FOUND: Pookie the cat, who was worth a $1k reward, ‘jumped into my arms’

Pookie the cat, who had been missing since Oct. 13, was found by owner Greg DiStefano with the aid of a helpful tipster who he said didn’t even want the $1,000 reward.

LostCat - found

DiStefano, who also owns the Victor Cafe on Dickinson near 13th, said a woman who lives near 13th and Bigler called him several times over the past few weeks saying she had spotted Pookie. She sent him a picture of the cat more than two weeks ago, but the angle of the shot made it difficult to see whether it was really him.

DiStefano said he couldn’t rule it out, though. “I went to her back alley many times over last two weeks, sometimes 1 in the morning, 2 in the morning, shaking a bag of food and calling for the cat,” he said. “All the neighbors must have thought I was crazy.”

The woman got a clearer picture of the cat on Monday, “and I’m comparing every gray line, every whisker” on the computer, he said. “And wife comes up and says, ‘Oh my god, that’s him!’ ”

The next morning, DiStefano went to 13th and Bigler at 6 a.m. ready to do a stakeout. “About 6:30, my cat appears out of nowhere, jumps up on the fence, and I ran over. The closer I got I couldn’t believe it. He saw me and let out a big meow. … He jumped into my arms was just going crazy.”

DiStefano said Pookie was very dirty, a little beat up, with eyes were glazed over. He brought him to the vet yesterday and was praying for a full recovery.

He said that the woman who found Pookie tried to turn down the money, but he insisted that she take it. “I gave that lady the reward, even though she didn’t want it,” he said. “Maybe in some karmic way, she needed it, and so finding the cat was the way she got $1,000.” He also gave her a gift certificate to his restaurant. “She is a wonderful woman.”

DiStefano reiterated that he knows a lost cat isn’t the most pressing problem in the world. But this particular cat has been with his family since his wife found Pookie among a litter of kittens that was abandoned in a window well at his house seven years ago. Pookie was the only survivor, and they fed him with an eyedropper for months.

Pookie, who is neutered, started acting up about eight months ago after the family took in a stray with no teeth. But DiStefano said Pookie had never been outside longer than four or five hours before he disappeared. Somehow, he crossed Snyder and Oregon Avenues to get all the way down to Bigler. “I can’t imagine what he was thinking.”

DiStefano said he was overwhelmed with all offers for help and phone calls he received, even the tips that led nowhere.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “it just gives you hope.”

14 thoughts on “FOUND: Pookie the cat, who was worth a $1k reward, ‘jumped into my arms’

  • November 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Woo hoo! I am so happy for Mr. DiStefano and his wife, and for Pookie! I have seen Pookie’s flyers around the neighborhood and have been on the look out for him the past few weeks. It is so nice to see a story with a happy ending. Thanks Passyunk Post for following up on this story.

  • November 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    So glad to hear the DiStefano’s got Pookie back! Big thanks to the neighbor who helped him locate the cat. It must be nice to know that you live in a neighborhood where people are willing to take time out of their day to help another neighbor solve a problem (yes, lost cats count!). Love this story. Thanks for sharing.

    • November 7, 2013 at 7:54 am

      This is good news.

  • November 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Awesome news!!!!

  • November 8, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I’ve been following this story from San Diego (I grew up on Passyunk Avenue, in 732 way back when it was yellow) and am so happy for the family and Pookie! Great story, great coverage. It would be fun to have periodic updates on Pookie … he could be the mascot, maybe!

  • November 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Best story ever and a happy ending!

  • November 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I just teared up a little. I’ve had my out for Pookie since the first flyer went up and figured after 1 week…forget it. Your cat is gone. Having cats of my own who have gotten out I can relate to that sad hopeless feeling. Thrilled that owner and kitty have been reunited with the help of a kind stranger!

  • November 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    This is great news! I’ve also seen the Pookie flyers around my neighborhood on Dickinson (I’m further down, by 7th) and have been keeping an eye out. I just saw a flyer last night and thought that he must still be lost. Glad to hear he was found! Yay!

  • November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    So happy to read this! We’ve been on the lookout for a while now and are so glad to hear he’s back home safe!

  • November 11, 2013 at 8:47 am

    This is truly great news that this cat has been reunited with it’s family – but the fliers are still up in the neighborhood…..

    • November 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Nothing stopping you from taking them down now that you know the cat was found.

  • November 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hooray for Pookie and especially Gregg, who never gave up!

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