WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Celia Rivenbark is notorious for her humorous newspaper columns. The award-winning best selling author is known for her edgy jokes. So when she posted on Facebook that a one-eyed cat showed up on her doorstep, readers had to pause wondering if she was making a funny. She wasn’t.
“I was working at my kitchen table and looked up and she was just outside my window,” Rivenbark said. “She was stalking a cardinal.”
Rivenbark, the author of several books including Bless Your Heart, Tramp and Rude Bitches Make Me Tired, assumed the surprise visitor belonged to a neighbor.
“I did think she belonged to new neighbors who moved in behind me recently. Most people in Carolina Heights know to keep kitties indoors at night because we have coyotes living in Oakdale Cemetery,” Rivenbark said. “She was so cute and the one-eyed business was memorable. I named her Janine after the poor blinded character in The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Meanwhile, about 10 miles away in the Ogden area, Colleen Applewhite was missing her cat, Lil Bit. Her one-eyed wonder disappeared April 9.
“By Tuesday, April 19, I was resigning myself that she was killed by a coyote,” Applewhite said. “I had searched my neighborhood with my dog every day and when I was driving home Monday night I saw a fur carcass that had her coloring in a neighbor’s yard. I told myself I was going to have to let it go but I decided to pay for one more Pawboost Alert Wednesday morning.”
Lil Bit got a lot of facetime on social media. Rivenbark took a picture of her guest cat and posted it in a neighborhood group chat. Denise Overman, a neighbor of Rivenbark’s, thought the cat resembled another post of a missing one-eyed cat.
“I messaged the owner that I thought I knew where her cat was and went to Celia’s house to fill her in,” Overman said. “The owner came and after a while and lots of help from Celia’s husband, they caught Lil Bit under the house!”
It was an answer to a prayer for Applewhite.
“I have never been more grateful,” Applewhite said. “I bargained, prayed, and promised the universe to just get her back. I have three other cats and five dogs and she is the ringleader and my dog Piper’s best friend.”
So how in the world did Lil Bit end up over 10 miles away from home? Did she walk that far dodging cars and avoiding potential predators? Her owner has no idea. She’s just grateful two ladies — a famous author and her neighbor — cared enough to get Lil Bit back home.
“I did not know Celia but I felt like I did immediately,” said Applewhite. “She invited me onto her porch while I waited for a trapper to come and gave me a drink and some cookies. Her husband spent a couple hours in the crawl space with me before I caught her (Lil Bit) with my sweatshirt.”
“I do have a one-eyed cat just like Lil Bit and I can’t imagine how frightened she must have been,” said Overman. “And as an owner, I can only imagine how frantic her owner must have been.”
All three ladies agree they will likely never know how a one-eyed cat ended up so many miles away from home. Leave it to the famous author, though, to come up with a possibility worth writing about.
“Perhaps she hitched a ride,” Rivenbark said.
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