Tamara was excited to learn her cat, Tweak, was still alive and well when she showed up at LAPS after 10 years. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Tamara was excited to learn her cat, Tweak, was still alive and well when she showed up at LAPS after 10 years. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Feline reunion a decade in the making

Langley Animal Protection Society staff were overjoyed to reunite a cat and owner after 10 years.

Jayne Nelson is a sucker for happy endings, and being in her line of work, she’s often moved to tears when petsand their humans are reunited.

But a reunion at the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) this week had her particularly ecstatic andemotional.

Turns out it was a reunion years in the making.

Tweak is a “gorgeous,” 16-year-old tabby who was brought into LAPS as a stray a couple of weeks ago, Nelsonexplained.

“She disappeared from her home [a decade ago] during a move, leaving her owner Tamara distraught,”elaborated Nelson, executive director for the Aldergrove-based animal shelter.

After searching far and wide for her, Tamara Deschene didn’t think she would ever see her “fur baby” again.

“I honestly thought she was gone. Like gone, gone,” she added.

She’d had Tweak since she was a kitten.

“Ten long years went by, and Tweak managed to find her way to us [LAPS],” Nelson explained, noting that anAldergrove resident noticed the cat had been left behind after neighbours moved away about a month earlier.When the cat showed up in their garage, seeking shelter, they decided to take her to the Patti Dale AnimalShelter.

The cat was brought into the shelter on March 12. During a vet check, it was determined she was about sixyears old and in good health. Turns out she’s much older than that, but still in very good shape, Deschene said.

Staff made several failed attempts to read a faded tattooed, and after a bit of searching finally managed to traceownership back to Deschene’s grandparent, whose number was used as the contact when Tweak was originallytattooed and spayed.

Deschene was only a teenager when the cat went missing. She believes she was when the cat bolted when thefamily’s was packing up to move from Aldergrove to Brookswood.

“I guess she was scared.”

Learning her cat had been found, the shell-shocked owner “immediately rushed to the shelter to be reunitedwith her long-lost friend,” Nelson said.

Tweak was reportedly very affectionate and happy to see Deschene, all purrs and drooling up a storm.

“I felt awful that she was alive all this time and I didn’t know,” she said. “I felt like she recognized me… And I’vejust been beaming from ear to ear.”

Staff were pretty excited, as well – even a few actually tears were shed, admitted Nelson.

Tweak has now returned home to live with Deschene, albeit in a new place and with some new family members.She’s settling in well to life with Deschene, her boyfriend of five years Jake Bell-Hall, and their three other cats(two boys Hades and Zeus, as well as another female named Aries).

“I’m a serious cat woman,” Deschene joked, noting the introduction is being done slowly to help ensure a safeadjustment. “Tweak is been a wonderful addition to our crew.”

“I think she’s fitting in well,” added the 28-year-old cat lover. “I’m thrilled. It’s like a flash from the past, in agood way.”

Permanent markings key to reunion

“We are so excited to have been a part of this happy story, and it is a great example of how important it is totattoo or microchip your pet,” Nelson said.

She pointed to a handful of reunions in recent months that are directly attributed to tattoos or microchips.

It was microchip in a recovered border collie named Ladybug that a few weeks ago led to a reunion with herowner after three years.

“That one had everyone crying,” said Nelson. “He was crying. We were crying.”

LAPS was involved in another odd reunion back in February, when an Alberta cat – lost in Hope last summerduring a move – found its way to Langley and was ultimately reunited with her Vancouver Island family.

RELATED: Langley shelter reunites Alberta cat with its Vancouver Island family

Then, back in December, a dog named Frankie was found wandering in Langley and reunited with his family inAlberta.

RELATED: Dog found wandering in Langley headed to his Alberta family

There have been a few other, maybe not as unique, reunions in the past few months, and it helps drive homethe message, Nelson said.

“We really, really strongly encourage people to get permanent ID. Tattoos are great. Microchips are better. And Iguess both tattoos and microchips are the very best option.”

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