Heights family still searching for lost cat
By Jessica Mendez
A great deal of time and expense has been exhausted by Del Mar Heights resident Bob Mendes, all in an effort to find a missing member of his family. Romeo, a 4-year-old gray-and-white mosaic cat, has been missing for three months.
"Romeo was more like a dog," Mendes said. "I called him 'c-og.' He went in and out of the house all day long, and he always returned home."
But on Sept. 5, Romeo did not return.
The Mendes family has been searching ever since, starting by posting fliers around their home, prompting neighbors to offer their help.
"Romeo was like our neighborhood cat, very friendly, loving, and got along with people, cats and dogs," Mendes said.
When Romeo still didn't come home, larger posters along Del Mar Heights Road replaced the fliers. In early October, the family posted a $500 reward, advertised on 18-by-24-foot signs posted throughout the neighborhood and beyond.
The posters have caught the attention of many locals, including a number of schoolchildren from Del Mar Heights Elementary.
"I look at every cat now to see if it's Romeo," said Ian Hutchinson, a Heights sixth-grader.
Mendes has received more than 100 phone calls and the search has turned up six lost cats that look like Romeo, but are not Romeo.
At the advice of a friend, Mendes consulted a well-known pet psychic and has considered hiring a bloodhound team. He thinks Romeo could have jumped into someone's pickup truck and been taken to another part of town. The cat was not wearing an identification tag, so Mendes thinks another family could have taken him in.
One Del Mar resident called Mendes to complain about the efforts being spent on "just a cat." Mendes replied to the caller, "Wouldn't you do the same for your family?"
But despite the reward, the signs, the calls from well wishers and those helping to search, Romeo remains missing. A few posters are still visible along Del Mar Heights Road.
Still, Mendes remains hopeful. "I still want to find him," he said. "I want him back or at least to know what happened to him."