Homeless man reunited with his cat
Daniel Harlan was tearful upon being reunited with Samantha, his companion of nearly four years.
Samantha the cat and Daniel Harlan, a homeless man who owned her, have been reunited.
Harlan wept when Tom Neville, who had the missing cat for weeks, gave Samantha back.
Harlan said he put the cat on a leash while he went to get food at a nearby store. When he returned, Samantha was gone.
Harlan was convinced his Himalayan cat had been stolen and maybe sold for money. He searched all over for the cat and even tried to file a missing cat report with the police and the SPCA.
As it turned out, the cat hadn't been stolen at all, only rescued. As Neville tells it, he was driving to work one rainy morning and spotted a wet and bedraggled cat tied on a leash under the freeway at a homeless encampment. To a stranger, the cat's situation looked desperate.
Neville said he asked around, but nobody knew anything. So he picked up the cat and took her to work. He gave Samantha a bath, fed her and gave her a warm place to sleep in his office.
Neville was working on finding a permanent home for her, when a friend called and told him that the cat he'd rescued had its picture in the newspaper. Neville was torn; he believed he'd given the cat a new lease on life and didn't want to see the animal go back to the homeless life.
He thought about it for hours, but then got Harlan's phone number from The Chronicle story and called. Harlan told him about his life with Samantha.
"He does love her," Neville said. "No question about it."
Meanwhile, Harlan and the cat have become minor celebrities - their story got out on the Internet, on radio and television. He got hundreds of phone calls on his cell phone, some from faraway places like Kuwait, Germany, Korea, and Mississippi, he said. Some offered money.
"I appreciate all the help people are offering," he said. "But I can't take money. I've always tried to do stuff on my own, but it don't work most of the time."
Read the San Francisco Chronicle story here.