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Photo by Diane Cox
Ingrid Moussalli holds her grandson Angelo with Houdini the cat. Houdini journeyed more than 3 1/2 miles and crossed Interstate 270 to find his former home. Houdini was found 25 days after the Moussalli family noticed he had gone missing.
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Angelo cuddles up to Houdini. Angelo helped in the search efforts for Houdini and is happy the cat is back home.
GLEN CARBON — A frisky feline named Houdini earned his name after disappearing for nearly a month and reappearing in the most unexpected place.
Ingrid Moussalli of Glen Carbon adopted the orange tabby cat in 2014 from the Edwardsville Humane Society to give companionship to her ailing husband, who passed away just weeks after Houdini joined the family.
Houdini was given his name in reference to the great magician Harry Houdini, who was known for performing daring acts of escape until his death in October 1926. Following the family’s move Jan. 30, 2015, from one side of Interstate 270 to the other, Houdini the cat performed his own disappearing act.
“My husband thought the name Houdini was very fitting for the cat,” Moussalli said. “He liked to hide under the bed and other furniture until he decided to appear again. Our grandson Angelo is a year and half and he is so attached to Houdini. The moment he walks in the door at grandma’s, his first word is always cat. It was very upsetting when Houdini disappeared.”
Family members went door to door in their new neighborhood looking for Houdini and posted fliers with the cat’s photo and contact information. Angelo would search every inch of the house, calling for the cat when he came to visit grandma.
“We searched everywhere,” Moussalli said. “We looked in the woods, in fields and all around our new area. A couple weeks went by and I received a phone call from a postal employee who said they saw the poster with Houdini’s photo and they saw a cat near I-270 and 157. I admit I thought the worst for Houdini when 270 came to mind. We thought he might not be with us any longer if he tried to cross that busy highway.”
On a hunch, the Moussalli family went back to their former neighborhood to look for Houdini. After placing his food dish at their previous home and noticing that food was eaten, the family walked around the home calling Houdini’s name. Out from a bush bolted a slightly thinner Houdini running up to the family. Houdini made the 3 1/2-mile journey to his former home across I-270, through snow and cold temperatures to arrive safely and survive more than 25 days without front claws.
“He didn’t have claws when we got him, but he could still climb trees,” Moussalli said. “He’s been an indoor and outdoor cat since we adopted him, but for now he’s only going outside on a cat leash until he’s more accustomed to this new home. I’ve heard of dogs returning to their former home after moving, but I haven’t heard of too many cats doing it. Houdini must have a strong nose.”
Angelo is happy to see Houdini back at his grandma’s home and has taken on the role of feeding the elusive kitty when he visits. Houdini is still up to his disappearing act throughout the house but seems happy to be back with his family.