Cat returns home after being missing for 9 months

Feline appears to be well fed after disappearing in March

Teresa Bleakley holds her 3-year-old cat Percy at her valley home on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Percy was found after being lost for nine months. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Percy Jackson Bleakley had never been away from home for more than three days until this March. It was then that Percy, a 2-year-old tabby cat, disappeared.


Teresa Bleakley sprung into action, going door-to-door in her neighborhood in the Mendenhall Valley asking if anyone had seen Percy. She posted on community Facebook pages, and Percy became one of Juneau’s most recognizable pets as people commented on and shared Teresa’s posts.

As she searched, Teresa found that other cats in her neighborhood had also gone missing, a discovery that launched a great deal of gossip about whether there was somebody in the area who was trapping cats. The lack of any clear information was frustrating for the Bleakleys.

“That was the hard part, as far as not knowing what had happened to him,” Teresa said. “Was he still around? Was he being taken care of? Was he dead? What happened to him?”

Weeks turned into months, with spring and summer giving way to fall and winter. Hope had faded so much by this past Sunday that when Teresa got a call from the Gastineau Humane Society, she immediately thought that maybe her family’s dog Lila had gotten out.

The real reason for the call made Teresa break down in tears, she remembered. Sometime during the night Saturday, somebody had come by the GHS 24-hour drop-off kennel and had brought in Percy. Nine months after he had disappeared, Percy had been found.

“It had been so long, it just never even occurred to me,” Teresa said.

Teresa, her husband Keith and their 16-year-old daughter Reece immediately went over to GHS to pick up their cat, which had just turned 3 years old this fall.

They had adopted him when he was just a kitten, when Reece had volunteered at GHS and had fallen for him. His name was Sage then, but Reece renamed him after the titular character in the Percy Jackson &The Olympians novels.

As Teresa and Reece sat in their home a few days later and watched Percy dart around the house, they marveled at how normal it seemed.

“It’s like he was never gone,” Reece said.

One aspect was different about Percy — he had gained some weight. It was the first thing Teresa noticed when she saw Percy last week.

Animal Control Officer Andy Nelson said there wasn’t a ton of information given about Percy’s return. With it being after hours, nobody was there to see or talk to the person who returned Percy. The returner did fill out an information card that provided some details, though.

Percy had shown up at this person’s house in the area of Montana Creek Road — a pretty far distance away from the Bleakley house, Teresa noted — and had gotten in through the person’s dog door. Percy had been coming to that house recently, the card said, looking to get something to eat.

Nelson laughed as he said Percy seems to have accomplished his mission of finding food.

“He was fat and happy when found,” Nelson said. “He was going there for a while, if not a few other places.”

Nelson said the rumors about somebody trapping cats were just that — rumors. There was one case, he said, of a dispute between two people resulting in one stealing the other’s cat and taking it out the road. That was an isolated case, Nelson said. Cats roam, he said. These kind of situations happen.

Whatever happened to Percy, it has the Bleakley family curious. They’re happy that Percy’s back just in time for the holidays, but they’d love to learn more about what happened the past nine months.

“I just don’t know. It’s weird,” Teresa said. “I wish he could talk. He’d have a story to tell.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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