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Rockford cat missing for 5 months is home, thanks to perseverance of online community

Sookie the cat escaped from Tony Molnar's Rockford home in August 2020. Five months later, the cat was found, thanks to an online community never giving up.

ROCKFORD, Mich. — A cat that escaped from a Rockford man's house last summer has returned home, thanks to a Facebook community that refused to give up.

"I remember it was the morning of August 15th," said Tony Molnar, who is a self-proclaimed cat lover. "Every morning around 2 a.m., I feed my animals, and I noticed on that day that Sookie didn't show up and eat with the other cats."

It didn't take long for Tony to notice something else. He saw that one of his dining room windows was open and the screen had been dislodged.

"I quickly realized that Sookie had gotten out," Tony said.

Tony decided to go outside searching for Sookie. He says he was checking every building and house in his immediate area until the sun started to come up.

"I didn't find any sign of her," said Tony.

The days after Sookie's disappearance led to weeks, then months. During that time, Tony says he never gave up on finding the cat.

"People brought at least 15 cats to my house, wondering if they were Sookie, but none of them were," Tony added. 

Credit: Tony Molnar
Soon after Sookie escaped, Tony Molnar took to social media for help. A large online community in Rockford began working to find the cat.

Tony decided to leverage social media, with the hopes that a community of people may help. He posted a picture of Sookie and a brief description on one of the Rockford community Facebook pages.

"It blew up," Tony said. "People were commenting and sharing like crazy."

Tony and some Rockford residents continued searching for Sookie through the fall months, and over the holidays. Finally after months of searching, Sookie was found on Monday, Jan. 11.

"It was about 9 o'clock in the morning and I noticed that my phone started lighting up with notifications," said Tony. "People were commenting saying, 'I think your cat is downtown'."

Credit: Darcie Long
On Jan. 11, Darcie Long was near the downtown rock sculpture when she saw a cat sitting on it. She posted the pic to the Rockford Facebook group.

Tony opened a few of the notifications and saw that a person named Darcie Long posted a photo of a cat sitting on the Michael Young Memorial Monument (a man-made rock sculpture) which happens to be just a few blocks from his house.

"The cat certainly did look like Sookie," Tony said.

Immediately, he went down to the rock sculpture. When he go there, the cat found a hole in the rocks and ran down inside.

Tony and a few members of the community spent hours trying to coax the cat out of the rocks, but to no avail. 

They eventually baited a cat trap with tuna.

"We had people checking the trap at 10 o'clock at night, at 11, at 12 and at 1 a.m.," Tony said. "I went back down there at 2 a.m. and saw the cat was inside the trap.

"I immediately knew it was Sookie."

The next day, Tony took Sookie to a nearby veterinarian who gave the cat a clean bill of health.

"The ultimate takeaway is to never give up, get a good support network around you, and whether or not you like social media, we need to use it because that's what brought my cat home," Tony said.

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