Cat reunited with family after more than a year

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2002

KODIAK (AP) -- ''Rascal'' the cat has been reunited with his family after being on the lam for more than a year.

The saga began when Terry and Tracy Michalski, a Coast Guard couple, began the long drive from their home in St. Louis to Kodiak in June 2001 after being transferred.

The family's three cats and two dogs were along for the ride while the couple's three children stayed with relatives. The trip started off rocky when Rascal, their daughters 6-month-old Himalayan kitten, ran off the first night at the hotel.

More than just a name, ''Rascal was also his personality,'' Terry said. They found the kitten behind a dresser, and for the next leg of the trip he kept close. But on the Alaska-Canada Highway, Rascal pulled the disappearing act again, this time taking off from the Caribou Hotel in Glennallen.

The couple searched for the impish fuzzball for six hours, covering the hotel grounds, including the restaurant and gift shop, but to no avail.

The Michalskis continued on to Kodiak where they settled into their new life. ''My daughter was heartbroken,'' Terry said.

Meanwhile back in Glennallen, desk clerk Marylee Hannan spotted Rascal scurrying around under the hotel with several other cats. However, no one could get near him.

''Once our manager caught him, but since Rascal bit him, we all figured the cat went wild,'' Hannan said.

The Michalskis gave up hope that Rascal would ever come home. Then the hotel decided to remove the cats from the premises. Rascal was finally caught and Hannan attempted to contact the Michalskis.

But the family had changed their cell phone number and it was unlisted. Hannan took Rascal home.

Hannan turned to a Web site often used by those in the Coast Guard. The site led her to e-mail Terry Monday morning.

After making arrangements, Hannan drove to Valdez where she put Rascal on a plane.

Late Thursday morning, the Michalski children -- Stephanne, Brent, and Kathy -- were reunited with Rascal. They were surprised at how big he'd grown.

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