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Monday, May 2, 2016

Telling the tale of the curious cat

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Former Brazil resident Julie Price and family took this snap shot of the cat, dubbed Otto, while he was in the process of being rescued from the bottom of their vehicle.
Telling stories is part of a journalists' life.

Sometimes, the subject a journalist is working with needs a little help telling their story.

This is one of those cases.

The following came from e-mails and a conversations with former local resident Julie Price and her dealing with one local cat. A cat that gives reason to the definition "nine lives."

Julie Price could hardly believe her eyes

Price grew up in Brazil. She now lives with her husband, Scott, in Champaign, Ill., where she is a Creative Writing Professor at the University of Illinois.

"I grew up here,' Price said.

She taught as a graduate student at Purdue University and has also spent two years in Phoenix, Ariz.

But all those years in the world of academia didn't prepare Price for what she had to deal with recently.

Just a few weeks ago, Price and her husband came back to Brazil for a visit with family.

The couple arrived in Brazil on a Thursday evening. As they began to unload their vehicle, Scott left the scene and went indoors.

While alone, Julie began to hear a loud "meowing." She turned to notice a large cat sitting in the yard of the next-door home.

She called for the cat, which immediately came over for some much needed affection.

Julie elected to feed the cat and she carried the animal inside to the garage.

But as she pushed the button to close the garage door, the cat "went ballistic," eventually rocketing out of her arms and underneath her parents' car.

Julie then went inside to get some food to "tempt" the cat out from underneath the car. But Otto, as she began to call the feline, had disappeared.

After an extensive search, she and her husband left a plate of food in the garage for Otto. Julie inspected the area every 20 minutes but to no avail.

The cat was gone.

Or was it.

The detective duo deduced they had missed the cat darting out of the garage as the door was coming down.

And went to bed.

But in the morning, the family discovered Otto had slept quite nicely in the garage.

As her mother got into her car to leave the home, she heard meowing.

Otto had been discovered, but the family found he was stuck inside the back end of the vehicle.

Carefully, the family elected to travel the one-mile jaunt to Warren Tire.

Mechanics in the business at the time, could hardly believe the story they had been told.

Until Otto meowed.

Warren Tire head mechanic Tony Bowles attempted to retrieve Otto by jacking the car up. It didn't work.

They then put the car on one of the businesses' lifts to rescue Otto.

Tony begins the long process of removing parts from the vehicle to get to Otto, as the family and Tony's wife, Jean -- who works in the office and runs it for her father -- all stand helpless.

After what seemed like an eternity, they see a paw.

After more parts are removed and tons of sweat has poured out of Tony's body, they can finally see Otto's face.

The rescue process is nearly complete as Tony gets help from a fellow mechanic and they pull Otto from the vehicle into a box Julie has brought with her.

After an hour of waiting for parts to be placed back on their vehicle, and taking time out to offer Otto some food, Julie and her husband discover the animal has no scratch.

No injuries. He's not even dirty.

"I've done my good deed for the day," Tony tells them refusing to accept any money for a job well done.

When Julie and Scott finally arrived back home, Otto went on his merry way.

"He looked like he was going to run and tell someone the story," she said. "It was wild. I was so glad that cat was OK. I'm a huge cat lover. He was stuck for 16 hours. I was so glad they were willing to work to get it out."

Julie and her husband were back in Brazil recently.

But there was no sign of Otto.