Cat that fled moving truck in Pa. is reconnected with family

Posted 8 November 2014 at 12:00 am

ID on collar pinpointed owner of Sam, an orange tabby

Photo by Howard Balaban – Jeff Stahl and Rachael Goldstein, left, of Harrisburg, Pa., meet with Adam and Nikki Hefner, of Watertown, Saturday morning in Batavia to return Sam, the Hefners’ cat. Sam jumped out of a moving truck unbeknownst to the couple during their move from Georgia. Stahl and Goldstein were in New York to visit his family in Medina.

By Howard Balaban
Special to the Orleans Hub

BATAVIA – For Adam and Nikki Hefner, moving from Georgia to their new home in Watertown was going to be difficult enough. The 1,100-mile trek saw both of them driving, as Adam drove a moving truck and followed behind Nikki, who was riding with her dad.

Adam is a specialist in the Army and will be stationed at Fort Drum. He has already served a tour of duty in Iraq. Several days ago, during the move, Nikki got into a small accident on Interstate 81 near Harrisburg, Pa.

“I got out to make sure they were OK,” Adam recalled, mentioning that their small convoy pulled off on an exit to gather themselves.

The Hefners’ cat, Sam, was riding in the cab of the truck with Adam. About 20 miles back into their journey to Watertown, Adam realized that Sam must have left the truck during the commotion.

“I thought he had stayed under the seat,” he said. “I told Nikki, ‘I can’t find the cat.'”

Thankfully, the couple had put a collar with contact information on a tag on Sam. And Sam, an orange tabby, made his way to the front porch of a Harrisburg couple.

“He was on our front porch when I got home at night,” Rachael Goldstein said. “First I brought him over to the neighbor’s house because she has a lot of cats, but it wasn’t hers. Then I figured just to be safe, I’d call the number on the tag.”

The call came as a bit of shock to the Hefners.

“I was glad to hear he was okay and that we could arrange something,” said a relieved Nikki. “I thought he had been hit on 81.”

Indeed, Goldstein and her boyfriend, Jeff Stahl, had made prior plans to visit his family in Medina this weekend. She chuckled as she recalled how easily the situation unfolded, as it led to a meeting Saturday morning in Batavia, where Sam was reunited with his owners.

“It was closer for them, but it’s still a long drive,” Goldstein said. Adam said he probably would have driven to Pennsylvania for the family pet, but said he was thankful the drive was essentially cut in half.

Adam added that he was thankful to have tags on Sam, because it definitely worked. Nikki noted that Sam used to be allowed to roam wherever he wanted, but thanks to this recent adventure he will now remain an indoor cat.

As the couples parted ways, an attempt was made to compensate both Stahl and Goldstein, but neither one accepted anything.

“We just took care of him the past couple days,” Goldstein said. “He’s such a friendly cat, and we just wanted him to get back to his home. It was worth bringing him up and meeting up with his owners so we could do that.”