First it was Tito, the four-pound Chihuahua who was jettisoned across the inner loop of the Capital Beltway in Alexandria. This time, it's Hillary.
Hillary, a 3-year-old black Persian cat with dainty white feet, made a hasty exit out of her owner's car on the Beltway last week. According to the "LOST!" fliers posted all over town, Hillary simply opened one of the car's push-button windows and jumped out.
Her devastated owners, who live in Springfield Station, spent hours calling out for Hillary along the interstate near Route 1 and Telegraph Road, said Kate Mullens, director of the Alexandria Animal Welfare league, which distributed the fliers.
Hillary flew out the window Aug. 6 not far from where Tito was ejected when his owners' tractor-trailer crashed, Mullens said. Like Tito--who was found unharmed April 8, several days after a search for the "Lost Taco Bell Dog" was launched--Hillary also had a good shot at landing on her feet, Mullens said.
"I think a cat could survive," Mullens said. "They're very agile."
Mullens warned motorists that it's not that unusual for a cat or dog to open the electric windows in a car. "It's a natural thing for animals to do, look out the window," she said.
She should know. Last year, Mullens picked up a stray cat and was driving back to the animal shelter when she heard the hum of the window being lowered in the back seat. She raised it. The cat lowered it. She raised it.
"We were having a tug of war," Mullens said. "It could cause an accident."
Mullens advised motorists traveling with animals to make sure their child safety locks are on. And anyone who sees a spayed black Persian cat with orange eyes, white feet and a white neck who answers to Hillary should call the welfare league at 703-838-4775, she said.
As for Tito, whose trucker owners have healed from their injuries, he's back on the road again.