When Lucy the cat wandered away from her Kokanee Creek Park campsite one July evening this past summer, her distraught guardians were not only heartbroken, they didn’t ever expect to see her again.
But a combination of luck, a Good Samaritan and pet identification led to a joyful reunion between Lucy and her guardians this week.
Lucy was taken to the Nelson BC SPCA Branch on October 4, after a local resident found her wandering around the Kokanee Marina.
“It is quite remarkable that this senior kitty survived,” says Nelson BC SPCA shelter manager Julie Fletcher. “There are many wild animals in that area but luckily she escaped them all. It is also very fortunate she had up-to-date ID, which is one of the primary reasons we were able to track down her guardians.”
Fletcher says the slight grey cat was thin but in very good spirits and had a healthy appetite. She was fed and also treated for fleas.
Lucy’s family was overjoyed to hear she had been found.
“Deep down I had a premonition she was still alive, but at the same time, I never expected to see Lucy again,” says her guardian, Victor Stevenson.
Lucy went missing in mid-July when Stevenson and his family were camping in the Nelson-area park and had left Lucy alone for just a few minutes.
“We were making dinner down at the beach and had left Lucy at the campsite while we were carrying gear to the beach. We came back to get her, but couldn’t find her anywhere. What was really upsetting was that she isn’t even an outdoors cat. She had been inside all her life and I only brought her this time because I didn’t want to her to feel lonely — we hired someone to care for her but Lucy’s getting on in years and I kind of wanted to have her with us,” says Stevenson.
The family as well as a friend who had accompanied the group searched the campground all evening, to no avail. The family had plans to leave for Nakusp the next day and from there to return to Edmonton. They drove to Nakusp, but returned to the park, reluctant to leave Lucy behind.
“We searched again, and asked park staff and other campers if anyone had seen her but there wasn’t any sign of her.”
The family finally had to return to Edmonton. Before leaving, they contacted the Nelson BC SPCA to report Lucy’s disappearance and provide a description of the lost cat. They also called the Nelson SPCA several times a month to see if anyone had found their pet.
“This family did everything exactly right, which made the reunion possible,” says Fletcher. “It is extremely difficult to reunite pets who have no ID or out-of-date ID with their guardians. Also, we urge the public to not only ID their pet, but contact their local SPCA with detailed information including a description or better yet a photo if their pet gets lost. We are extremely happy for Lucy and her family and were very pleased to be able to facilitate the reunion.”
Stevenson and his family travelled more than 1,400 kilometres in 16 hours to retrieve their beloved family member yesterday at the Cranbrook SPCA where Lucy was transferred by BC SPCA special constable Jeremy Irons to help speed up the happy reunion. Stevenson doesn’t know exactly why Lucy meandered away from the site and the senior cat isn’t telling. But Lucy’s family is eagerly looking forward to celebrating her 10th birthday this coming February. “You don’t give up on a family member,” says Stevenson, “and Lucy is family.”