A ToyFair Miracle! A Kidnapped Cat Hitches a Cross-Country Ride Home with Exhibitor Build & Imagine.

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Laurie Peterson founded Build & Imagine after noticing that the kind of play experiences she loved as a child (involving building and problem solving) were not well reflected in the “girls” section of the toy store. Laurie’s line of magnetic building sets, known as “StoryWalls”, feature adventurous female characters and rich narrative details.

Build & Imagine StoryWalls were honored with numerous awards including a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and Dr. Toy’s Best Classic Award for re-imagining the classic dollhouse as a building toy.


Oakland, CA (February 8, 2016) – “I was putting the key in my front door after a run when I felt something soft brush up against my leg. I glanced down and saw an adorable fluffy white cat with black splotches looking up at me and purring,” recalled Laurie Peterson, Founder and CEO of Build & Imagine toys. “As I opened the door he hopped right inside and quickly made himself at home despite the protests of our rescued mutt Bruiser.”

The Petersons assumed it was a neighborhood cat out for a stroll in their Oakland California neighborhood and encouraged him to go out and find his way back home. A week later the friendly cat had nestled deeper into the laps and hearts of the Petersons.

“We knew a family mutrousersst be missing their cat so my five year old and I posted flyers at intersections and sent emails to the neighborhood list serve, but heard nothing. Finally we called the vet and asked if they would check him for a microchip. They said they would be happy to, free of charge. On the drive to get the cat scanned my husband and I decided we’d keep it if we couldn’t find his family. All of this was happening during a very busy time preparing to exhibit my new building toys at the New York Toy Fair, but when something this sweet comes pawing on your door, you need to make room in your home.”

The vet technician scanned the cat and found a HomeAgain registered microchip. She called the service and returned to the waiting room with the news. “Your cat’s name is Trousers!” she exclaimed to the delight of the Peterson family. “It sounds like his owners haven’t updated their contact information because they are listed as being in New York. The service will connect you with updated information.”

HomeAgain called with surprising news. Trousers went missing in June. In Brooklyn!

Across the country, Trouser’s owners, the Landaus, held back their excitement as they were initially skeptical that it was really their cat. “He’s been with us for 9 years and has been the victim of catnapping before but we are stunned to say the least that someone moved him across the country!” said Trouser’s Brooklyn based owner Heather Williams-Landaus. “He’s a determined indoor and outdoor cat and because that’s not so common here in the city, certain people make the assumption that he’s homeless.”

The Landaus asked to receive a picture as confirmation, and replied without hesitation, “That is definitely Trousers! We gave him that name because the black splotches on his rear make it look like he’s wearing pants.” Their joy crept in on the knowledge of Trouser’s safety and the promise of his return.

“We’re not sure how long he is for this world because he has a tumor on his leg that is cancerous and we considered that living out his golden years in the golden state might just be a beautiful gift for him, but this is his home. Wpets_300x600e got him as a kitten when he really was a stray the summer we were married. He was born just 2 blocks from our house and he’s lived with us for 9 years and through the birth of 3 children. I could accept that he was gone but we were sad we didn’t get to say goodbye, and we’d all be overjoyed to have him home again.”

But then there was the tricky matter of transporting Trousers all the way from California to New York.

Luckily Laurie Peterson had a solution that just seemed right. She’s headed to New York in a few days for the International Toy Fair. Trousers will hitch a ride with her on her cross-country Virgin America flight.

“The fact that you have him and are flying here next week kinda confirms the fact that he’s meant to come home,” concluded Heather Williams- Landaus. “He is known and loved by every person on our street and has way more friends in the neighborhood than we do. His return is going to bring an untold amount of joy to dozens of people.”

And thus, the kidnapped cat hitches a cross-country ride home with Toy Fair exhibitor Build & Imagine. Perhaps the real story resides inside of Trousers. “I really wish he could tell us about his crazy adventures!” expressed owner Heather Williams-Landaus.

2/22 Update

Trousers had a safe trip in the airplane cabin with Laurie and was picked up by his family at the airport for a happy reunion. Here he is enjoying being back at home:

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About Build & Imagine Toys
Laurie Peterson, an award-winning toy designer and mother, founded Build & Imagine, the maker of whimsically illustrated magnetic building sets. With this re-imagining of the classic dollhouse, young architects join colorfully illustrated magnetic panels to construct backdrops for imaginative play with the included magnetic dress-up characters and props. Laurie’s love of animals shines through in their product line. In fact, the theme of their “Pet Portrait Studio” playset is helping shelter pets get adopted. Learn more at www.buildandimagine.com

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About HomeAgain
Without proper identification, 90% of pets never come home again. An embedded microchip in your pet combined with a pet recovery system like HomeAgain will give your pet the best chance in coming home to you. http://public.homeagain.com/

About Toy Fair
Toy Fair is a tradeshow in New York from Feb 13-16th featuring more than 10,000 toys. Toy Fair is produced by the Toy Industry Association™, Inc. (TIA), the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys and youth entertainment products to kids of all ages.

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