Rocket The Trolley Cat Is Found, Returned To Fort Smith Museum — Again

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — If cats could talk, this one likely would have quite a few adventures to tell.

Rocket the cat is well known to many visitors of the Fort Smith Trolley Museum. He made news a few weeks ago when it was believed someone took him from the museum. But he was returned, only to come up missing again.

On Monday, the museum announced in a Facebook post that, once again, Rocket has been found.

Bradley Martin, president of the museum, said Rocket has had a rather adventurous few weeks after first going missing in early November.

After Martin put out appeals on Facebook and 5NEWS ran the story, Martin said Rocket was brought back, and an explanation for his disappearance was given.

“Someone had a friend, who had a roommate who ‘got a new cat,'” Martin said. He said the “new” cat was taken from the museum. The roommate brought him back on Nov. 7, Martin said. He was missing his collar, but otherwise didn’t seem worse for wear.

Shortly thereafter, Rocket disappeared again, this time while Martin was in Sante Fe for a conference.

“Someone called on Tuesday (Nov. 13) and said that he was at Hope Campus,” Martin said, referring to Riverview Hope Campus homeless shelter in Fort Smith. Martin said that once he returned, he visited the campus repeatedly but he never found Rocket.

“I’d almost given up,” Martin said.

Then, a woman called after seeing Martin’s latest Facebook posts about Rocket being missing. She said she lived in Van Buren and was feeding a new cat that showed up on her doorstep every morning for breakfast. She said that despite having a new collar with a bell, the cat looked a lot like Rocket.

“She told one of our volunteers, and he went over and got him,” Martin said.

Martin said the cat was taken to Kitties and Kanines, which had microchipped Rocket, and it was verified that the cat was Rocket and he belonged to the museum.

Martin said Rocket is back to having a collar with his name and Martin’s number on it. Someone suggested on Facebook that Martin get a GPS collar.

“It doesn’t help much if [those who find him] take it off,” Martin pointed out. He said the microchip has been the best tool in helping get Rocket back.

He said that now that Rocket is back, they intent to keep him around for a while. But it took a little time for Rocket’s feline roommates to recognize him after being gone for so long.

“When he got back, they were unfamiliar with him, and he with them,” Martin said. “But last night, they were beginning to be tolerant of each other.

“I think he’s glad to be home,” Martin said. “We’re happy to have him back.”