Photo via Monument City Brewing/Facebook

Willow, a feline known for keeping Monument City Brewing Company’s quarters clear of mice, has come back home after the brewery’s co-founder says the cat was mistakenly whisked away by three strangers who thought he was a stray.

Monument City delivered the happy homecoming news this afternoon on Facebook.

Ken Praay, who opened the Southeast Baltimore brewery with his brother, Matt, in 2017, told Baltimore Fishbowl that several good Samaritans returned Willow after seeing reports that the cat had gone missing.

It was “three individuals that hadn’t been here before in this community, and didn’t know who Willow was and thought they would take him home,” he explained.

“They treated him really well” while Willow was away, he added, and “there was nothing other than kind of a positive exchange” when they brought him back today.

It’s little surprise that the cat’s “captors” heard Willow had gone missing. The brewery’s Monday Facebook post was shared more than 3,200 times, and that doesn’t count additional media coverage from TV stations and The Sun about the cat’s disappearance.

“We didn’t think it would get as much attention as it did,” Praay admitted.

They’ve taken steps before to ensure customers and neighbors are aware Willow isn’t a stray—some Facebook users criticized the brewery on the widely shared post, saying the cat should be wearing a collar or tags to make clear that he has a home—including going through more than a dozen breakaway collars that have come off, Praay said. But they’ve now given him another one to wear, and also plan on having the cat micro-chipped so that he can be tracked if need be.

Willow will still be allowed to do what makes him happy, wandering the brewery inside and out.

“He’s a working cat, so he’s inside/outside,” Praay said. “Will catches mice. That’s just what he does.”

Monument City plans to throw a party this Friday in celebration of the cat’s return home. They weren’t expecting him back today, and thus didn’t have much planned, but they’ll “pull something together” in his honor, Praay said. Details for festivities are forthcoming.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...