A tornado blew one Nebraska family's cat over the rainbow — but the cat came back.
But it wasn't exactly the very next day.
The Tighe family thought their cat Harley was a goner after the 8-year-old feline disappeared in a May 22, 2004, tornado, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
Harley also wasn't very nice, owner Sue Tighe told the paper, so even if the plucky kitty survived the twister that also claimed the family's home, she didn't think anyone would take the temperamental little guy in.
But Harley tamed the tornado: trotting back up to his home in Hallam on Monday.
Samantha Tighe, Sue's grown daughter, spied a large orange-and-white tabby at the edge of the yard that issued the catastrophe cat's characteristic chirpy meow when she called to him.
"As soon as he started running and meowing, I knew it was him," Samantha told the Journal Star.
After checking his markings against his kitten pictures it was certain: Harley had bucked a twister.
Sue was given Harley when he was a 4-week-old kitten — later giving him to her then 10-year-old son Shaun.
The fantastic feline's story only gets more touching.
Shaun is now 20 and serving in the Army National Guard and is likely headed to Iraq in March.
The National Guard let Shaun come home for Christmas, and the night Harley came back was the night before he was set to leave. Sue told the Journal Star that Shaun sat outside and petted his old cat for 45 minutes — and the whole homecoming unfolded as though Harley knew he would be seeing him off.
Crete veterinarian Jeremiah Vondra, who treated Harley after he came home, said the far-fetched feline returned in remarkably good health — and a few earmites seemed to be the only concern.
"I think he used his nine lives up," Vondra told the Journal Star.
Sue Tighe says she still has all kinds of questions about how the twister-taming tabby got by.
"Where has he been? What's he been doing for the past year and a half? It's just weird," she told the paper. "But we’re glad he's home."
— Thanks to Out There reader Leah P.
Vengeful Mice Just Burn Me Up
FORT SUMNER, N.M. (AP) — A mouse got its revenge against a homeowner who tried to dispose of it in a pile of burning leaves. The blazing creature ran back to the man's house and set it on fire.
Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner said he caught the mouse inside his house and wanted to get rid of it.
"I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house," Mares said from a motel room Saturday.
Village Fire Chief Juan Chavez said the burning mouse ran to just beneath a window, and the flames spread up from there and throughout the house.
No one was hurt inside, but the home and everything in it was destroyed.
Unseasonably dry and windy conditions have charred more than 53,000 acres and destroyed 10 homes in southeastern New Mexico in recent weeks.
"I've seen numerous house fires," village Fire Department Capt. Jim Lyssy said, "but nothing as unique as this one."
— Thanks to Out There readers Sipke H., Katie M., Rebecca T., Jill B., Joseph J., Paul O., Kris P., Mike Y., Allan C., and Laura K.
Mrs. Moo Moo Begs for Clemency
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A spirited cow that jumped a slaughterhouse gate and evaded capture for six hours has drawn clemency pleas and may not be doomed after all.
Appeals to spare the life of the 1,200-pound heifer came from across the nation after she fled Mickey's Packing Plant on Thursday, and had several near-death experiences before walking into a makeshift pen and then a stock trailer.
Road and rail traffic nearly hit her, she almost drowned while crossing the Missouri River and she refused to be stilled by three tranquilizer darts.
The manager of Mickey's Packing Plant said the animal he dubbed Molly B. probably will be spared from the killing floor. Employees at Mickey's voted 10-1 to keep her alive.
"At this point, I have no desire to slaughter her," manager Del Morris said. "If the owner insists, I'll have to tell him to take her somewhere else."
Morris said the owner is willing to sell Molly B., who remained at the packing plant after her capture, but wants more than the estimated $1,140 she is worth slaughtered.
"We've had a lot of people show a lot of interest in the animal and its welfare," he said. "I don't think it's over. I think as days go by we'll be getting more calls."
— Thanks to Out There reader Margaret B.
Running From the Truth
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A bus driver has been charged with fraud and grand theft for allegedly completing a marathon while receiving workers' compensation for a back injury, prosecutors said.
Johnny Chavarria, 57, a driver for the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, allegedly finished the Big Sur Marathon while receiving thousands of dollars in workers' compensation funds.
