Astonished residents from all over the East End made hundreds of calls to police on Saturday as dozens of cats began descending from the sky.
The landings were widely dispersed across the area, with cats reported from Baiting Hollow to Montauk. The first reports of the strange phenomenon came in at around 3:45 p.m., and sightings continued until at least 7:30 p.m. At the same time, police received word of a Cat Float event in Connecticut that had been undertaken in spite of dangerously high winds with a general bulletin to be on the lookout for straying cats.
“You really shouldn’t do a Cat Float in high winds, it turns out,” says Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch.
Cat Floats, events in which cat owners attach lighter-than-air balloons to their animals and release them to see how far they can go, have become popular across the country. It would seem that the cats that appeared here on Saturday, carried by gusts from the shores of Connecticut, probably flew a lot farther than their owners intended. But according to Hirsch, the cats that officers retrieved were generally unharmed.
“The cats’ landings were mostly gentle, as each cat was tethered to a dozen or more helium balloons, which naturally slowed their descents. A few cats landed in trees and couldn’t get down, but we have a lot of experience dealing with that. We don’t know how many might have landed on water.”
The cats’ owners are urged to contact the Hampton Police to arrange to collect their animals.