Montrealer reunites with lost cat in Ottawa, months later
Published Friday, April 20, 2012 10:29PM EDT
When a lovable, long-haired tabby cat named Suki went missing from her Montreal home on July 4, 2011, her owners never imagined they would see their pet again.
Today, however, Marie-Claude Cuerrier and Leonard Parr have reason to celebrate after stumbling upon Suki in a PetSmart store on Thursday in Ottawa.
"How could a lost cat from Montreal end up in Ottawa? It's just so unbelievable," Cuerrier said on Friday during a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca.
Cuerrier first let Suki's heart-warming tale out of the bag in a submission made to MyNews.CTV.ca.
The social worker specializing in long-term care had been in Ottawa for a two-day training session to become a certified GPA coach. That technique, known as Gentle Persuasive Approaches, is used to help care for older adults with dementia.
On her way back to Montreal, Cuerrier stepped into the PetSmart store. Against all odds, Cuerrier spotted Suki sitting in one of the glass display cases.
The SPCA of Western Quebec lends lost pets to PetSmart to find them a home.
"I knew right away it was her," said Cuerrier.
The overjoyed cat owner relayed Suki's sad tale to an employee, who called the SPCA to unearth details about the animal.
Remarkably, Cuerrier learned that Suki had been transferred from Montreal to Aylmer, now a sector of the City of Gatineau, Que. which is close to Ottawa.
"The whole thing was like a miracle. It made me believe that anything is possible in this world," Cuerrier said.
Cuerrier adopted Suki as a kitten in 2005, when the animal was two months old.
Suki's mother and all her kittens had been retrieved from the streets by one of Cuerrier's friends.
Cuerrier and her partner Parr, a medical billing accountant in Montreal, welcomed the stray into their home. That home included three other adopted strays: Jessy, a German Shepherd; Miko, a calico cat; and Squeak, a three-legged cat that had lost one leg after being struck in a car accident.
For three months after Suki's departure, Cuerrier and Parr plastered their neighbourhood with posters.
Some people tried to pass off other cats as Suki to the couple. Others told Cuerrier and Parr that Suki had been killed by a car.
"We really lost our hope," said Cuerrier.
That hope was restored the second that Suki was taken from her PetSmart compartment and reintroduced to Cuerrier.
Suki's time on the road had left their mark, as Cuerrier quickly noted.
"She had ear mites when she was first found, so a lot of her fur was missing," said Cuerrier.
The nervous animal was also reluctant to interact with Cuerrier.
"She's always been a nervous cat around strangers. But once she knows you and you start petting her you can't get her off you," said Cuerrier, with a laugh.
In a matter of moments, Suki was on her back lapping up Cuerrier's affections as she brushed the cat's shedding coat.
Cuerrier still had to pay $175 to claim Suki, as is the usual rule with all SPCA animals. But Cuerrier has no regrets.
"It was wonderful to have her home again," said Cuerrier.
"Even my dog recognized Suki. The minute Jessy saw her he picked up her favourite toy and walked it to Suki," she said.
Slowly but surely, Suki picked up her life and her old routine, which included snoozing in her owners' bed.
"I woke up this morning and there she was sleeping next to us, just the way she always did," said Cuerrier.
"Nothing could better," she said.