Sylvana Welski and Pauley
Sylvana Welski and Pauley
Anett Seidler*

BERLIN - It's an animal story with a happy ending, five years in the making.

A Berlin woman who’d lost her tabby cat "Pauley" in 2008 had an almost unthinkable surprise waiting for her at the capital's Tierheim animal shelter. "When I got the letter a few days ago from the shelter saying my cat had been found, I couldn’t believe it,” said owner Sylvana Welski.

When she recovered her last weekend, Welski's tears were so profuse that even shelter personnel were moved. The cat, described as "reserved," recognized the 33-year-old immediately, scampering straight over to her.

After Pauley climbed out an open window that day in late 2008, Welski searched for days, hanging “Missing” posters around her neighborhood. She also contacted the Amtliche Tiersammelstelle (official animal collection point) but to no avail.

ID chip

Even if Pauley had seeminly disappeared forever, she was not forgotten: Welski had gotten her as a very young kitten in early 2006 and bottle-fed her, so she was particularly attached to the cat.

Meanwhile Pauley had indeed been found by a man who lived only a few hundred meters away, and was apparently unaware that it is mandatory to call authorities to report found animals. "The first thing to do is notify the Amtliche Tiersammelstelle or the police and they will send someone to collect a lost animal," says Wolfgang Apel, president of the Berlin animal protection association.

It was only when the finder had Pauley sterilized a few weeks back, and the tabby no longer got along with his other cats after the operation, that he brought her to the shelter. It was then that staff were surprised to find that Pauley had a chip identifying Welski as the owner.

Although Pauley could have been returned immediately after she disappeared, Welski says she bears the man no grudge. "Pauley has been doing well all these years, that’s the important thing. I’m just so happy to have her back."

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation

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