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Monday, August 4, 2008

The Return of the Ballard Cat Mystery

posted by on August 4 at 15:52 PM


With the help of Ballard residents and victims Matt and Sybil, I am not only restoring the previous information about the Ballard Cat Mystery, but also enhancing it with new details. From Matt:

Here is a rundown of the case you are interested.

Our family cat, Benjamin, went missing on Saturday, July 26. He is an old guy who Sybil has had for 15 years. He goes outside every couple days but doesn’t go far, so we regrettably did not have a collar or microchip on him.

He did not come home that night, which never happens. We searched the immediate area where he normally hangs out and could not find him.

The next day, Sunday July 27, Sybil put Lost Cat posters up all over our neighborhood. And I mean ALL over our neighborhood.

We received 5 or 6 calls last week, most of which led us to two similar-looking cats in our neighborhood. Our immediate neighbors also allowed us to search their yards in case he had found a peaceful spot nearby to pass away.

This Saturday, I went door to door handing out fliers or posting them on people’s doors if they weren’t home.

Sometime between midnight and 7 a.m. on Sunday, August 3, someone pinned a manila folder to the telephone pole outside our apartment building, beneath one of our 11x17 lost cat fliers. Someone had handwritten “To Benjamin’s Family” on the outside of the envelope. Inside was a type written note that said exactly:

To Benjamin’s Family Benjamin was found near here in physical distress. He was vomiting and his breathing was not normal. He had no tag or collar, and so was thought to be a stray. He was taken and cared for, but his condition was severe and he did not live. Please know that he was held and comforted in the most tender way, and did not die alone. We are very sorry for your loss.

This creeped us out. Most people we’ve read it to have had a similar reaction.

Perhaps we are just paranoid, but it seems awful fishy. Why did they wait 8 days to reach out to us? If they had taken such loving care of him, why wouldn’t they call and tell us what had happened? If he passed, why hasn’t his body came through Animal Control, which we have been checking nightly?

We faxed a note to about 15 vets offices in the area today too, in case they took him there for care.

Sybil also went to our local police precinct to report the cat as stolen. They instructed her to call and get an officer to come out to our house to talk to her and look at the note.

That brings us to today.

Thanks for the info, Matt. Everyone else: If you have any info, email

RSS icon Comments


No collar, no tags, tough shit for you.

Posted by Banna | August 4, 2008 3:47 PM


Posted by MEC | August 4, 2008 3:52 PM

Sorry for your loss.

This note could be mere passivity/politeness/standoffishness -- typical -- no need to infer something sinister.

(The "Boo Radley" theory.)

Posted by PC | August 4, 2008 3:52 PM

This retard is wasting the police department's time investigating the disappearance of a 15 year old cat?

What do they want the body back for...?

Posted by bluh? | August 4, 2008 3:54 PM

Just a heads-up in advance..."cat burglar jokes" are in poor taste...carry on. (Am truly sorry for your loss...just got a new kitten for my birthday)

Posted by cunei4m | August 4, 2008 3:55 PM

I find it more suspicious that was available.

Posted by blank12357 | August 4, 2008 3:56 PM

I don't want to sound mean, as I'm a felinophile, but you let your cat roam around without a collar or a chip...and when he ate some rat poison or a toad, or any one of the number of things I can think of that cats I've loved have gotten into....some nice folks take care of him on his deathbed and all you can think is that some jerks stole him?

You people are idiots. You obviously don't understand that outdoor cats, and semioutdoor cats have significantly shorter lifespans. There is a ton of shit out there that a cat can eat that will kill it. And these nice sounding people take care of your cat and let you know that and you're acting like *they* are the bastards? Sheesh. Benjamin is better off where he is - kitty heaven, or caring people....

Posted by el ganador | August 4, 2008 3:56 PM

Warning in advance:

Cat burglar jokes are in poor taste...

Carry on.

(Truly sorry for your loss as someone who's just received a kitten for his birthday)

Posted by cunei4m | August 4, 2008 3:58 PM

Jeez, El Ganador. Meeee-ow!

Posted by blank12357 | August 4, 2008 4:01 PM

Hate to say it, but Matt & Sybil sound unreasonable. Old cat, and the people who left the note sound entirely reasonable and compassionate. Look beyond your grief and you will see they almost certainly did the best they could.

