ILLINOIS – One cat and two families. And a whole lot of mystery remaining as to just what happened over the past two and a half years.
One woman says her cat went missing back in September of 2013.
Another woman says a cat was literally begging to come into her home at exactly the same time. She and her husband let it the kitty in and kept the cat for two and a half years claiming they weren’t able to locate the owner.
Meanwhile, the original owner has been living just three doors away from the cat and never knew it all this time
Joey is the Himalayan cat who is at the center of this tale and he is tugging at the heart strings of two Bloomingdale families.
Joey was adopted by Nichole Milone back in March of 2011. With taxes, she paid in upwards of $1100 for him and has all the papers to prove he was micro chipped.
But Shawnie and Steve Godke have been caring for Joey for the last two and half years since the white cat darkened their door day after day, they claim.
Shawnie claims the cat was abused, neglected and unwanted. 2013 photos show Joey when his fur was severely matted, dirty and he was filled with burrs.
That cat, she and her husband contend, chose them.
“He was trying to come in for months upon months upon months,” she says. “And we stated, ‘Here is food and water, now go home kitty cat. You need to go home to your owners.’”
But he kept coming back and coming again, she says.
Meanwhile, just three doors down in September of 2013, Nichole Milone filed a police report, contacted her microchip manufacturer PetKey and also posted a hundred or so of these fliers all over town at animal shelters, the police station, even local grocery stores looking for her indoor/outdoor cat Joey. Nothing came of anything she attempted.
“I assumed he was probably taken by a coyote or something,” Nichole claims.
Fast forward now – two and a half years later to April 29, 2016.
Nichole was entering her yard from the back and just so happened to glance up at her neighbor’s home where she says she saw her own cat.
“What is the possibility that my cat is three doors down from my house this whole time?”
Pretty darn good apparently.
Nichole immediately called police and had his microchip scanned and it was indeed Joey.
Police will not press charges and the Godkes refuse to give up their prized pet. They admit they never reached out to police or any animal shelters when they first took Joey in. They relied solely on the microchip system to reunite Joey with its rightful owner.
Here is the problem: Their vet looked up the chip number on only one website: RFID-USA Microchip Registry – USA. and It showed “microchip unregistered”. If you plug in that same 10-digit number on the American Animal Hospital Association website, missing cat Joey comes right up and links you directly to the PetKey people.
And when you simply Google “Joey missing cat Bloomingdale Illinois,” PetKey’s link is the very first one listed.
Also, the Godkes have been calling the cat Joey from almost the beginning. How is that possible if they never knew the animal before it just showed up at their home? They say a neighbor in the same subdivision told them about the name and so they decided to go with it!
Shawnie explains, “This neighbor that told our neighbor said that this cat must be from somewhere in the subdivision and that woman heard his name must somehow be Joey. … My focus was on what was best for this animal. And if this person that decided to give it that type of life wanted it back, then that person was going to have to come and make themselves available.”
Nichole claims she has tried.
“I have a cat that has a chip and I can’t get it back. So what’s the point of the chip? I’m not furious. I’m not mad at them. I think it’s sad how they are handling the situation. I feel the same way that they did. He was part of my family.”
So what will happen now? Police say there is no proof of criminal intent in this case and they will not press charges. Now, both sides have hired lawyers.
Both families want Joey the Cat. In fact, the Godkes have even requested a no-trespass order from police so that the Milone family risks arrest if they even try to go to the Godke home.
A “for sale” sign now sits in the Godkes front yard.
This means that shared cat custody is not a likely resolution.