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Huey is a cat about town
At first glance, the tabby cat with distinctive markings and sea-green eyes wandering the streets around the edge of the North end business district looks like a stray. Upon closer contact, however, the cat is not feral — he is unafraid and curious.
The cat's name is Huey, and his microchip is registered to the MercyVet clinic. He belongs to a woman who lives in an apartment along Island Crest Way.
The cat roams extensively and has entered several businesses. If the door is open, he will sashay right in — flicking his long, curved tail at its end.
Huey is a Bengal cat, a breed known for wanting attention, having an inquisitive nature and sometimes being quite vocal.
Last week, he darted into Island Books through an open side door and ventured into the children's section of the bookstore before an employee scooped him up. On Friday, he snuck into Hedman's Hair Salon from the alley behind the shop.
Keith Hedman walked the cat to the veterinary clinic next door, thinking he had gotten loose. The next day, Huey came back to the salon.
"He walked right into the shop, laid up on the couch and made himself right at home," Hedman said. "He's very friendly."
Huey didn't stay for long and left on his own through the back door.
"I'm a cat person, so it's not a big deal. He hasn't been a nuisance at all," Hedman said.
Staff at Lice Knowing You and Mercer Park Dentistry first noticed Huey about two or three months ago.
An employee of Lice Knowing You brought Huey to Island Cats, as other people have done. A preschool teacher once put Huey into a pillowcase and took him to the Humane Society after he came onto her school's porch. His microchip was scanned and he was released to his owner. Later, he returned to the preschool twice and was shooed away.
"He's certainly ended up on our doorstep," said Gary Marshall, a veterinarian at Island Cats. "We'd like to provide care for him, check for dental disease and any other issues. Our hands are tied if we don't have permission and authorization to do that."
But Marshall's staff doesn't leave Huey in the carrier. They provide food, water and a litter box for him temporarily until his owner takes him back. Marshall also set out a kennel and food in their back alley.
"If people are going to take a cat and be responsible for a cat, they need to keep that responsibility to keep them safe … to take care of them, to keep them from getting hit by a car, and protect them from diseases, whether it's this cat or any cat," Marshall said.
Nancy Gordon, who owns Lice Knowing You, said she last saw Huey three weeks ago.
"He was hanging out here for a very long time," she said. He would sit by the door and meow at clients as they went in and out.
Staff members started feeding the cat outside.
"He was so skinny — we were so worried," Gordon said.
Huey was occasionally allowed to come inside. Then, they discovered that he had fleas. He was promptly treated for that. But when he and the resident Scottish terrier couldn't get along, they stopped letting him in.
"Everyone loved him," Gordon said. "He's so loud and talkative … he's a very sweet cat."
The woman who owns Huey said that she cannot keep him indoors because she doesn't want her neighbors to be bothered if he is loud. He comes and goes, and is inside some nights. The woman said she is unable to afford veterinary care for Huey. She has owned five Bengal cats and got Huey from an Island pet store that is no longer in business. She has lived on Mercer Island for more than 20 years and used to reside in a house near Mercerdale Park. Someone who can provide a good home for Huey would be welcome to adopt him, with her permission, she said.
When Huey wandered into the parking lot outside of Sue's Tailor & Alteration, next to the Reporter office, he caught the attention of a Mercer Island High School senior. Alisa Andonian was picking up her prom dress. She went home and came back with some kibbles and canned food for Huey, who wasn't eating the scraps of raw fish that a nearby restaurant employee had just brought.
"It makes me sad to see cats roaming around, hungry, and not have a home," Andonian said.
Anyone who is interested in adopting Huey and can provide a good home for the cat may contact Huey's owner. For the owner's contact number, please email Rebecca Mar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Reporter office at (206) 232-1215.
Shanon Citron holds Huey at Lice Knowing You, where the cat settled down into an office chair (Claudia Moore/Contributed Photos).