By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Tyler and Katharine Bieker’s cat has spent more of his 2½-year life being lost than at home and somehow traveled all the way to Silverdale before being returned to his home Jan. 22.
Katharine credits the return of her cat to a microchip implanted by the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society when he was a kitten.
Max and his sister, Lucy, were adopted by the Biekers in 2011.
The Biekers’ home backs onto a small area of woods, where Max and his sister, Lucy, played outside during the day, Katharine said.
Max went missing Oct. 25, 2012, from the Biekers’ home on West Eighth Street, near Hamilton School.
Both Max and Lucy had been away from home, but while Lucy came back that night, Max didn’t.
Katharine stayed up all night to check for Max at the back door and saw several raccoons in the yard.
She said she thought the raccoons had either chased Max away or killed him.
The family combed the neighborhood, putting up posters.
Then a neighbor told Katharine he had seen a black cat carried away in the talons of a bald eagle.
“I thought he was dead,” Katharine said.
Lucy became clingy in the aftermath of Max’s disappearance, so the Biekers went to the Humane Society and adopted another kitten, Pico.
Lucy and Pico became best friends, and the sleek, black Max was put firmly in their past.
“We were at peace with it,” Katharine said.
Then, in January, as Katharine got off of work as a nursing student, she received a phone message from an animal control officer from the Kitsap Humane Society.
A woman found Max limping by the side of the road and turned him over to the shelter in Silverdale — which said if the Biekers could arrive to claim Max before the end of the day, he wouldn’t have to be processed into the custody of the shelter.
“I didn’t even change clothes. I just drove straight to Silverdale,” she said.
He was skinny and had a few scratches, a bad limp and a worm infestation, she said.
Katharine said it appeared that Max had been living with another family and somehow got separated from that home.
Since his homecoming, Max has gained more than a pound, his leg injury has healed, and he has been treated for worms.
When she arrived at her home in Port Angeles, Max clearly remembered the Bieker home.
“Max walked right in, went to the laundry room where their food is and started eating,” Katherine said, adding that Max remembered Lucy and greeted her, but Lucy wasn’t very welcoming.
Lucy is slowly accepting Max back into the home but still hisses at the black cat whenever she walks by — as if reminding him that she’s still mad at him for disappearing, she said.
Max, Lucy and Pico still play in the backyard woods, but now, they are supervised by Tyler, who keeps a close eye on all three when they are out.
“He can still go on walks, but within eyesight,” Katharine said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.