By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer
EVERETT — Atalanta, the cat, was named for a Greek goddess who, according to an ancient myth, was turned into a lion after defiling Zeus’ temple.
Here in Everett, officials believed Atalanta may have defiled a different kind of sanctuary: an Everett police motorcycle.
The 15-year-old kitty met her fate after she was trapped by animal control officers and didn’t have an identification tag or microchip. She was taken to the Everett Animal Shelter.
After a three-day waiting period, a veterinarian determined the cat was too old and too sick to be adopted and she was humanely killed, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
“I know we should have had Atalanta tagged right when we noticed her ID was missing — we feel horrible about that,” the cat’s owner, Amy Skaar, said. “We just want others to know what is going on at the police station so they can get their cats tagged (or) chipped and not have the same experience we’ve had.”
Everett’s feline follies started when police noticed several neighborhood strays and feral cats roaming the parking lot at the department’s south precinct near the Everett Mall, Sgt. Robert Goetz said.
It wasn’t a problem until the kitties started urinating on a new police motorcycle, he said.
That created foul conditions for the patrol officer assigned to the bike, Goetz said. The motorcycle’s engine had to be cleaned to get rid of the smell.
Police asked animal control officials to set up traps to remove the problem pests.
The cat was picked up on Jan. 28, Reardon said. The animal detectives at the city’s shelter tried to find her owner, but without success.
The best way to protect a family pet is to have a veterinarian implant a microchip under the animal’s skin. This way, pet owners can be found even if the animal is able to remove a collar, Reardon said.
FizzGig, another of the Skaar’s cats, also was trapped at the police department. He fared better. The Skaar family posted a missing pet notice on an Internet site and a shelter employee recognized the kitty, setting up a bittersweet reunion.
FizzGig was returned Monday but the family learned that Atalanta’s nine lives had expired.
“It’s never been a problem for her to roam,” Skaar said. “We should have known better when we moved to an urban area.”
The south Everett family was disappointed their police neighbors didn’t do more to try find the cat’s owners.
“In a community, it would have been nice for them to tell us,” Skaar said.
Now, she wants other pet owners to realize if a family pet goes missing, take action right away.
Reardon said it’s best to visit the city shelter in person several times. Better still, keep your cat indoors and follow the Skaar family’s lead.
On Wednesday, FizzGig and the family’s other cat, Mr. Aegis, were micro-chipped.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437, firstname.lastname@example.org.