Woman Hopes to be Reunited With Cat Lost in BX Fire

Seventy-nine-year-old Dorothy Coker has a simple mission, she wants to save her treasured companion, a 17-year-old cat named Buddha.

On July 18, a fire tore through Coker's building on Walton Avenue in the Bronx. She and dozens of others were forced from their apartments and Buddha was left behind.

"I've had him for 17 years, from a little guy," Coker told NBC 4 New York on Tuesday. "I feel so bad that I left him, but I left him because I didn't realized that that was it."

A vacate order by the Department of Buildings meant that tenants could not return to the building for their belongings without a city escort. While a few attempts have been made to rescue Buddha, the skiddish kitty has evaded capture and bureaucracy keeps getting in the way.

It has been 3 long weeks since Coker and Buddha were separated. Food has been left out for Buddha, but getting all the agencies aligned to allow entry has been near impossible.

Coker, who's battling cancer and has trouble getting around, reached out to NBC 4 New York for help. The station contacted Animal Care & Control who sent workers to search for Buddha, but unfortunately, they were not able to find the cat Tuesday.

The workers plan to set humane traps with food Wednesday and check them on Thursday or Friday.

Coker is hopeful now that she will be reunited with Buddha soon.

"Now I feel a whole lot better," Coker said. "I'm hoping for the best."

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