- Associated Press - Saturday, July 23, 2016

THORNTOWN, Ind. (AP) - It was a case of mistaken identity that led a frail, orange cat to Karen Niemeyer. But the Thorntown Public Library couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

Niemeyer, director of the library, said she took in a cat after a neighbor died but came home to find him missing one afternoon.

“I put up flyers hoping someone would see him, which was something I had never done before,” she said. “Then, a few months later, a neighbor came over to tell me he thought he found him.”

Although it wasn’t Niemeyer’s cat, the animal was in desperate need of help.

“I suspect he was someone else’s cat at some point because he had been front-declawed and neutered and he just loves attention,” Niemeyer said. “No one ever came forward though to claim him.”

She took the cat, now known as Chance, to the vet, where he was placed on an IV for eight days for severe dehydration and given antibiotics for lesions on his body.

During his recuperation, Niemeyer brought the Chance to the library for fear that he wouldn’t be able to defend himself against her two male cats at her home.

“That was kind of like his interview for the position,” Niemeyer said. “We wanted to make sure he was a good fit for the environment.”

In the past, the Thorntown library has had a cat librarian - a ginger feline named Tober who died in November shortly before Chance was discovered. Christine Sterle, a library staff member, said going from having a feline in the library to none was difficult on everyone.

“I think the community definitely went through a mourning period after Tober passed of cancer,” Sterle said. “It was really hard for me to want to stick around after hours when I knew he wasn’t there anymore.”

The public has shown a large amount of support, even those who suffer from allergies.

“A few people in the community are allergic, but due to the library’s spacious areas, it takes a while before they become affected by Chance’s presence,” she said. “We had a custodian that was allergic to cats during Tober’s reign, but he found that by taking some basic allergy medicine that he was completely fine.”

Sterle said she advocates for animals in public spaces as it often draws people in rather than repelling.

“I use to go to a bookstore when I was a kid, and even though I loved to read, the biggest pull was seeing this giant basset hound named Rebel who would greet you and try to sit on your lap if you sat down on the floor,” Sterle said. “When I grew up, my parents owned businesses and we always had cats in the buildings so I definitely grew up in that environment.”

Will the library ever see another cat after Chance’s time comes? Niemeyer said it is entirely up to fate.

“I always said after Tober passed away that I wouldn’t take another cat in here unless there was someone who was starving and homeless and really needy. . Well, there Chance was,” she said. “If another comes to me in the same situation and the living situation works for them, then yes, I believe we would.”

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Source: Lafayette Journal and Courier, https://on.jconline.com/2achTqM

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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