Aptly named, beloved feline returned to his owner after being cat-napped

Stumpy the Cat moves about the Springlake Animal Hospital in Keystone Heights Thursday. Stumpy, who is missing two legs and his tail, was stolen from the animal hospital in December. He was returned Friday by an unknown person.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 11:01 p.m.
In Keystone Heights, Stumpy the Cat is a celebrity.
So when the friendly blue-eyed, mocha-colored Siamese cat, named for his missing front and back legs and his stub of a tail, was returned Jan. 6 after vanishing in December from White Spring Lake Animal Hospital, news spread fast, said Dr. Tamra White, the doctor who runs the hospital.
For nearly a month, Stumpy's whereabouts were as mysterious as how he disappeared Dec. 8 from the hospital where he lives. White said she took the animal in after he was brought to her hospital with severe injuries.
Since then, Stumpy, who hops on his remaining two limbs to get from place to place, has become a novelty and has drawn more than 100 visitors to the hospital each year, White said.
"He has never met a stranger," White said Thursday. "Everyone loves this cat. We have people who aren't clients come in just to see him."
The alleged cat-snatching became the talk of the town, and many people called to inquire about Stumpy's fate, White said. The incident prompted the Clay County Sheriff's Office to dispatch its very own pet detective, Annie Henderson.
Henderson said Thursday she had no idea who might be responsible for the cat's disappearance, but that it was likely the cat was stolen by a someone during business hours. Since the cat can't run, Henderson said, it was highly unlikely that Stumpy ran away, as some have suggested.
It wasn't until Friday that Stumpy finally came home, Henderson said. An unidentified woman brought the cat, which had lost some weight and was ridden with fleas, into the hospital and asked if he belonged to them.
The woman told the staff that she found Stumpy and a white kitten in a cage left on her front doorstep and had heard that a cat matching Stumpy's description was missing.
Hospital workers were so ecstatic that they forgot to ask the woman her name and she left as everyone celebrated Stumpy's return, White said.
"We felt like eventually he'd show back up; there's not too many two-legged cats," White said.
And now that the town's superstar cat is finally home, White is hoping no one will try and take him in the future.
"For anyone in Keystone thinking about taking Stumpy, he has a good home already," White said.
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or balld@gvillesun.com

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