‘He was just sitting there’: Missing cat returns after being lost for 3 years on Vancouver Island


A Greater Victoria animal rescue agency says a missing cat has been located more than three years after it went missing, setting a new record for the longest amount of time that an animal has been lost and recovered.

It was as cold a cat case as ROAM has ever seen.

“Two-and-a-half years,” says ROAM co-founder Terry Mah, speaking of the longest period an animal has ever been missing and reunited with its family. “That was a cat out in Brentwood Bay.”

The cat in question today is Smokey from the Colwood area. He’s almost 14, and in May of 2020 he stepped out the front door and never looked back.

“He was an indoor and outdoor cat, but we moved to this house in September of 2019 and we kept him inside for eight months. ‘I’m out, I’m going for a wander’ [he must’ve thought],” says Jansen from her home in the Happy Valley area.

Jansen contacted ROAM when Smokey went missing, but days turned to months, and months turned to years. Three years and three months after Smokey first took off, he finally returned.

Jansen’s son Roman managed to snap a picture of the scraggly-haired visitor in the driveway.

“Wait, he’s actually here. He’s actually still alive,” he recalls. He then texted the photo to his sister, Alexandria.

“He was just sitting there staring at us,” she says.

Smokey didn’t stick around that night but Krista contacted ROAM once more, and after setting a trap with food in the driveway, it was just a matter of time.

On the second night, Smokey stepped inside a circular trap, and like it or not, he was home. It didn’t take him long to reconnect.

“That’s the thing,” says Jansen. “He was purring and coming up to us right away and letting us pet him. Clearly it wasn’t us [that was the problem],” she says.

Barb Mah was concerned with the cat’s condition.

“He was anaemic for sure, but he was definitely eating something,” she said. Mah also noted that Smokey’s condition was listed at a two out of nine for overall health and that his fur was heavily matted.

He’s since had a haircut and is being gradually reintroduced to regular feedings.

During Smokey’s absence, the family added two rescue kittens to their household.

“There’s a lot of hissing,” says Alexandria.

Not surprisingly, Smokey is on house arrest.

“He’s not going anywhere,” laughs Jansen.

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