Niles pets reunited

Published 8:10 am Saturday, January 20, 2007

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Two furry friends were recently united after a month of separation.
On Dec. 19, 2006, Mark and Darcy Kromer of Niles, who live near Barron Lake, started their morning as they did everyday, by letting their black and grey tiger cat outside. But, Tommy John never came back, and the Kromer's golden retriever – and Tommy John's good buddy – U.B. Brown, wasn't the same without his feline friend.
"These two are the best friends in the world," Mark said. "The dog has been a basket case for four weeks, getting in trouble and playing rough."
Darcy was devastated, Mark said, and he even considered on more than one occasion picking up a new kitten in hopes of raising the spirits of his wife and U.B. Brown. The Kromers said both pets would sleep in the bed with them, and without Tommy John, Darcy and U.B. Brown were losing sleep.
"If you knew the emotions that were going through this home and how many times I about went to the Humane Society and got a cat," Mark said.
Added Darcy, "He usually sleeps with us every night. It's real hard to sleep at night when you're used to sleeping with an animal. [Tommy John and U.B. Brown are] always touching or they're laying in the same position."
The Kromers placed an ad for their missing cat in the Niles Daily Star, knocked on doors in the neighborhood – meanwhile meeting a lot of nice neighbors – but the 2-year-old cat never surfaced. Then, on Thursday Mark said he got a call from a good friend Sandy Taylor who told him she saw an ad in the Daily Star listing a found cat fitting Tommy John's description.
"If Sandy Taylor wouldn't have called us we'd have never looked [in the paper]. I call the phone number and it's our neighbor, Cathy Zavoral," Mark said. "After four weeks he was within seeing distance."
Zavoral is a regular at Blueberry Hill House of Pancakes on South 11th Street, Mark said, and on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 18 she found a "soaking wet cat" crying outside the restaurant. Zavoral picked him up and put the cat in her van while she went inside to eat, but once she got her breakfast she brought Tommy John four pieces of bacon, which he "inhaled," Mark said.
"She said he slept on the dashboard all the way home," he noted.
Tommy John looked like he had been eating while he was away from home, Mark said, and his only injury was on his tail, which he was still favoring Friday. But, the Kromers had an appointment at the veterinarian that afternoon to get it checked out.
Zavoral is also missing a cat and, ironically enough, her "missing cat" ad appeared directly below the spot advertising the cat she found – Tommy John. But, Zavoral is still waiting to find her pet.
"So we are really, really looking for her cat," Mark said.
He also added he and Darcy plan on giving Zavoral a gift certificate to Blueberry Hill, and, he joked, asking the owner to throw in four pieces of free bacon to make up for the part of her meal that went to Tommy John.
The Kromer's live off Huntly Road by Barron Lake. They are asking anyone who knows how their cat got to Blueberry Hill, and was gone four weeks to the day, to please call (269) 683-3844.
"It's going to kill us not knowing how he got from here to there," Mark said of that day that started out as so many others. "Come to think of it, he did miss his breakfast that morning."