his story begins on September 9, 2002 in Los Angeles, California when Stinky the cat did not come home for dinner as he usually does. His person (whom we will call BE) has two other cats (one of whom is Stinky’s sister) and they came home without him. BE was not too concerned until he still did not show up for breakfast the next morning.  BE searched high and low, put notices up all over the neighborhood, and called every animal hospital, but no one had seen him and he still did not come home. About a week later a neighbor even told her that he had seen a cat that looked like Stinky, dead by the side of the road about a half mile away – this was never confirmed, however.


This is the Amazing StinkyMeanwhile, in San Francisco, California around the middle of October, Stinky was spotted wandering around the Twin Peaks area appearing hungry but otherwise in good shape. The person who noticed him (we’ll call her BT) feeds some cats in the area and started feeding him along with the others. She noticed that he had a collar and tag, but he would not let her close enough to read the tag. At first assuming he was a neighborhood cat, she wasn’t too concerned. After a couple of weeks of his showing up at the daily feedings she started thinking that he must be a lost pet. She put notices up all over the neighborhood and also at the local animal shelter - San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) where she volunteers. She also mentioned him to many neighbors and put a posting on craigslist San Francisco. After another week of no one claiming him, she decided to try to befriend him and if not capture him right away, at least get the information off the tag. BT lured him closer each day with canned food and was able to decipher the cat’s name “Stinky” and “Los Angeles”. She could tell there also was a name and two phone numbers but the print was too small to read even though she was only about 2 feet from the cat. She did manage to get part of a name and phone number but could never get close enough to read all the letters and numbers. She even tried to call what she thought was the number and kept getting a cell phone that no one answered. Stinky was still a pretty scared cat and he would not let her touch him so she decided she better try to catch him. It took a few weeks before she finally caught him and by then his collar and tag had come off. So, she took him to SFACC where they scanned him for a microchip (there was none). They kept him for five days to give someone time to claim him. BT put out updated flyers and postings stating that Stinky was now at SFACC and she visited him daily. Still, no one called her or claimed him. He was still a very scared cat and needed some socializing, so with the help of the SFSPCA feral fix program (where she also volunteers) BT was able to take him out of the shelter and into her home, still determined to find out who he belonged to. 


It is now right before Christmas and at this point BT realizes that perhaps the focus should be on Los Angeles since no one in San Francisco has claimed him and it did says Los Angeles on his tag, unbelievable at that seemed. She had initially limited her search to San Francisco because that’s where she found him and assumed the tag must have had old info on it. Figuring it to be a long shot she posted a listing on craigslist Los Angeles and attached a photo of him. She made sure to put the cat’s name, STINKY in capital letters in the title of the posting.


Back in Los Angeles, BE has lost all hope of ever finding Stinky. She doesn’t know about craigslist but a neighbor just happens to be looking at the pets section a few days after New Year’s and sees the posting.  He thinks he recognizes Stinky’s picture from the posters BE had put up, but no longer has a copy of one.  He has no idea who BE is, or how to contact her. He had saved one of the posters for several months, but had thrown it out only a week earlier! In desperation, he digs through his garbage hoping the poster might still be there, but it’s gone. Suddenly he remembers seeing one of the posters in a nearby building, and fortunately, finds that it is still there. He calls BE right away and tells her that someone in San Francisco might have her cat – she can’t believe that after all this time he is still alive, much less so far from home, but she sees the photo and knows it is him. She sends an email to BT and when there is no reply right away she posts an urgent message on SF’s craigslist to find out if anyone knows how to contact BT. Through a few helpful souls who saw the posting, BE got BT’s phone number from SFACC and called her the next day.  BE arranged to drive up to SF from LA the following morning and thus, after almost exactly four months, Stinky was reunited with BE.


How Stinky got to San Francisco and what happened to him between Sept. 9 and mid-October 2002 is still a mystery. It is assumed that he stowed away on a moving van or truck.