Annie is home.
The now famous Buckerfield's cat that was catnapped Saturday from her store home in Kelowna was back in the shop Wednesday greeting customers.
After four days on the road with strangers Annie was turned into RCMP in Ashcroft and brought back to Kelowna safe and sound.
The store is relieved she is happy and healthy, yet has chosen not to charge the cat-nappers who made a mistake, but ended up doing the right thing by returning Annie.
Store Manager Jeff Cameron says, it all began this past Saturday April 12, when a couple, in their 50’s, came into the store, picked up Annie and left.
He says a regular customer just so happened to be coming in at the same time and mentioned that Annie was leaving the store in someone's arms. Store employee, and the one closest with Annie, Chelsea ran outside and chased the truck that took off with Annie inside.
“As she got close to the vehicle, both people kind of looked and pointed at Chelsea and away they went. The first thing she did was call the RCMP,” said Cameron
Cameron says the RCMP responded quickly and were very helpful.
In addition to the RCMP, local media became involved and Castanet’s original article detailing the theft garnered over 140,000 views.
“Instantly the response to Annie was tremendous, within an hour there were several thousand hits on the Castanet article and this thing was exploding,” said Cameron.
The Okanagan community then rallied behind the store trying to identify the vehicle with Annie inside.
“It was a very distinctive truck. A Dodge truck with an orangey colour that was very unique with a black spoiler,” said Cameron.
Someone even called from the Dodge dealership to tell them it was a very limited truck, with only seven in the Okanagan.
Through local media he believes the cat nappers saw the story, felt bad and turned themselves into the RCMP in Ashcroft.
Cameron says the cat thieves had been in Kelowna on Saturday, at the SCPA, looking to replace a cat of theirs that had recently died. The couple was first told to pick up a cat carrier from Buckerfield’s before they could take home an SPCA cat and when they saw Annie, it reminded them of their own cat.
“And I think in the spur of the moment they just picked her up and left.”
They turned her in to the Ashcroft RCMP and without any incident.
Chelsea drove to Kamloops and picked her up last night.
Cameron has said no one will be pressing charges.
“We are not that kind of people and you know we all make mistakes in life and what would be the benefit to us, or anybody?”
He also says another person called the store this morning to say they have a cat that also looks like Annie and wants to donate it to the couple. That person was directed to contact the Ashcroft police in order to get in touch with the cat nappers.
“At the end of the day, life goes on and Annie is happy to be home I guess, and we’ll have a big party for her next weekend.”
He says Buckerfield's is hosting a 'Come and see Annie party' and a thank you to the 'community party' the weekend of April 25. There will be free burgers, hotdogs and pictures with Annie and hopefully a petting zoo, and donations to the SPCA will be accepted. He says details will be determined soon.
Cameron adds that the response has really been overwhelming with people bringing in toys, prizes and money so Annie can get a GPS microchip put in.
With that response and the happy ending Cameron says charging the thieves would not be the right thing to do.
“We have nothing against these people, they made a mistake. They know they made a mistake – they turned her in.”
Annie will now continue her rather 'set in stone life' of doing what she wants on her terms. She will continue to go and come from the store as she pleases, sleep in the warehouse at night, keep birds away from the bird seed, visit nearby businesses, love big dogs and hate little dogs, bring in a live mouse from the nearby field to play with once in a while and of course, greet customers everyday.
“I have never met a cat with such neat personality, almost human like,” says Cameron fondly.
“At the end of the day it is a very happy story, with a very happy ending.”
Annie would say it is a 'purrfect' ending.