Where’s Punto? Woman hires dogs to sniff out cat
Love can make you do crazy things.
It’s why Lisa Tuttle has spent $4,500 in a desperate search to find her purebred Persian cat, Punto, who slipped out the door of her Lakewood home May 26.
“Nothing is more important than getting this cat back,” said the 60-year-old woman, her voice breaking. “I love him.”
Her former housemate (now evicted) broke the only rule of the house: Do not let Tuttle’s seven cats outside. Ever.
Punto’s absence wasn’t noticed until the next morning because Tuttle spent the entire day in a back room with another cat she was about to put down.
Since Punto’s disappearance, Tuttle has dipped into her retirement savings to buy three trail cameras that detect wildlife. She hired two search dogs to sniff out the areas where cats congregate in her neighborhood in the 8300 block of Phillips Road. She paid to send 3,500 oversized postcards to Lakewood residents and businesses asking if they had seen the brown tabby with a white chin. She is consulting with a pet psychic, who gives her hope that Punto is still alive.
Tuttle has plastered the telephone poles with posters, only to have them ripped down. She has placed 2-by-6-foot signs in neighbors’ yards. She has spent several nights in the rain at a nearby apartment complex, armed with a flashlight, book and tuna, after three women reported seeing Punto. She has knocked on dozens of doors and partnered with online agencies that made thousands of automated calls around the city.
That’s how Patti Lundgren, who lives near Tuttle, heard about the missing cat.
“This cat means so very, very much to her,” Lundgren said. “I’m keeping an extra, extra eye out. Truly she had been putting forth quite an effort.”
When Punto first disappeared, Tuttle took nearly two weeks off from her computer programming job without pay. She said she lost a possible promotion because she made it clear her cat is more important than her job.
Although none of the tips or sightings has ferreted Punto out of his hiding spot, Tuttle isn’t giving up. She can’t.
“My cats are the most important thing in my life,” she said.
She’s had Punto only since Halloween 2010. That’s when she attended a cat show and learned an old friend had died and left behind several cats.
Punto had lived his life in a cage and hadn’t been neutered. When he came to live with Tuttle, he constantly sprayed and peed and harassed the other felines.
“He was a total nightmare,” she recalled. “I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life.”
But over time, Tuttle coaxed affection out of him by rocking Punto and speaking softly. She never punished him for his misbehavior and before long, he was curling up at her feet at night and threading himself around her feet, wanting to be picked up.
It breaks Tuttle’s heart that she had just started to give Punto a good life before he went missing.
Fighting a fresh wave of tears, Tuttle said, “He deserves a wonderful life. He deserves the life he found with me.”