25 days ago a cat named Georgia escaped from her carrier and was lost in the tunnels of the NYC subway system. This weekend the story came to a miraculous end as she was found and rescued by two kind-hearted track workers... Georgia Lives!
Sunday, February 17th 2008, 1:20 AM
Joyce for News Ashley Phillips and Georgia spend a moment together at the vet's office on Saturday.
Want proof that cats have nine lives?
Georgia, the feisty black kitten who scampered into the subway 25 days ago, was found Saturday by two track workers and returned to her delighted owner.
"I'm still in shock," said Ashley Phillips, 24, after cradling her meowing cat. "I kind of gave up hope that they'd find her."
Georgia was a tad skinnier and had a slight scratch on her nose, but was otherwise none the worse for her Manhattan subway sojourn.
"She's getting microchipped as soon as possible," Phillips, a librarian in the Bronx, quipped.
The discovery of the resilient 7-month-old kitten was as remarkable as it was unlikely.
Captivated by the tale of the missing pet, track flagman Mark Dalessio and track inspector Efrain LaPorte had been diligently checking the area where Georgia had been spotted by a Con Ed worker on Wednesday.
The two MTA workers combed the rails below Lexington Ave. near 55th St. with a cat's pajamas of a strategy.
"As I was walking down the track, I was making cat sounds, meowing," Dalessio told the Daily News. "I heard a 'meow' back and I thought it was LaPorte. I thought, 'Wow, LaPorte is inspired.' "
"Then I heard it again," Dalessio said. "I looked down, and said, 'It's Georgia!' "
The frightened feline was taking shelter in a foot-deep metal drain between two tracks when she was spotted.
As Dalessio extended his hand toward the cat, sweet Georgia gave him a lick.
"It was kinda cute," he said. "I can imagine the fear the cat had with trains going by."
The track workers called police, and in minutes, NYPD transit cops Sgt. Daniel Green and Police Officer Ilker Ozuk climbed down and rescued the cat.
The cops immediately recognized Georgia's blue collar from photos shown in The News.
NYC Transit President Howard Roberts hailed the search-and-rescue operation.
"A subway tunnel is a very dangerous place, especially with the third rail," he said. "I am very happy that we found the cat before she used up all nine lives."
Georgia went missing after bolting from her travel case, which Phillips had set down on the uptown platform of the 59th St./Lexington Ave. station Jan. 22.
Hope seemed lost until this week when Con Ed worker Christopher Cuddy spotted the cat, but was unable to rescue her because she was wedged between active tracks.
Phillips was reunited with her beloved pet at the Union Square District 4 Transit Bureau, and then took Georgia to a vet for a checkup.
She said the ordeal has taught her an important lesson.
"I'm always going to double-check the carrier," she said, before gazing at her beloved kitty. "I can't believe she's going to be in the paper tomorrow."
Georgia rules! Kitten found after scampering into subway 25 days ago