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Her eyes are hazel, her name is Mabel

Cat makes an emotional return to Cortez Airport

Cortez Municipal Airport security worker Harvey Baker is happy Mabel, a feline who adopted the airport as her home more than four years ago, is back from her mysterious 10-day disappearance. Enlarge photo

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Cortez Municipal Airport security worker Harvey Baker is happy Mabel, a feline who adopted the airport as her home more than four years ago, is back from her mysterious 10-day disappearance.

It was an ominous day at the Cortez Municipal Airport.

“Where’s Mabel?” “Has anyone seen Mabel?”

Suddenly, it was clear that this was not a normal day.

Mabel was missing.

The call went out, search parties were assembled, fears soared.

Mabel was missing.

They searched all over. Airplane hangers, fields, empty buildings, parked cars, they knocked on doors – they searched everywhere.

No Mabel.

Four days passed – no Mabel. Six, seven, eight days ... Mabel was gone.

The fear and sadness hung over the airport like an early-morning fog.

It’s been more than four years since Mabel touched down at the airport. Almost from Day 1, nearly everyone took Mabel under his or her collective wing.

For Harvey Baker and Barb Serfoss, the pain and worry of a missing Mabel took over. But everyone missed Mabel. From the mechanics to the car-rental workers to the passengers who frequent the tiny airport. Everyone knows Mabel.

Through the years, a few passengers, some allergic to cats or just not cat people, have shooed Mabel away. But most can’t resist the friendly and loving cat.

Day 10, Baker, who works for Transportation Security Administration, was screening passengers.

He admitted he was sick with worry about Mabel.

Then he heard something. A faint meow.

Mabel was back – cold and hungry, but Mabel was home.

“I tell you, I almost cried. If I wasn’t working in the security checkpoint, I think I would have cried,” Baker said.