Chavarria was arrested Friday following an investigation into the injury claim he filed in June 2003.
"You can't run marathons if you are not well enough to drive a Metro bus," said District Attorney Bob Lee. "It's not just wrong; it's criminal."
Chavarria began receiving payments after being rated at "temporary total disabled." He was paid until returning to work in July 2004, prosecutors said.
Chavarria could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Chavarria was released from Santa Cruz County Jail on Friday after posting $25,000 bail. He was scheduled to appear in court later this month.
Thief Steals Everything Including the Kitchen Sink
GILROY, Calif. (AP) — Home burglars who literally made off with the kitchen sink hit the jackpot with another odd item stolen in the same heist: a wrought-iron staircase banister worth $120,000, police said.
The two-story banister and other home furnishings disappeared sometime around Dec. 19 from a Gilroy home that was being remodeled, Deputy Serg Palanov, spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, said Thursday.
The total value of the items was about $150,000, authorities said. Investigators said they were scouring the eBay auction Web site and local flea markets and salvage yards for any sign of the railing.
Authorities believe the intruders entered the 1920s home through a missing door and might have posed as work crews. No one was home at the time.
They suspect the theft is connected to two other recent burglaries at nearby homes in Gilroy, about 30 miles south of San Jose.
Besides alder wood doors, sinks and a large burl wood table, the thieves also made off with the expensive hardwood-lined staircase banister rail, which was bolted securely to the floor and featured sculpted bronze horse heads on its steel uprights, police said.
"The banister had been ripped out of the floor at its base," Palanov said. "I don't know if someone thought it was gold, because otherwise, you don't come into a house and say, 'Hey! A staircase!'"
— Thanks to Out There reader Margaret B.
Ooooh! I'm Not Supposed to Blow Dry My Hair With a Heat Gun!
DETROIT (AP) — A warning that consumers shouldn't use a heat gun that produces temperatures of 1,000 degrees as a hairdryer has won an anti-lawsuit group's award for the wackiest label of the year.
The Wacky Warning Label Contest, in its ninth year, is conducted by Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch as part of an effort to show the effects of lawsuits on warning labels.
"When judges see it as their job to dismiss cases that are rooted in frivolous theories, we'll see fewer wacky labels and more fairness in the courts," said Robert B. Dorigo Jones, the group's president.
The $500 first prize went to Tom Brunelle of Holland, who spotted the heat gun warning.
The $250 second prize award went to Jam Sardar of Grand Rapids for a label on a kitchen knife that warns: "Never try to catch a falling knife."
Third prize of $100 went to Alice Morgan of La Junta, Colo. She found a cocktail napkin with a map of the waterways around Hilton Head Island, S.C., printed on it that cautioned: "Not to be used for navigation."
An honorable mention went to Kirk Dunham of Seabrook, Texas. He found this warning on a bottle of dried bobcat urine used to keep pests away from garden plants: "Not for human consumption."
— Thanks to Out There readers Greg M., Bill B. and Derek H.
Girlfriend Steps All Over the King's Blue Suede Shoes
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of pieces of Elvis Presley memorabilia were auctioned off over the weekend by a longtime collector trying to win back his girlfriend after she warned: "You leave the Elvis clothes or I'll leave you."
The items auctioned included three Elvis concert suits, two of which sold for $125,000 and $50,000, said Alan Lipkin, senior vice president of Regency-Superior, which organized the online auction. The third was still on the auction block.
Also sold were necklaces Elvis gave to girlfriends and friends, cufflinks he received from President Nixon and belt buckles he wore, Lipkin said.
The seller, Jim Curtin, collected 600 cartons of Elvis memorabilia for more than 30 years and met the star several times.
His unrelenting adoration eventually got the attention of Elvis, who personally presented Curtin with a white jumpsuit he wore in a Houston concert in 1974, according to the Regency Web site.
So why give up the lifetime collection?
"He's doing this to try to win back his girlfriend," said Lipkin.
Attempts to reach Curtin, who lives in Philadelphia and has an unlisted number, were unsuccessful.
Total auction sales wouldn't be tabulated until Tuesday, but organizers estimate the take could reach $2 million.
— Click in the photo box above to see a pic of the Elvis auction.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Andrew Hard.
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