'She just sounds the same, too': Woman reunited with lost cat after 6 years
Published Saturday, April 4, 2015 5:20PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 5, 2015 2:27PM EDT
After an emotional reunion six years in the making, an Edmonton woman finally has her long-lost cat back in her arms.
Amanda Graham greeted Cleo with tears of happiness at the Edmonton International Airport on Saturday -- years after the calico cat went missing in Ontario.
“She just sounds the same, too,” Graham said, adding she believes Cleo still remembers her despite the six-year separation.
Graham had lost Cleo when the cat was just 1.5 years old, while attending school in Ontario.
The missing cat was never found, and when Graham returned to her home province of Alberta, she gave up her search.
"It was hard … having to just give up on an animal," Graham told CTV Edmonton last month. "I thought she was dead."
But Betty-Jean Matthews, president of Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue, says the calico cat was found prowling the streets of Brockville, Ont., last September.
Cleo was eventually picked up by the local pound, and when it couldn't locate the cat's owner, it was put on a euthanasia list.
That's when Matthews got involved. Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue took over the case in hopes of tracking down Cleo's original owner.
The first clue came to light after Matthews took the cat for a routine checkup, and the vet noticed a faded tattoo on its ear. The marking was traced back to an Edmonton veterinary clinic where the cat had been spayed six years ago.
But they still couldn’t locate her owner. So Matthews turned to her daughter for some help with Internet sleuthing.
"We were able to scan through (Graham's Facebook) photos, and there we found photos of Cleo," Matthews said.
There was one more hurdle to clear before Cleo could make her way back to Graham: The Edmonton native couldn't afford the costs of flying her long-lost cat home.
An online crowdfunding campaign by Stuck in the Mud secured the $1,000 needed to cover the cost of airfare, meals and accommodations for the cat and a caretaker in just a few hours.
After Saturday’s reunion, Graham said she was taking Cleo home to stretch her legs, as the cat had travelled several hours on her Toronto-to-Edmonton flight.