Marcus was lost. Then he was found.
Call it a belated anniversary gift.
The recent 67th anniversary celebration of Mary and Al Ignatovich, of Cliff Street in the Junction section of Pittston, was somewhat bittersweet because the couple’s beloved cat Marcus had gone missing. They had not seen him since July when he came along on a family visit to Duryea and wandered off.
Mary and Al said they were taken by surprise when their cat sprinted out of their grasp while they were visiting their daughter, Jeanne, to cool off on a hot day. “He just took off,” Mary said. “We started to call him and look for him but he just disappeared. Normally, he would run right down that hill to the house. He was a good cat, no problems.”
But this time he was gone and for a time is seemed for good.
Marcus was a stray but the Ignatoviches aren’t sure if they him or he them. On a cold, windy day five years ago in October, Mary and Al had just returned home from the grocery store and heard something rustling in the bushes while placing grocery bags on the porch.
“We heard, ‘Meow, meow,’” Mary said.
The couple couldn’t help but take the cat inside where he made himself at home. Quickly, the cat was offered milk and then ran all over the house, acclimating himself with his new digs.
Mary remembers saying, “We’re keeping this cat.”
They named him Marcus.
The cat did more than just add a new face to the Ignavotich household. He brought laughter and comfort to the home.
“He was more like a pet dog than a cat,” Al said. “He’d go up in the woods there and when I yelled to him, he’d come running and jump right over the hedges. He was very independent but great company.”
Marcus is a tuxedo cat. He is all black with white spots on his chest. He also has white tips at the end of his feet. According to Mary and Al, he is the most adorable feline they’ve ever come across.
Mary and Al have had cats before. But there was no other like this cat, according to Mary.
“We’ve had cats before, but none were playful like him,” Mary said. “This one was always around.”
The Ignatoviches said they met not too far from where Marcus had been seen recently.
Mary grew up on Pettebone Street while Al lived across the alleyway. As a student at Duryea High School, Mary ran into Al a few times but never bothered with him. Al served in World War II and, when he came home, the two went on a date. After dating for about a year, they married and now have four children.
“I remember Grandma going over to his house and saying, ‘I think they’ve been walking around long enough. It’s time for them to get married.’ That was funny.”
“The time flew. That’s for sure,” Al said.
Over the past five years, Marcus and Al created a bond that not everyone gets to experience. But for the soon-to-be 90-year-old, it was depressing to lose what he considers a family member.
Mary sees it up close and personal. The cat stayed around Al all the time. They played on the couch where Marcus would flop on Al’s chest and sit for hours.
In scramble mode for the past several weeks, the Ignavotiches placed ads and signs all over the area, feverishly looking for the cuddly cat.
“Everyone says, ‘Look how depressed he is. Get another cat,’” Mary said. “I don’t want another cat. I’m waiting for ours to come home.”
And just like that, Marcus did. e came stolling home last week like nothing had happened.
Mary and Al each celebrate their birthdays early in October so they are looking upon Marcus’ return as a birthday gift.
Charles Dickens said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Aside from their love for one another, Al and Mary tend to agree.