The cat came back for Mary Brown, but it certainly wasn’t the very next day.
In fact, it was exactly two years – plus four days – later, that her cat DJ returned to her family, something the Courtenay resident is calling “a Christmas miracle.”
The 17-year-old Russian Blue, which Brown and her husband adopted from the Comox Valley SPCA, went outside for his nightly walk Dec. 1, 2014.
“He never came home. By morning, I was just going out of my mind because it wasn’t like him; he’s never gone missing before,” explained an emotional Brown.
In an effort to find their beloved pet, Brown put up between 400-500 posters in Courtenay, placed ads on social media and notified veterinarians and the SPCA.
“In my heart, there was a sliver of hope, but after two years and four days, you kind of feel, like, surviving those cold winters and hot summers … how could (a cat) survive?”
Brown regularly searched and continued to update online sites throughout the years to remind the community DJ was still missing.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, “but we never gave up on him – he’s our baby,” she noted.
On Dec. 1 of this year, Brown’s other cat, Bigfoot, had to be put down due to illness – exactly two years after DJ went missing.
On Dec. 5, Brown received a call from a local veterinarian that someone had brought in a grey cat. The vet cross-referenced the tattoo on DJ’s ear, and traced it back to Brown.
“I couldn’t believe it. Our cats are my kids. When your baby goes missing, you always wonder where they are, if they’re alive or dead.”
Brown began to piece together a timeline of DJ’s disappearance. She believes he left somewhere down Bevin Road – perhaps he got stuck somewhere as he was scared, his fur matted and looked to have been kicked on both sides as he appeared swollen. He was found about a year ago on a property on Comox Logging Road, and was tended to by a family who gained his trust and cared for him.
DJ was brought to the vet when the family believed he was dying and couldn’t afford to have him euthanized, added Brown.
She doesn’t dismiss that the timing comes down to divine intervention.
“It was like sister’s dog (who passed away at the end of November) and my Bigfoot boy had their paws in this – they led him home. Miracles do happen.”
Brown said it gives her hope that other pets who have been missing for a prolonged period of time can indeed be found, and reunited with their owners. She suggests to anyone who may have found an animal on their property to take photos and make an effort to try and connect the animal with a potential family, by posting images on social media and the SPCA.
“Never give up, because you never know. Somebody could have (them.) “