Posted by Big Sven | August 4, 2008 4:01 PM

I agree with @3. Condolences nonetheless.

Posted by Frentic | August 4, 2008 4:01 PM

Seems likely that they had him put down and have concerns about retaliation (litigious or otherwise). Based on the owners' reaction, they may have a point. I can't see how the situation could be improved by pursuing it any further. Grieve, and let go.

Posted by meggers | August 4, 2008 4:03 PM

that new notice on the telephone pole is wayyyy creepier than the note that was left there. "we want his body back no questions asked?" it doesn't even mention that it's talking about a CAT.

Posted by citrus | August 4, 2008 4:03 PM

@10 and @13 - agreed. If I were the person who posted the original note (in an attempt to give the owners piece of mind) I would feel totally justified in maintaining my anonymity now.

Posted by meggers | August 4, 2008 4:06 PM

Did your cat have a birthmark on it's rear right flank? Because I had what I thought was a chicken leg the other day from Golden City that did.

Posted by Felix | August 4, 2008 4:06 PM

What a couple of self-absorbed losers! Letting your cat out in an urban environment is cruel/stupid enough, but to expect the police to give a shit when (surprise, surprise) your cat turns up dead. We should all hope that these idiots don't ever get another pet.

Posted by Cat lover | August 4, 2008 4:07 PM

Ah, the new Ballard.

Posted by tomasyalba | August 4, 2008 4:11 PM

there is absolutely nothing creepy about that note. perhaps they waited 8 days to contact you because they didn't know who the non-microchipped [!], non-collared [!!] outdoor [!!!] cat belonged to until you hand-delivered them a notice?

Posted by brandon | August 4, 2008 4:15 PM

"We should all hope that these idiots don't ever get another pet."

Why are you so angry? Did your mom not hug you enough?

Posted by Cat lover ? | August 4, 2008 4:15 PM

And if you cared so much for Benjamin, why did you let him go outside w/o tags or a chip? 15 years old? Man, that kitty needed to be inside and stay nice 'n' cool during his golden years. Yeah, I'm just creeped out by your note - not what these nice anonymous people did to you (always the victim, eh?)

Posted by Hiss! | August 4, 2008 4:19 PM

why is that creepy? They found a stray, sick cat and took care of it. It's likely they were too poor to take it to the vet so they coped the best they could. They're probably embarassed about all the attention but were kind enough to leave a note so you would know the fate of the cat. Now, you're making them out to be some sort of sick criminals.

As to not seeing the signs for 8 days, big deal. There are signs on poles all the time and I don't take time to read each and every one. Maybe, they're older people who don't walk around much. Maybe your signs sucked. Who knows?

Sorry for your loss, but quit making a mountain out of a mole hill and leave these people alone and tend to your grief.

Posted by michael strangeways | August 4, 2008 4:20 PM

Maybe this is a good time to reiterate that the Slog could do a lot of good if it devoted one tenth the effort spent on a non-starter pit bull ban to instead encouraging spaying, neutering, licensing and microchipping of all cats and dogs.

Things that are doable, enforcable, and that will benefit pets, their owners, and non-pet owners alike.

Posted by elenchos | August 4, 2008 4:25 PM

i like it when people in the city let their cats outside. i pet them when i'm walking around to get my kitty fix since i can't have cats. thanks outdoor kitty owners!

Posted by girlgerms | August 4, 2008 4:27 PM

The note is odd, and I would want to talk to the people and hear the story of what actually happened to my pet. I think I would have tried to do that in a less all-caps, demanding way, but to each their own. And if the people cared enough to write a note, why wouldn't they be willing to actually talk to the owners and allow them more closure?

It's unfortunate (obv, for the cat as well) that the owners didn't identify their outdoor cat in any way, as that's made them much less sympathetic. Still... people make mistakes, still have feelings, news at 11.

Posted by leek | August 4, 2008 4:31 PM

@1 very very very sadly for the win.


License your pets. I have two cats that live on my block that visit my sunny front garden but have no license tags.

