A Langley cat returned home after 490 days – the owner thanked community Facebook groups for the ‘miracle’.
Finley, a feral cat, was found in a forest in Willoughby on December 17, after a Langley resident found him searching for food during the harsh winter season.
Andy Evans, the cat’s owner, began handing out missing posters three days after Finley ran away from the house in August.
After 10 months of fruitless searches, Evans finally got a lead – a Facebook post with details of Finley’s whereabouts. The cat had been spotted by a member of the community in a forest not far from Evans’ house.
Evans rushed into the forest but couldn’t catch up with Finley – who he said was too terrified.
Sarah Jones, executive director of Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS), said it was difficult to restore trust with a cat after such a long period of time.
“You never know what the cat has been through when he’s alone and as a result he may not trust people right away,” Jones said.
Evans then hired a professional company to set up traps and cameras in the forest.
“I spent a fortune on it,” he said. But, all his efforts were in vain.
He received several other leads on the chat locations via social media. Evans even drove once in the forest after midnight, but he thinks Finley was too scared and didn’t trust anyone.
About 14 months later, Evans received a phone call – a resident of Willoughby managed to lure the cat into his house by offering him food.
Evans – delighted with happiness – drove straight to Finley.
It’s been over a month since Finley’s return, and Evans said the cat hasn’t gone out once since then.
“I think he has nothing to do with the outdoors after having lived so long in the forest,” he added.
While many people have found their pets after months of searching, Jennifer Schroeder of LAPS was surprised to learn of the 490-day search effort.
“What? Wow! This is amazing,” said Schroeder.
“We have found that many people who lose their cats do not microchip or tattoo them, which makes it more difficult to track. [the cats] return, ”she added.
Schroeder further encouraged people with missing pets to call LAPS to file a loss report. She noted that the Aldergrove-based organization has a well-connected network that can help pet owners try to find their loved ones.
Jones also asked people to contact LAPS if they find a stray cat or dog.
“We had a recent case where someone took in a lost cat and did not report it [it]. People need to understand that lost animals should be returned to their rightful owners and it is important that people use the appropriate resources, ”she explained.
Evans was surprised at how social media users came forward to help him.
“It was teamwork,” he said. Evans thinks that finding her cat without the help of the neighborhood Facebook groups would have been an uphill battle.
“This is something positive that happened amid all the negativity you typically see on social media,” he added.
To report missing pets, people can contact LAPS at 604-857-5055.
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