Residence Inn is being sued over lost cat by family traveling with 17 felines
Jeffrey and Shoshanna Johnson checked into a Residence Inn in Central Islip with their 17 cats and one dog, but they had to leave without Cotton the kitty, who was hiding somewhere in the suite. Then Cotton was taken home by the hotel manager before disappearing for good, according to the lawsuit. The Johnsons are seeking at least $150,000 in damages.
Cotton the missing kitty has found herself at the center of a federal lawsuit.
Jeffrey and Shoshanna Johnson checked into a Residence Inn with their brood of 17 cats and one German shepherd but were forced to leave the Central Islip, L.I., hotel last July without Cotton after she went into hiding somewhere in the three-room suite.
“Sometimes cats know when you’re leaving and they get scared,” Jeffrey Johnson said.
The cat-astrophe worsened when two days later Cotton emerged from her hiding place and was taken home by the hotel manager — only to take refuge inside the wall of her abode before disappearing for good, according to the Long Island Federal Court lawsuit.
“No worries. I don’t know where she is though. She has been hiding somewhere. I just put food out … she ate them last night,” hotel manager Kerri Leigh Black allegedly emailed the Johnsons after taking the cat home.
The suit, which seeks at least $150,000 in damages, contends the hotel management had explicit instructions to bring Cotton to a veterinarian so arrangements could be made to ship her to Israel, where the Johnsons reside with a cat family that has grown to 31 felines.
The Johnsons were then slapped with a $460 bill for Cotton’s two-day stay after they had left, and to relocate the guests who were in the suite with the freeloading cat.
“We love our cats; they’re part of our family,” Johnson, 55, told the Daily News on Friday.
“I absolutely believe Cotton is still alive, living in the wild.”
That would be somewhere in Ronkonkoma, where several searches by animal-rescue groups and even a “cat-sniffing dog” have failed to find Cotton, according to lawyer Lucille Roussin.
“The hotel room was not ‘pet safe’ and the manager should not have taken the cat home,” Roussin said.
After being approved for citizenship in Israel, they drove cross-country from Michigan with their 13-year-old son in a rented van packed with cat carriers, kitty litter and food.
Johnson said they booked two nights at the hotel because that particular chain is known in the “animal kingdom” to be pet-friendly and the cats needed some time to relax before the flight to Israel.
Marriott International did not return a call seeking comment and Black could not be reached.
Johnson said the hotel had a duty to safeguard Cotton.
“When a hotel chain knows a cat is sitting in a wall for seven days and they have billions of dollars, to turn their back is like they were hoping no one would find out, and that’s not right,” Johnson said.