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Searching for Jasmine

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Allen believes Jasmine could still be alive - COURTESY RICK ALLEN
  • Courtesy Rick Allen
  • Allen believes Jasmine could still be alive
Rick Allen wasn’t thrilled when Jasmine came into his life. With a career in real estate, he knew that cats can some times wreak havoc on a house.

“My ex-wife brought her home for our daughter,” Allen explains. “I was not into having it.”
Of course, cat lovers know what happened next. “The cat knew,” and as they are prone to do, Jasmine found a way into his heart. “She became a great family cat,” he says.

That was 17 years ago.

On June 29, Jasmine went missing. Allen, who has lived in Colorado Springs for 37 years, says that each time he moved — from Mountain Shadows to the Divine Redeemer area and finally to the Old North End — he worried about Jasmine. She was not satisfied staying inside. But she would always return home each night.

Allen says he even hesitated before buying his most recent home because he was worried about Jasmine after spending 10 years in their last neighborhood.

He tried to put a harness on her to see if he could walk her instead of letting her roam free. (Again, those who know cats know that, with a cat that age, he wasn’t successful.)
After nearly two years in the house, Allen says one night he was sitting on the patio with a friend when he realized he didn’t know where Jasmine was. He called for her, but she didn’t come.

After a couple days, he posted on Nextdoor, a social media website for neighbors — that’s how I became familiar with this story of a missing cat. There are plenty of posts about lost animals and found animals on that neighborhood app, but something about Allen’s repeated posts struck me. On the day she went missing, his post simply announced his cat was missing.

A week later, Allen wrote, “I really miss her and have been going through the neighborhood daily. I still believe she is alive somewhere.”

He started to offer rewards — it started on July 8 with $500 for the safe return of Jasmine. By July 26, the reward was up to $2,000. “I am not giving up! I’M SORRY TO KEEP POSTING ABOUT MY CAT BUT SOMEBODY MUST HAVE SEEN HER RECENTLY! I WON’T GIVE UP ON HER,” he wrote.

I wasn’t the only one to see those posts. People in his neighborhood replied to his posts and called him. Some said they were keeping an eye out for her; some told him they didn’t want the reward, they just wanted to help him find his cat.

People have posted photos of kittens or offered tips on cats for adoption. “I love cats, but I don’t know how I feel about starting over,” he says, recalling living with blankets over furniture to protect it. “I bought a leather couch once. Six months later it was on the curb.”

“Do I want to go through that again?”

He’s followed a few leads. One neighbor said the mailman might have some information. Allen tracked down the mailman who said he saw someone removing the body of a cat from the backyard of a nearby vacant home. Allen realizes it could have been Jasmine, “You want to know, but you don’t want to know.”

He’s heard that cats sometimes wander off to die. And he’s heard tales of cats who return after being gone six months or longer. He finds peace knowing that Jasmine lived a good life — and a long life for an indoor-outdoor cat. But he still misses their bedtime routine. “When I go to sleep, Jasmine jumps on my chest and wants to be petted for 10 minutes.”

He won’t give up hope that Jasmine might still come home and the reward stands.
“I probably would pay double that just to have her,” he says. “Having her is worth more than having the money.”

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