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'You shouldn't lose hope, but this is pretty crazy': N.B. woman reunites with cat missing for 5 years

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It’s a reunion five long years in the making.

After first going missing in 2018, “Peter” the cat has been returned to his rightful owners.

When Morgan Daye lost Peter in the Saint John, N.B., neighbourhood of Milledgeville a half decade ago, she, along with family and friends, searched everywhere she could.

“He was always an indoor/outdoor cat,” Daye admits. “He was actually quite well known in the neighbourhood so he’d go out all day long and roam around the neighbourhood.”

“We didn’t really believe he had died or anything.”

Never would Daye, or anyone, have thought he would be found on Winslow Street over on the city’s west side five years later.

Peter was picked up by the Facebook group Redhead Strays helping Stray Cats Strut and brought to Fundy Animal Hospital for care.

Redhead Strays say Peter was covered in fleas and was very matted upon being found and brought to Fundy Animal Hospital. (Source: Dianne Fox)

“He was covered in thousands of fleas, I mean just covered,” says Redhead Strays executive director Dianne Fox. “It took two-and-a-half hours to shave half of him and fleas were jumping everywhere, and the next day they had to sedate him a bit to get his belly done.”

Redhead Strays was officially founded in 2015. The organization has helped over 2,000 strays with vet needs like neutering in southern New Brunswick, with 496 alone having been done this year.

Many of the cats picked up by Redhead find their forever homes after receiving medical care.

“If we have to TNR, trap neuter and release the cat, we take them back to colony which they came and let them go,” Fox says. “They run out of the traps a million miles an hour and it’s the best feeling in the world because for them they are home.”

Fox posted Peter to her Facebook group hoping someone would recognize the 14-year-old pet. It didn’t take long for Daye to catch wind of the news.

“I was working and my mom sent me the text message,” says Daye. “She said, ‘I don’t want to upset you because I know we kind of made our peace with this, but do you think this might be him,’ and she wouldn’t have sent me anything unless she also though it could have been him.”

Daye was quick to find the full post online and she went straight to the vet to confirm if this was in fact her cat.

“He came right up to me and nuzzled my hand,” smiles Daye, recalling the encounter. “We checked because he had a scar behind his ear and that was there. I was still kind of humming and hawing over it and was going to come back the next day and let it marinate, but then I remembered that he had a little kink at the end of his tail. The vet tech said he has a kink in his tail and we both started crying.”

After a few days at the vet while Daye ran around grabbing all the pet supplies she had parted ways with over the years, she was able to bring Peter home on Saturday.

“Everyone loves a good news story especially one about animals that ends happily,” Daye says. “But people I haven’t heard from in years to say just how amazing and incredible this is and how happy they are for Peter and I.”

“I was so happy for Peter, and I was so happy for Morgan,” gleams Fox. “What’s amazing is she saw this matted cat and knew it was him.”

Redhead Strays is a non-profit charity, running mostly off community donations. Upon initially bringing Peter in to one of the four vets partnering with the group, Fox realized she was $4,000 in debt at one of the clinics.

The community was quick to step up and ensure all cats get the care they need.

“I went onto the group and just prayed, I said, 'On my God, I am 4,000 dollars in the hole I need help,” admits Fox. “Everyone prays and throws money in, 20 dollars at a time, two dollars, five dollars, some did 100 dollars, and it added up to 10,000 dollars by the end of the day.”

“They saved his life and gave him the happy ending that he deserves,” Daye says thankfully.

Peter’s outdoor cat days are likely now behind him jokes Daye, with the furry feline having enjoyed nine lives worth of adventuring during his five years on the streets.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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