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Yogi

Yogi

Yogi

1990-2001

Yogi was the first feline that Kat Albrecht used to train search dog Rachel to find lost cats. Because she did not particularly like dogs (or people, or anything but mice, for that matter), Yogi was never employed full-time as a target cat. She was an unwilling participant in Kat’s initial pet detective-project, but an important contributor nonetheless. Because of Yogi, Kat discovered "high probability evidence" in the form of cat hair fibers that clung to a stick at the entrance of an outdoor deck where Yogi spent much of her time. This deck area was Yogi’s outdoor litter box and ultimately where she hid for seven days when she was injured after having been hit by a car. A photo of the stick with the fur is featured in the photo section of Kat’s book, The Lost Pet Chronicles. Yogi is also credited with saving the life of Rocky, a neighbor’s cat that was hit by a car. This story and Yogi’s participation is also featured in the book.

Yogi lived as an outdoor cat in Clovis, Reedley, Felton, and Santa Cruz, California until Kat successfully converted her to live as an indoor-only cat in Simi Valley in 2000. Sadly, Yogi suddenly collapsed and stopped breathing in her Clovis home one morning in July 2001. Kat, who had just four months prior became certified in Pet First Aid and CPR, performed CPR on Yogi, but she did not survive.

Here is how Kat Albrecht describes Yogi (partial excerpt from The Lost Pet Chronicles):

In learning about lost cat behavior, I had help from the least likely source in my household—my own independent-to-a-fault cat Yogi.

As far as I’d been able to tell over the nine years I had taken care of Yogi, she was happily unconcerned about any other creature on the planet (except for mice). She rarely acknowledged the dogs or me, and when there were guests or neighbors in my home, they would have been hard-pressed to notice that there was a cat in the vicinity at all. Yogi made a habit of just disappearing.

In her travels, Yogi studiously avoided the road that passed in front of my cabin for safer routes. She worked her way along the north side in a territory that spanned a mere fifty-yard circumference and she always kept to that side of the road.

Yogi had good reason. Two years before, when her territory had extended to both sides of the sparsely traveled two-lane drive, she had been hit by a car and nearly lost her life. Her pelvis had been fractured, but after a long stretch of down time to heal—of which my feline free spirit hated every minute—Yogi resumed her old independent, mouse-hunting lifestyle. The only noticeable change was her studious avoidance of pavement. She wanted nothing to do with it.

So the morning I came out my front door and saw Yogi crouched in the middle of the road a hundred yards away, I thought for a minute I was looking at someone else’s orange cat. It had been two years since I’d seen her near that road, and hunkered down near the double yellow line was the last place I expected to find her. The first thing that came to mind was that she must have found a mouse or a rat that had lost its daring race across the road. Maybe her inner hunter and her craving for rodents had outweighed her hard-earned common sense. But as I strained my eyes, I couldn’t see a thing in the roadway.

Early that evening, I received a call from my friend and neighbor Andrea Elliott. Her house was at the top of the hill and on the south side of the street, overlooking my tiny cabin.

"Have you seen Rocky?" Andrea asked. Andrea had about four cats and all of them were black and white shorthairs. I wasn’t exactly sure which cat was Rocky.

"No," I said. "Does he ever come down here?"

"He goes all over," Andrea answered. "I let him out this morning and haven’t seen him since. This is really unusual for him. He’s always home for dinner." Andrea knew she was talking to a pet detective. What she didn’t know was that I had seen behavior in Yogi that I began to suspect could be related to Rocky’s disappearance.