Two years after he disappeared from his Long Island home, Disaster the cat was found this week in the heart of Manhattan - by a Times Square haunted house promoter dressed up as a zombie.
Jeremy Zelkowitz, who sells tickets for the Times Scare haunted house, spotted Disaster early Saturday morning crossing 42nd Street. He snatched up Disaster, a black and white cat who appeared to be well-kept and neat, and brought him to a nearby animal hospital.
"I'm a big animal lover but I have a dog so I couldn't take him," Zelkowitz, 22, said Thursday. "The whole situation is very, very bizarre."
Staff at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners animal hospital scanned Disaster who had been implanted with a microchip, revealing his last known owner: New York City police Officer Jimmy Helliesen.
Helliesen, 51, received a call Saturday morning from the hospital, informing him that his long-lost feline friend had been found.
"I was shocked," said Helliesen. "How did he get to Manhattan? That's quite an adventure."
For years Helliesen has adopted stray cats he finds hanging around his Brooklyn precinct. Two years ago he adopted Disaster after he strayed from the precinct and ended up getting captured by local Animal Care and Control. That's when Helliesen got him fixed and implanted with the chip.
But six months after living in his Long Island home, Disaster escaped one day through an open window and never returned.
Helliesen never thought he'd get the cat back - and has since taken in eight more cats he's found around the precinct who need homes.
"Disaster makes it nine," he said. "My wife has been very understanding."