It’s been an agonizing week for Susan Jacqueline L’Heureux who suffers from major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Last Christmas, she was gifted her support cat, an orange tabby named 3PO, but now, he’s missing.
“He could be under somebody’s house. He could be anywhere. But one place is not is here and I’m missing him a lot,” she said.
He escaped on Canada Day, likely due to the heat.
She’s put up flyers and signs with high hopes that he’ll return, but he remains missing to this day.
“What does he mean to me? He gets me up every morning. He gives me unconditional love. He’s unbelievable,” L’Heureux said.
She says it’s heartbreaking to know there are other cat owners experiencing the same pain right now.
According to Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing (ROAM), there has been an influx of missing cats in the region and they suspect it’s likely due to the heat wave that scorched Western Canada.
The organization said it’s seen double the number of reported cases this year compared to last year.
It said 25 cats were reported missing July 2020, but now 50 cats have been reported missing within the first week alone of this month.
“It kind of snuck up on us and we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re so busy. We can’t keep up!’ And we’re posting cats at 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Lesli Steeves, the organization’s administrator.
She explained that many indoor cats have escaped during the heat wave looking for somewhere cool to be, not realizing they’re safest at home.
“It’s a really unusual time. We’re not used to this kind of heat and neither are our animals,” Steeves said.
With this summer expected to be a hot one, she urges pet owners to do whatever they can to keep their animals cool, including providing a lot of cool water to drink and using a cooling mat.
While some owners have been reunited with their furry friends, others, like L’Heureux are still searching and she said she’s not giving up until she finds him.
Anyone with information can call ROAM at 778-977-6265, 778-977-6260 or email at [email protected]ambc.org.