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Tue., Sep. 1
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Cat with nine lives still living in burned High Street building?


Emma E. Parody lost everything she owned in an early morning fire May 15 that destroyed the apartment building at 239 High St.

All she wants back is her cat.

Three weeks after the blaze, Mrs. Parody is convinced her 11-year-old cat, Stripey, is alive and living in the burned-out structure.

“Nobody wants to help to get my baby out,” she said Friday.

Seen sitting on a window sill a day after the fire, the tabby was spotted earlier this week on the second floor by the mail carrier who used to deliver mail to Mrs. Parody, who said she believes the cat is surviving on scraps from trash inside the building.

Her daughter, Sophia M. Fuhrman, 53, who lived in the High Street building with her son Kean, 19, felt so strongly about getting Stripey out that she got herself arrested. A week after the fire, she broke a window at the fire scene in a vain search for the missing cat and was subsequently charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. The case is still pending.

“I’d do it again,” Ms. Fuhrman said, adding they have been unsuccessful in contacting building owner Ricky E. Frazier to try to lure the cat out.

“She only comes to me,” Mrs. Parody said. “And she only eats Meow Mix.”

They also have tried to get the help of the city fire and police departments and the code enforcement office, but so far, no one has come to their aid, she said.

Contacted Friday, Fire Chief Dale C. Herman said his firefighters tried to help the day after the fire, but the cat was nowhere to be seen. They can’t do much more, he said. The landlord has to help; no one else can.

Mr. Frazier said he got the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Jefferson County to put food outside to bait her, but that did not work. The building is not safe and no one can go inside.

“I don’t know what else I can do,” he said.

Mrs. Parody and her daughter feel helpless.

“She’s around there somewhere,” she said.

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