A cat that was found on a New York street five years after wandering from its Colorado home probably had some human care in recent days, but so far no one is claiming ownership besides the family that lost it.
The executive director of New York's Animal Control & Care agency, Julie Bank, said Thursday that if Willow the calico had been living a street life for any length of time, she likely would have fleas, injuries, a dirty coat and no extra weight.
"Instead, she's chunky. She's got weight on her. Her coat looks good. No fleas, no injuries," Bank said. "She's been fed."
Willow was found in Manhattan on Wednesday, and an embedded microchip linked her to the Squires family of Boulder, Colo., which feared she had been killed by coyotes when she wandered off five years ago.
Jamie Squires said the family is grateful to anyone who cared for Willow.
"Part of me feels bad, if someone has been taking care of her and considers her their pet," said Squires, who is planning her family's reunion with Willow. "But, no, it's really our pet. Sorry."
Bank said no one else had come forward to claim Willow, whose mysterious travels caught attention around the world. She said the microchip that the Squireses embedded in Willow likely would settle any question of ownership.
"You have to show proof of ownership, and at this point the proof of ownership is the chip, and it points to the people in Colorado," Bank said.
Willow, after a day as a celebrity including a visit to Anderson Cooper's talk show, was headed for a stint in foster care to satisfy a health requirement before returning to the Rocky Mountains.
Squires said Willow can't return to Colorado until it's proven she doesn't have any infectious diseases.
"Since we can't prove that, since she was in a shelter, she has to go into foster care with no other animals," Squires said.
The family, which includes three children and two dogs, is planning to travel to New York for a reunion once Willow is cleared to enter Colorado, Squires said.