Family seeks to reunite autistic boy with his pet cat

This photo, courtesy of Sara Krueger, shows the family cat Alita.
This photo, courtesy of Sara Krueger, shows the family cat Alita.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 7:26 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sara Krueger and her three sons were away on a family camping trip in late August when their cat Alita went missing. They had raised Alita from a kitten. It was hard on everyone, but for 6-year-old Holden Ramirez, it’s been especially tough. Holden is autistic, and while his cat is not a registered support animal, she provided him with support that has made it easier for Ramirez to handle various daily challenges.

“His speech is mainly what’s impacted,” Krueger told Alaska’s News Source. “He can’t really fully communicate with an outsider.”

According to Krueger, they noticed the cat’s absence on the evening of Aug. 27. She quickly took to Facebook, asking for help finding Alita. Before long, someone let her know that the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Shelter had posted a picture of the cat safe and sound. While the relief was still setting in, Krueger made another discovery.

“She had been put up for adoption and adopted within the same day," she said.

The animal shelter’s policy is to hold animals for 72 hours before putting the animal up for adoption. If the animal in question comes in with identification, the waiting period grows to 120 hours. Any other exceptions are only made if an animal appears to need further medical care or evaluation.

“I explained to them that it’s Holden’s cat, and that he has autism and that it’s hard for him to be away from her," Krueger said. "Their hands were tied.”

The shelter’s animal care Chief, Matt Hardwig said these situations are not common, but do occur occasionally. There are no rules for addressing these instances when they arise, but the shelter cannot disclose a client’s personal information to any other member of the public. The only surefire way to give animal control officers a way to track down an owner is to have their pets microchipped.

Krueger still hopes that whoever adopted Alita will hear about the situation and return Ramirez’s cat. Until then, she’s leaving her bedroom window open in hopes that their family pet will find her way home on her own.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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