By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News
November 16, 2007
So much for Banger, owner Allison Sayer figured.
Until two weeks ago.
Four months after disappearing into the Eagle River woods, the cat reappeared less than half a mile from where it was last seen, 2 pounds lighter but otherwise intact.
Banger's fantastic journey lasted another week, long enough for a visit to the vet and plane ride to her owner's new home in Sitka.
Sayer, 28, didn't see the "Wild Kingdom" encounter her neighbor described. Maybe a bear took the cat and lost interest, she said. Or maybe the neighbor didn't see what he thought he saw. Maybe it was a rabbit, not a cat.
What Sayer knows for sure is that a grizzly was hanging out near her home, not far from a salmon stream, early this summer. One day the bear visited her porch. A few days later, Banger went bye-bye and the neighbor told his story.
Sayer -- a graduate student in biology who just started a job with the state Department of Fish & Game -- assumed the worst: "I was pretty sure she was dead."
After about a month, Sayer stopped putting out food for Banger. She comforted herself with Banger's sister, Growler, and went on with life. She got a job as a research analyst and moved to Sitka with Growler in early October.
On Oct. 27, more than four months after Banger was last seen, a woman from Eagle River called.
The cat was back, still wearing a collar with Sayer's cell phone number. Banger was emaciated -- down from 10 pounds to 8 -- but otherwise OK. No open wounds or missing parts.
If a bear really did snatch her, she's one lucky kitty.
Rick Sinnott, a bear expert with Fish & Game, said grizzlies occasionally take cats. But cats rarely escape.
"They usually don't pick
them up very daintily," he said. "And they don't play
with their food the way cats do."
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com
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