Lifelong Friend Frees Diabetic Cat After Four Days in Forgotten Well

For the last 16 years, Muffy the Tabby cat has been a loyal side kick to Michael Rodriguez of Sylmar, Calif. Since the fifth grade, Michael has returned home everyday to see his allegiant feline friend waiting for him on the front porch. When Muffy failed to show up for his routine meeting one day, Michael became worried. Little did he know, Muffy had fallen down an old well and wouldn’t be found without a heroic effort by Michael and the entire Rodriguez family. Muffy’s disturbing disappearance and improbable recovery have earned him the title of July’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.

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On the day of the vanishing, Michael had returned home from work when he noticed Muffy wasn’t in his normal waiting spot. Michael didn’t think too much of the occurrence, because Muffy is an indoor and outdoor cat that is well known by the entire neighborhood, and figured that the friendly feline was nearby.

“I thought it was weird that I didn’t see Muffy when I got home that night, because he knows that’s time for his dinner,” said Michael. “Muffy is diabetic and that is also the time that I give him his insulin, so after a couple hours past, I got really concerned.”

Knowing that his senor sidekick was late for his daily insulin dosage, Michael, accompanied by his mother and sister, set out to search the neighborhood. The trio searched until nearly three in the morning, but found no trace of Muffy. After a sleepless night, the family re-grouped and set forth a search plan.

“The next day we posted signs in all the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Michael. “We talked to all of the residents in our neighborhood and created a map of when and where Muffy had been seen. It was pretty incredible to learn what Muffy’s daily routine was like.”


Despite increasing their efforts, the Rodriguez family ended the second day of their search with no leads. Michael knew that Muffy needed his insulin treatment soon or else he wouldn’t make it. On the third day, knowing they needed reinforcements, Michael contacted a search dog company to help.

“I started to fear the worst, but I wasn’t going to give up on him,” said Michael. “The search dogs were scheduled to come in a couple of days, but I knew he wasn’t going to make it more than few more hours without his insulin. Luckily, we ended up not having to wait.”

Just as the situation looked like it couldn’t be any direr, Michael received a phone call from a nearby resident who said that she had found a cat matching Muffy’s description down in a well. The helpful citizen explained that she had dropped food into the well to keep the cat comfortable. Little did she know, her actions had helped keep Muffy alive. Michael rushed to the location and discovered a massive industrial well. Michael quickly planned an entrance and exit strategy before jumping in to search for Muffy.

“It was about a 20 feet deep and 15 feet wide, and had multiple tunnels that traveled through the ground, almost like a drainage system,” said Michael. “I searched through each one as fast as I could and then I saw him laying there.”

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Michael rushed to Muffy’s side, unsure if his lifelong friend was still alive. Remarkably, Muffy was still breathing, but was barely clinging to life. Michael wasted no time and rushed the ailing feline to the Animal Emergency Centre of Studio City for emergency treatment. Muffy was immediately given insulin and intravenous fluid to bring him back from the brink of death.

After months of recovery and follow up treatment for mites that he inherited from the well, Muffy made a full recovery and is back to his fun-loving ways. Michael is relieved to have his buddy back and is grateful for the amazing veterinary care Muffy received, as well as the insurance support from Nationwide.

“Muffy and I grew up together and I’d do anything to keep him safe,” said Michael. “We owe a lot to the veterinarians who treated Muffy and the woman who found him. Without them, he wouldn’t be here today.”



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