A six-year-old cat that went missing for nearly three years and was presumed dead has found his way back to his South Surrey home.
Ocean Park’s Joanie Webster lost Pete in January, 2019 after he escaped her arms in front of a Crescent Beach veterinarian. Weeks of extensive searching proved fruitless. As the months passed, so did hope that Pete was alive.
Webster said she was convinced a coyote got him. As part of the grieving process, she even commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of Pete.
And then, in mid-September of this year, Webster received an unexpected call from an Ocean Park veterinarian, a few kilometres from where Pete had escaped.
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t even speak,” Webster said, recalling the phone call. “When I heard, I had to sit down. I was shaking, I was in shock, I cried.”
The veterinarian told Webster that a cat was turned in to the clinic by an elderly couple. The vet found a microchip in Pete’s neck that linked him back to the Webster family.
“He hadn’t had a mark on him. How he survived the outdoors and two frigid winters and some long, hot summers. It’s a story that we will never know. But I really do believe he knew to go to people’s porches and sit there until they fed him,” Webster said.
Pete doesn’t appear to have skipped a meal, weighing in at a hefty 16 pounds.
“This cat used up all of its nine lives,” Webster said Monday with Pete on her lap.
Webster said the elderly couple that brought Pete to the veterinarian were first visited by him about four months earlier. The couple told Webster that he was “thin as a rake” when he showed up, and wasn’t wearing a collar. Webster suspects Pete’s collar may have slipped off due to his weight loss.
The couple left food out for Pete and he kept returning for a bite to eat. The couple finally decided to catch the cat and bring him to the clinic.
Surprisingly, Webster said, there haven’t been any major issues with Pete readjusting to his old home.
“I’ve kept him inside and he’s not happy about that, but we expected that he would attack his sister Anna and he would spray all over the house, he would growl and hiss. He hasn’t done any of that. So that’s the other … part of this story, is that there was a lot of kindness on his journey home.”
After Pete escaped, Webster’s husband Tom said the family was running through ‘what if’ scenarios. Being reunited with Pete is like a second chance, he added.
The Websters adopted Pete and his sister Anna after someone dumped the two kittens over a fence in Ocean Park when they were about two weeks old. Pete was named after Peter Pan.
The fluffy cat, who was calm while posing for a photo Monday, clearly has some explaining to do about his whereabouts for the past three years. However, he declined to comment.
So Webster can only speculate about where Pete has been and how he was able to survive, particularly through winter. She suspects that multiple families in the Ocean Park and Crescent Beach area helped look after Pete, for which she is grateful.
Webster said she would like to speak to anyone who helped Pete on his journey home, whether they gave him a warm place to stay or some food to eat. The Websters can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org