George the Cat Comes Back
His adventure did not last nearly as long as Willow’s, the cat found after five years, but George would have quite a story to tell.
George’s journey began September 23rd, in Fort McMurray, Alberta. His owner, Vanessa Summerfield, needed to find a pet-friendly apartment so she sent her feline friend to hang out with her family in Ontario until she found one.
The cat’s Air Canada flight landed in Edmonton. In the chaos of unloading bags and bundles, George escaped the carrier — twice — and fled. A group of volunteers searched the area for weeks, but not until November 22nd did they find a black and white cat, frozen. They informed the heartbroken Summerfield but thought to take the body to a vet before cremation. That’s when they learned the frozen cat was a female, not George.
Edmonton airport employees continued to catch sight of him from time to time. They left food and shelters around, hoping to lure him in. They even tried to track him with a donated infrared camera that was triggered by motion.
Summerfield posted updates on Facebook. Sympathetic comments, encouragement and ideas poured in, along with stories of other lost pets. But George stayed lost.
On December 20th, he showed up in a neighborhood five kilometers from the airport. He was thin and a little wary, but Hope Gulseth offered him blankets and food and gradually persuaded him to come inside. Her husband searched online. A Kijiji posting led him to the Facebook page and to Summerfield.
West Jet offered to fly George home, accompanied by two employees who had been part of the search team. Lori Oshanek and Patti Deby, both animal rescuers, made sure he arrived safely. This time the wandering cat rode in the cabin with his two new pals, inside a tightly secured kennel. They delivered him right into the arms of a very relieved Vanessa Summerfield.
Not every cat ends up on CBC’s TV news program, The National, but George did.
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Photo of George posted on Facebook by Vanessa Summerfield