most difficult case he had ever attended.

Observers from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission showed up before the final bid was made to rescue Molly by drilling and hammering out bricks in the building's cellar, because the 157-year-old structure is part of a historic district and cannot be altered. Eventually a hole was drilled from inside the shop, through layers of brick, to reach the cat; she was finally brought out after 14 days by Kevin Clifford, a tunnel worker who had volunteered for the project. It turned out that she had been stuck between bricks and a piece of sheet metal, and her rescuer had to 'grab her by the legs'. 'Paws were flying everywhere; it took a little struggle to get her in a cage,' said Clifford.

Peter Myers, owner of the deli, said Molly seemed to be 'in great shape', despite her ordeal. 'I'm amazed how well she looks,' he added. 'She was always a fit cat, otherwise she couldn't have survived fourteen days.' He also said the deli had been 'very busy' as a result of the events unfolding there.

Soon the feline was tucking into her first meal (nibbles of roast pork, sardines in oil); then she was able to retire to the basket in the shop where she sleeps, for a well-earned rest.

In late December of 2006, in a roundup of the year's news stories, the New York Times had a short update:

It is a central tenet of the news that everybody loves a good animal story, and the most uplifting mammal tale this year was Molly the Cat. Molly was, of course, the ill-fated, 11-month-old cat trapped for two weeks in April in a wall at Myers of Keswick, a British dry goods shop on Hudson Street.

'She's absolutely fine now, in the pink of her condition,' Molly's owner, Peter Myers, said last week. 'Here she comes strolling toward me now. She has quite the spring in her step.' Almost every day, he said, two or three well-wishers wander through the door of the shop to inquire after Molly's health. They scratch her cheeks or rub her belly as she dawdles in her basket by the window. The attention has gone to her head. 'She does seem somewhat arrogant in her demeanor now,' he said. 'Still, she stays very clear of the gap where she was trapped.'

Further reading

Precious, a 9/11 survivor

A small piece of good news that came out of the horror and destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was the rescue and survival of a white Persian cat from an apartment close to the WTC. The owner, Mrs Kerr, and her husband were away for a long weekend when the tragedy occurred; they returned to a heavily damaged home and what they presumed was a dead cat.

However, some time after the attack rescuers responded to reports of a cat heard crying on the building's roof, and Precious was recovered with the aid of a rescue dog. She was taken to an SPA van that was on site treating some of these dogs for exhaustion and exposure. Having been without food for 18 days she had lost 2 pounds in weight (nearly a kilo) and was dirty and dehydrated; she also had some eye injuries, and burns on her paws from the building's hot roof. With the aid of some of her favourite food, however — sliced turkey — Precious was soon on the road to recovery.

AOL's Inside Edition... Looks Back collection has two clips recalling news stories from 9/11, and Precious appears with her owner at the start of the second: Untold Stories of 9/11 - Part 2 (preceded by an advert).

Precious the cat, rescued following the 9/11 disaster, with her owner after being rescued, 2001

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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.

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