Cat returned as if by Magic

Palo Alto Animal Services helps tabby, missing for six years, return to owners

When Nicola Keating moved from Cupertino to Los Altos six years ago, she kept all of her important belongings, but lost her 6-year-old cat, Magic. The orange tabby had lost his collar in a fight and Keating had scheduled a veterinarian appointment the day he disappeared.

After putting up fliers, talking to locals, and canvassing the neighborhood, Keating thought she would never see her cat again.

"We searched everywhere, high and low ... but nobody had heard anything and no one had picked up a cat," Keating said.

Keating, a native of Germany, got Magic when he was 6 weeks old for her youngest daughter. He lived in Germany for four years before moving with Keating's family to Cupertino. After living in California for two and a half years, Magic escaped.

Six years later, a man called animal control because a cat had been in his yard for three days. Palo Alto Animal Services picked up the cat from the man's garage and scanned the cat for a microchip, which contained the cat's name and his owner's contact information. Animal Control Officer William Warrior made the call to Keating on Nov. 6.

"First she said, 'How have you got my cat?'" Warrior said.

Keating has two other cats and knew that neither of them could be missing. After Warrior told her it was Magic, "She just blurted out, 'We lost it six years ago!'"

Warrior described Keating as "shaken in a really good way." He even put the very vocal tabby on the phone to talk to her.

After Warrior's call, Keating drove over to the shelter and reunited with the cat she had presumed was dead. The cat arrived at the shelter a little dehydrated and rough around the edges but without any signs to suggest that it had been living alone on the streets for six years.

"He has clearly been cared for. ... I don't know if somebody nearby is mourning an orange cat," Keating said.

The man who found Magic in his yard lives just two blocks away from Keating in Los Altos. After six years away, 12-year-old Magic seems to fit right in with the Keating family again, she said.

"We are super happy to have him home," she said. "He is a beautiful cat and very, very loving."

William Warrior put a video up on titled "Magic Repatriation" for those interested in seeing Magic at the Shelter.


Like this comment
Posted by Retired Staffer
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Let me see--Is this the same Animal Services Department the City Manager and City Council are trying to jettison? Well, Happy Thanksgiving to them.

Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm

It would be a tragic loss to this area if the Council and Manager succeed. But, we already know their priorities are screwy.

Like this comment
Posted by cindy
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

What a simply 'M A G I C' story!

Like this comment
Posted by Mimi Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

We are so very fortunate to have Officer William Warrior. He's a patron saint for animals.

Like this comment
Posted by emily
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

What an amazing story!

Like this comment
Posted by Jeremy Robinson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

It has been said "The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members." The move last spring to close Palo Alto Animal Shelter last spring became a shocking possibility that would ignore and harm the weakest of our members, the animals in our lives. Thanks to the newly formed group Friends of Palo Alto Animal Shelter (FoPAAS) a strong effort is being made to keep the shelter open and thriving. It is inconceivable that a city as rich as Palo Alto, as well- educated and as generous as are the citizens of Palo Alto would allow such a travesty. Supporting the Animal Shelter and FoPAAS is critical now.

Like this comment
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Bill Warrior is a prince.

PAAS rules!

Like this comment
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

What a great story for the Holidays. I am happy for Magic's family and grateful--once again--for Palo Alto Animal Services. Kudos and congratulations to William Warrior for another job well done!

FYI, the citizens of Palo Alto have a remarkably good record when it comes to reclaiming lost pets. Pet owners here take responsibility for the animals they love, and that results in exemplary recovery statistics. Our shelter is at or near the top in the nation for reuniting pets and owners.

I am a proud member of FoPAAS (Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter). You can find our Friends page on Facebook, Web Link. PAAS has a bunch of wonderful animal videos on YouTube at Web Link. These are created by PAAS Animal Control Officer Cody Macartney (on his iPhone). Finally, FoPAAS has a website that's still under construction, though the basics are there at

Thanks again to William Warrior!

Like this comment
Posted by reine
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Thank you Bill!
I hope we will be able to keep you here for many years to come at PAAS,
and if you ever retire, may be you could help at PaloAltoHumaneSociety?
Thanks again for all the animals you save.

