Comeback cat: Years later, missing Sooke kitty ‘Survivor’ found with new family

Comeback cat: Years later, missing Sooke kitty 'Survivor' found with new family
Photo: Emily Lock
Emily Lock is photographed with Survivor, more than three years after the cat went missing from her Sooke home. Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

When Emily Lock’s cat “Survivor” went missing from her Sooke home, she never expected it would take more than three years to see her again.

The black cat, now about four years old, vanished back in September 2020 when she was just a months-old kitten, and after Lock and family had nursed her to health.

“Her mother was hit and killed when she was 10 days old, so I had to bottle feed this kitten, and I had to bring a friend in when I was working,” recalled Lock.

So the name Survivor was only fitting. “Then she disappeared and showed up again, so she really is a true Survivor,” she told CHEK News Wednesday.

Lock got the call Monday that the cat was back.

“It was pretty amazing, for sure,” she said, recalling the phone call with her veterinarian. “The vet phoned me and said, ‘We found Survivor!’ They were quite involved from the get-go, then, of course, she went missing.

“They were so excited.”

But the cat wasn’t alone — her “new family,” also from Sooke, had brought her to the vet, where a scan of her microchip led staff to discover it was, in fact, Survivor.

Lock had gotten her microchipped when she was a kitten, and she was also wearing a flea collar with an address when she went missing. But it may have slipped off.

“You’d be surprised. It happens more than we would like it to,” said Kelly Miller, a vet assistant at Sooke Veterinary Hospital, who cared for the cat.

“People who find cats don’t realize that there are some that are microchipped, they’re tattooed. So they don’t think to scoop up the cat and bring it to a vet clinic or the SPCA. We scan for microchips, we check for a tattoo.”

A microchip is a tiny, computerized chip that’s placed underneath the cat’s skin. It’s used as a form of identification, similar to a tattoo.

‘Couldn’t bear to take her away’

Lock says Survivor is an outdoor cat and likely roamed off her property in 2020 before being picked up by her new family, who brought her to the vet for a check-up earlier this week.

“They found a lump on the stomach, so they were concerned,” said Lock. “So they brought her to the vet on Monday. She seemed to be in a bit of pain.”

Despite missing Survivor for years, she thinks it’s best she stays put.

“They’ve had her for four years,” said Lock.

“The dad, who’s a senior, I’d say, was just crying in the parking lot because they obviously just told him that the cat belonged to someone else. If it would have been four months later, it may have been a different story. But it’s four years later.”

Lock, however, says she’ll see the cat again.

“I said, ‘My kids are going to kill me, that I’m going to let you guys keep this cat, so we’re going to come visit.’ You know, I think this gentleman just loves the cat. He said he has two acres of property, and the cat is very well-loved, and it was.

“So I couldn’t bear to take her away.”

Paws-itive outcome

It was the longest cold cat case Miller had ever seen.

She says it can be a “heartbreaking” situation for all involved, and one that staff at the vet hospital see quite often.

“So the original owner has moved on because they think their cat has passed away or is gone. So they get a new pet, and at that point, sometimes they can’t bring the cat back into the household,” she said.

“The new people love this cat, but the original owner is heartbroken too.”

But, in this case, it was a positive outcome.

“I sent them some pictures of when she was a kitten,” said Lock.

Miller encourages owners of lost or missing cats to post about the animal to local Facebook groups like FLED and ROAM, which is what Lock did back in 2020.

“So people post photos of their cat and, in the description, say their cat is microchipped. The only way you can tell that’s your cat would be through that microchip,” noted Miller, as some cats look so alike.

“Lots of people with cats try to make them indoors, but some cats, you just can’t. Some cats will not have a happy life inside. Most times, they’ll come back in.”

In the end, Survivor was given the all-clear during her vet appointment on Monday.

“We did a full check-up, and there’s nothing to worry about,” added Miller.

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

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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