When the recliner was delivered, her cat immediately jumped onto the chair and made herself comfortable, she said. But Reyna decided after one day to send the recliner back because she didn’t like that the chair reclined at the push of a button.
“I hated it — the chair turned over on top of me,” said Reyna, 59. “So I called the store and told them I wanted to buy a chair with a manual lever.”
Two delivery workers came to pick up the recliner on March 1, she said. She was concerned Inky had run out of her open front door as they carried out the chair.
“When they hauled the chair out the door, I thought maybe Inky had gotten out, because I didn’t see her anywhere,” Reyna said. “She’s always afraid when there are strangers in the house.”
After the delivery van pulled away and Reyna couldn’t find Inky in the house or the yard, she said she searched everywhere for her around her neighborhood.
“It was so upsetting — she’d just disappeared, and I began to think that she’d run off and I’d never see her again,” Reyna said, adding that her dog, Gracie, also seemed concerned because she and Inky were best friends.
Reyna had rescued Inky as a kitten 11 years ago after the cat was burned in a gasoline fire.
“I found her between two houses after a man started a brush fire to clear away some debris, not realizing there were cats there,” she said, noting that two other kittens ran away from the blaze.
Reyna took the kitten to a veterinarian who cared for her for two months while her burns healed, she said, adding that Inky suffered some permanent eye damage.
“She had some painful burns, but she fought through it,” she said.
When Inky went missing in February, Reyna said she had trouble sleeping because she couldn’t stop thinking about her cat wandering scared and alone in the dark.
Then on the third day, she said her phone rang. An employee from a Big Sandy Superstore warehouse in Wheelersburg, Ohio asked her, “Do you have a black cat?”
“They said that a cat popped out of my [returned] chair and darted away as soon as they set it down inside,” she said, noting that the warehouse is about 30 miles from her house.
“I was told that the chair was on the truck for three days before they took it out,” Reyna added. Three days in the dark with no food or water! My poor cat. I couldn’t believe it.”
It wasn’t the first time that a cat had taken a ride in a delivery truck while tucked inside a recliner.
Last year, a cat named Montequila from Denver was found inside a donated recliner at a thrift store. Pet safety advocates warn that recliner chairs can be dangerous to cats and dogs, especially when a person swings the footrest up and down.
Reyna said she assumed that Inky must have crawled through a loose flap inside the back of the chair to hide from the delivery workers when she let them into the house.
“The people at the warehouse told me she took off and they couldn’t find her,” she said. “I told them I would come over right away to look for her.”
Reyna said workers allowed her to walk around the giant furniture warehouse with an employee to call out for Inky, but the cat remained hidden.
Representatives from Big Sandy Superstore did not respond to several requests by phone for comment from The Washington Post, but Reyna said she searched for her cat in and around the warehouse for three days.
Representatives from Big Sandy Superstore did not respond to several requests for comment from The Washington Post, but Reyna said she searched for her cat in and around the warehouse for three days.
“They then decided it was a liability for me to continue walking around the warehouse with all the appliances stacked to the ceiling and heavy equipment operating everywhere,” she said.
“They wanted to put some tuna fish out to try to trap Inky, but I told them she didn’t like tuna,” Reyna said. “I took some of her favorite canned cat food and some water over there, instead.”
She said she began to wonder if Inky might have slipped out one of the warehouse’s bay doors when employees had no luck catching her inside a cat trap.
Then on March 20, three weeks after Inky began her wild adventure, Reyna’s phone rang again.
“They’d finally caught her, and other than being a little thirsty, she was fine,” she said. “I went right over there with my carrier to get her. We were so happy to see each other — Inky was sweet and loved all over me, and I did the same to her.”
While Inky was away, Reyna said she had taken in two cats for a friend. Inky was not pleased to return home from her escapade and find them lounging in her cat tree.
“She let them know immediately that she rules the roost,” Reyna said. “Then she went over to lick the dog.”
Reyna now has a new recliner with a manual lever, which she said Inky avoids. Reyna is now extra cautious before she puts up the footrest.
“Let’s just say that I won’t be ordering any new furniture for a while,” Reyna said. “I want to relax and enjoy having my cat back.”