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I love such stories of animals reunited with their people years later. The stories Magic could tell! Kudos to Officer William Warrior and the ESSENTIAL shelter.

One nitpicking thing: I would love to see pets referred to as "he" or "she," rather than "it." "It" implies inanimate objects, not creatures. Thank you for considering this small point.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob Wagner
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Kudos to Jeremy Robinson and other Friends of Palo Alto Animal Shelter for their efforts to ensure the survival of a community shelter for the care of our lost, abandoned, or injured furry and feathered friends. I wish them every success in maintaining this critically needed facility.

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm


How may I donate to your group? Just send to the shelter's address? Thank you.

Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

The mental picture of Magic being put on the phone to convince his guardian of his true identity is priceless.

I wish I'd been privy to both ends of that conversation. Doctor Doolittle not needed.

Like this comment
Posted by Nicola Keating
a resident of Los Altos
on Nov 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Magic is very happy. He has been out and about but has returned to sleep and eat. He is also doing a good job mixing with our other two cats. He really is magic!

Like this comment
Posted by Suzy Heisele
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

This is a great story and very touching as well. I know PAAS for quite some time now and we NEED someone like Mr Bill Warrior to run our beloved PAAS. I do hope this MAGIC story will remind the Palo Alto council members and city managers that we NEED PAAS's help in our neighborhoods.

Like this comment
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Suzy, I like your suggestion that Bill Warrior take over as Superintendent at PAAS! Sandi Stadler has moved on to manage a shelter in a different community. (Best wishes to Sandi!) Sooner or later the Palo Alto City Council must hire someone to take over the position.

Bill knows the workings of the shelter as well as anyone, he's got a passion for animals, and he's obviously great for public relations.

As far as I know, the Superintendent job has not been posted on the City website. When it comes up, I hope Bill Warrior applies for the job.

Like this comment
Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Normally I reserve this for my former Marine Corps brothers and sisters, but, "Oooh Rah!!"

William Warrior is awesome! We went to Wilbur Junior High together and have kept in touch through the years. One time, an unleashed neighborhood dog mauled my cat and because I wasn't home, Animal Services took him to the vet. They gave her (Mama) a poor prognosis and she hadn't eaten for days.

Against Medical Advise (AMA), I took Mama out of the cage, took her home, cooked her favorite, salmon. Got her walking and eating in hours, took her back, and the next day, I took Mama home and she lived for another 5 years.

Although I still live in Palo Alto (both William and I grew up here at a time when many young families struggled a little to pay their bills and it was not considered a rich community), I recal William's letter to the editor about 10 years ago (maybe more). Basically, he had been priced out of the city he grew up. I think he wanted folks to know that, in a way, Palo Alto was a victim of their own success and the generation that followed our parents (and all the subsquent generations) were priced out.

Hopefully, William, you're living close by.

You do a job that very few people can do, and dang, you've been at it for at least 25 years now. To me, there are no better people than animal people!

Take care bro!


Call or write when you can: 650 493-5000, ext. 60001

Like this comment
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

Nora Charles, you can donate to Palo Alto Animal Services right now. (Deliver in person or mail to 3281 E. Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto.)

The Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter (FoPAAS) is still working to acquire nonprofit status. Meanwhile, donations you make directly to PAAS are tax-deductible.

Oh, I almost forgot! If you have a PayPal account, you can donate to PAAS directly from their online website here: Web Link As an alternative, the website Donate page also gives you a phone number to call to charge a donation to a major credit card.

I tested the new Donate button, and it worked fine! Easy!

Like this comment
Posted by Brian Null
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Yay for PAAS. We have been so fortunate to have them all. As the so-called 'Sherpherd of Palo Alto' I have had my back and forth with the city at times, but over all I have come away with respect, admiration, and even a bit of love for PAAS. Bill, Cody, Fran, Sandi, and others are so great where it could be SO much worse. Thanks guys and hooray for Magic!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Charleston Meadows

on Jun 4, 2017 at 11:50 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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