In mid-February the Mineola American began reporting on Ricky Do, a cat who had disappeared from his warm and loving home in Mineola.
Speculation as to his whereabouts (one suggestion was that he was campaigning for village office) ended when after three months and three days Ricky Do returned to his family.
So, in this exclusive interview Ricky Do (named thusly because "Ricky" will "Do" as he pleases) was asked where he went, why he went and if he was happy to be back home.
However, the star of our story is understandably tight-lipped after his exhausting adventure, so his loving family, Kenny, Lisa, Kristina and Marissa Cotroneo, pitched in and recounted the tale of their returned voyager.
"Boguk," explained year old Marissa in summation of the recent adventures of the cat, "Ricky."
Marissa's mother Lisa expanded a bit more on the story. The night of Feb. 22 was the last night the Cotroneo's had seen their cat until his recent reappearance. Ricky went outside into the backyard as he had so many times before, however, hours later, when Kenny and Lisa looked for him, Ricky was nowhere to be found.
This began weeks of searching, canvassing the neighborhood with pictures of the lost cat, the Cotroneos encountered many friendly faces eager to assist them in their search and they encountered many stray cats, but no Ricky.
The Cotroneo home became lost cat central as Lisa helped network information of both lost cats and cats that had been found, none of whom were Ricky.
Weeks turned into months, and the heartbroken adult Cotroneos began to face the fact that Ricky might not be coming home, the younger ones, however, were not so quick to accept that possibility.
Six-year-old Kristina made an illustrated book for her mother about a fairy who found the cat and returned it. On May 25, Kristina was proved right, sort of.
The Cotroneos received a call from a man in Hicksville claiming to have Ricky in his possession. "He went in a person's backyard and the person saw him," explained Kristina.
The person of whom Kristina spoke was Michael O'Sullivan, a man who regularly cares for strays. Over time he earned Ricky's confidence, and once acquainted with the cat, he read the collar and contacted the Cotroneos.
Lisa could not believe the claim. O'Sullivan made a second call and Lisa insisted that he read the entire collar. As O'Sullivan read Ricky's name and address over the phone, Lisa began to cry, realizing that her cat had been found.
Soon, after the phone call, Ricky who had traveled 12 miles in three months and three days and had lost 10 lbs, returned home to his family.
Lisa has dubbed the cat "The Amazing Ricky Do," as he has put to the test the old adage that cats are blessed with nine lives.
As a kitten, Ricky was diagnosed with leukemia and survived though he was given only a 20 percent chance of survival. A year later Ricky was hit with a car and survived 13 broken ribs. Twice the cat jumped from a second story window to get to the street below.
This fortunate cat celebrates his birthday on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, which he could not spend with his family this year because he was on the road. So, a make-up party is in the works, for this lucky 10-year-old cat.
Who knows what Ricky's next adventure will be, and for now the Cotroneos do not care. They are just thrilled to have Ricky Do back where he belongs, and it seems, so is Ricky.
"He was nervous when he got home," said Kristina, "When he first came back he didn't meow." Upon hearing this, a content and quiet Ricky Do, resting in the afternoon sunlight of the Cotroneo's back room, lazily raised his eyelids, and in consideration of the situation offered a quotable comment of his own, "Purrrrr."