posted on Friday, July 12, 2019
Follow-up to the Story of Fiore, the
Most Wanted Homeless Cat at the Humane Society
Urbana, IL - On July 1, 2019, the Champaign County Humane Society (CCHS) publicly issued a letter in response to misinformation circulating via social media and an inquiry from WCIA News reporter Emily Braun. That letter is still available on the CCHS website and provides background for this update.
Since the release of that letter, CCHS made extensive arrangements for DNA testing that would establish whether the shelter cat named Fiore is Meghan Price’s lost cat. On July 5, 2019, CCHS informed Ms. Price that DNA from her lost cat’s dam or sire would be required in order to establish parentage. Ms. Price had previously indicated that the breeder of her lost cat would be helpful.
One July 9, 2019, Ms. Price informed CCHS that she would be unable to obtain parental DNA because the breeder’s animals had all been killed in coyote attacks, including the dam and/or sire of Ms. Price’s lost cat. Ms. Price asked us if sibling-to-sibling DNA analysis could be conducted, as she still has the sister of her lost cat.
On July 10, 2019, we informed Ms. Price that the Animal Genetic Laboratory at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine informed us that they do not offer a sibling-to-sibling DNA test on any animal species because it is too difficult to establish a match that the Lab can stand behind. They also informed us that they do not know of any lab in the United States that would perform such at test.
Between July 10 and 12, 2019, we looked for other scientific means of obtaining proof that Fiore had previously belonged to either Ms. Price or the Second Claimant. Those efforts involved conversations with geneticists at the University of Illinois and Feline DNA testing laboratories in the US and UK. No viable method for establishing prior ownership was found.
In the absence of concrete proof of ownership, we were left to rely on our judgment of the circumstantial evidence provided by Ms. Price and the Second Claimant based on our years of experience and our expertise in domestic animal behavior. After reviewing that evidence, we determined that there is a greater probability that Fiore is the lost cat of the Second Claimant, and we have decided to adopt Fiore to the Second Claimant.
The factors that led us to this conclusion include the following:
(1) The photos provided by the Second Claimant are a closer match.
(2) Fiore was found within close proximity to the Second Claimant’s home, and within about one-month of escape. (In the majority of cases, cats are found within a 550-yard radius of their point of escape.)
(3) Ms. Price lived in Champaign when her cat was lost in May 2018, approximately 15 miles from where Fiore was found.
(4) The Second Claimant provided evidence that she had owned her cat since he was a young kitten. There is no likelihood that the Second Claimant’s cat had been previously owned by Ms. Price.
(5) The CCHS Shelter Veterinarian examined Fiore for facial scars that Ms. Price indicated might be present around her lost cat’s eyes and neck area. No such scars were found.
(6) Fiore’s friendliness toward Ms. Price when she visited with him is not dispositive because Fiore exhibited similar behavior with other visitors. He is an extremely friendly cat.
We are glad to have this matter resolved so that Fiore can go home. We understand that this has been a trying experience for everyone involved and are grateful to the parties involved for their patience with the process.
Situations like this can easily be avoided by having your cats and dogs micro-chipped. It’s a simple procedure that can be done for a modest fee at your veterinarian’s office or CCHS.
CCHS currently has over 140 homeless cats in its care. They are all micro-chipped prior to adoption.