Editor’s note: This story about an amazing reunion was submitted by Lana Banham with ICAN. The first part is ICAN’s account of its rolein the reunion, and the second part is by Kara Cassidy, the grateful owner of Ritzy — the cat that came back.
We received a call on Saturday (April 19th) from a concerned Calgary family who had found a stray cat in Radium. She was full of burrs, matts and seemed quite hungry. The family had spoken with neighbours in their area and learned this cat’s guardian had passed away and this cat had been fending for herself for the past 6 months outdoors. After learning this, they brought her to ICAN that same day. We posted her photo on our Facebook page and website to see if her guardians could be located, just in case the story told wasn’t accurate. Lo and behold, two days later, we received an email from a woman who thought this was her long lost cat missing since 2008! I went down to the shelter to meet her right away and after identifying her markings and a lump over her eye, which she has always had, there was no question that this was their missing Ritzy. Ritzy went back home that day and has settled right back into the swing of things. She went missing in Edgewater and turned up in Radium six years later. Six years on the lam and she survived and is back where she belongs. This is a story of hope, love and dedication. We are so happy for Ritzy and her family and will be forever thankful to the kind family who brought her to our attention!
Have you ever wondered what a cat does for six years? I hadn’t until this past Sunday! My kids and I returned home from our Easter vacation, unloaded the car and began to relax with a movie. I happened to check Facebook only to see a post from ICAN asking if anyone knew who owned the cat in the picture. My jaw dropped — could it be? I knew it was our cat! We sent pictures to our close family and friends who would recognize her and they even agreed it was her. We rushed to ICAN and it took me only a second to confirm for myself. Ritzy has always had a small lump over her eye and the skinniest tail for a fluffy cat; it’s never matched her body.
Ritzy went missing in March 2008, Easter to be exact. We went to Alberta for our friend’s twin boys christening, then extended our stay by an extra day. When we returned, our three other cats were happily waiting outside for us. We weren’t too worried about Ritzy. It was confirmed she was in the house the evening prior. Figuring she would return soon, we carried on our business. A week passed, soon a month. We purchased a house later that year only a few blocks away. We always joked about when she would return because she had disappeared for long periods of time before and would show up at the door like she hadn’t been missing for more than a night or two. We always talked about Ritzy. She was about four when she went missing and was the matriarch. We had her offspring, Mrs. Hugglesworth, and the two boys were the grandkittens! All cats were fixed, and well matured. The two boys have since passed away, unfortunately, not on a walkabout like Grandma. My kids actually still have Mrs. Hugglesworth, who is about 10 now, making Ritzy at least 11.
Since coming back to us, Ritzy has made herself right at home. I found her curled up in my daughter’s bed where she’s been sleeping ever since. When Avery was a baby, Ritzy would sleep at her feet and check on her if she stirred. We are so thrilled that she is home and thank everyone who had a hand in keeping her safe over the last six years! I wonder how many people fell in love with her sweet personality since 2008?
I have always admired the work ICAN does for lost and orphaned pets around the valley. Many people I am close to have adopted from ICAN. If there wasn’t an organization such as ICAN, we probably wouldn’t have ever seen Ritzy again. Thank you for posting her picture on Facebook!