If they got run over, or injured, nobody would know what happened to them. Which is just plain sad.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 4, 2008 4:32 PM



We were hungry.

Posted by Coyote Patrol | August 4, 2008 4:34 PM

Not seeing a sign for a week is not "creepy." Maybe they don't get out much. Maybe they usually drive & don't notice signs. Maybe they just weren't paying attention.

If they took the cat to a vet and the cat was euthanized over a week ago, there is no body to return. If you don't ask for something like cremation (and why would they pay for that for a cat they don't even know?) the body is, well, disposed of.

Posted by John | August 4, 2008 4:38 PM

as the owner of a crazed free-range abyssinian: tags & chips. i know full well he could get raccooned or coyoted or asshole drivered, but the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

lazy lazy lazy.

Posted by max solomon | August 4, 2008 4:40 PM

Anyone who would hurt a cat wouldn't go through the trouble of leaving you a not AT ALL unless it was to say, "hey, we tortured your old cat to death and it was fun."

If something happened to my cat (who I might as well have given birth too) I would be relieved to receive a note like that. I would cry like a hungry angry baby but at least I'd feel some peace that he was cared for.

Be greatful that someone was compassionate enough to care for your dying let alone leave you a note.

Posted by monkey | August 4, 2008 4:43 PM

@29 FTW. My beloved indoor kitty still has a collar and a microchip, despite my goal of never allowing her tiny dumb ass to roam freely as she wishes. If you're going to let your cat out freely, you're running the risk of your cat dying from something you can't control-- oh, wait, you CAN control it-- you can keep puss inside or microchip and tag.

Posted by Jessica | August 4, 2008 4:48 PM


Posted by jackie treehorn | August 4, 2008 4:56 PM

My apologies to elenchos, it appears there's more of a story here than I had assumed.

Posted by Ben | August 4, 2008 4:58 PM

Only in Seattle would someone receive a thoughtful and considerate note like that and then call the cops.

Posted by Explorer | August 4, 2008 5:03 PM

I guess you don't have to be an old lady to be a crazy cat owner after all!

Posted by brent | August 4, 2008 5:15 PM


Thank goodness. Because if the police were out to bust people for merely being an asshole in Ballard, I'd have to go on the lam.

Posted by elenchos | August 4, 2008 5:21 PM

Our empathy requires the proper paperwork.

Posted by Bubbles | August 4, 2008 5:22 PM

I love slog for posting stuff like this.

Posted by gwrak | August 4, 2008 5:35 PM

Has anyone checked in to whether Dave Reichert killed the cat? Or at least whether he emphasized with the killer?

Posted by lol | August 4, 2008 5:45 PM

I would agree that Dave Reichert is somehow connected to this.

Posted by tele | August 4, 2008 5:51 PM

Holy shit, I'm sure I saw him Saturday night at that Irish pub in Ballard.

You don't think he had anything to do with it, do you?

Where does Darcy Burner stand on the killing of cats?

Posted by ru shur | August 4, 2008 5:52 PM

@23 Me too!

@28 Abyssinians FTW!

Posted by Crispy | August 4, 2008 5:56 PM

Aren't you required to torture small animals or at least small children as part of handing over your soul to work at Microsoft?

I know it's definitely required at the Sherriff's Department but I wouldn't make any assumptions as far as Burner is concerned.

Posted by lol | August 4, 2008 5:59 PM

No collar, no tag, WTF?

What kind of cat owner are you? You're upset that nobody filled you in, when you never bothered to, you know, TAG YOUR CAT?

I love cats, and people like you shouldn't own them.

Tough shit! Boo fucking hoo!

Posted by Eric | August 4, 2008 6:07 PM

Also: These people had the decency to at least let you know what happened (though in kind of a weird way), and your response is to call the cops?

Fucking ballard.

Posted by Eric | August 4, 2008 6:10 PM


Posted by Posting in stupid thread! | August 4, 2008 6:23 PM

@33, ditto.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 4, 2008 6:28 PM

yeah, i'm with garland - not creepy. and yea for the peopel who cared for it.

Posted by joey | August 4, 2008 7:11 PM

This story has the makings of the worst Garfield strip ever.

Posted by Ryan | August 4, 2008 8:25 PM

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