When Chilliwack resident Jodie Fulcher came home in the evening of April 20, she wasn’t greeted by her Blue Persian kitty, Charlie.
The fluffy grey feline with a distinctive flat face has strictly been deemed an ‘indoor’ cat, since escaping when he was younger, landing in a bit of tussle.
But Jodie thinks he must have snuck out just as her roommate was shutting the door at night. After a morning of searching near her home the next day, to no avail by Charlie’s dinner-time, Jodie’s concern for her faithful companion grew to distress.
“Having a mom who’s a vet, I’ve seen cats who are torn up and injured come into the office all the time,” Jodie told The Progress. “So I was really worried knowing he was out there.”
She called on her family, friends and neighbours to help – but she never expected the community to come together like it did.
Jodie contacted the SPCA and animal control. Her dad created a stack of ‘Lost Cat’ flyers and distributed them through the Promontory neighbourhood. A friend of her mom’s posted a notice in a private Facebook group.
“Then there was an outpouring of support from complete strangers,” Jodie expressed. A huge amount of comments and shares allowed the online post to reach a massive audience.
It seemed half of Chilliwack was calling Charlie’s name and keeping an eye out for him when they went out for walks.
Jodie even received encouraging responses from a Craigslist post. One individual sent her helpful information about displaced cats, noting that when their survival instincts kick in, lost pets can last far longer than owners expect.
On April 25, Jodie received a voicemail from a woman who was walking with her son and had seen the online posts about Charlie. She said she wasn’t sure if it was him, but she saw a grey cat along Teskey Road.
Jodie dropped everything, ran up the hill and starting knocking on doors. She peeked through the backyards of one house after the next. She almost lost hope in her optimistic tip, and then she saw him.
Charlie’s distinctive face popped up behind a fence post, just 15 houses away from his home. It seems he had been camping out in a dry spot he found underneath the nearby homeowner’s back deck.
“I consider myself so lucky. He didn’t have a scratch on him,” Jodie said, relieved. He quickly scarfed down three meals worth of food to make up for lost time. “But he was still him. Just happy to be home.”
Through the stressful week, Jodie learned just how important our pets are to us, and how strongly people can relate. “I was so surprised by how many animal lovers there are in this city. People went out of their way to help me find Charlie,” she said with gratitude.
Like an impromptu tag-team, every time Jodie felt discouraged and gave up looking for the day, she’d receive an update from a friend or stranger saying that they’re going out to look for him.
“They got so invested in somebody else’s pet. That was really cool.”
Jodie’s experience serves as a reminder to keep an updated collar on your pet, and to talk to your veterinarian about having your pet tattooed and/or microchipped for permanent identification. But Jodie learned another valuable message as well.
“If you lose your pet, don’t give up early. Use all the avenues you have available to you to find them,” she said.
“Don’t just sit on your thumbs and hope. Get out there and be proactive.”