Mackenzie Smith holds Luna close as mom Ashley Smith sits next to them. Luna had been missing since Oct. 8, 2019. She was recently reunited with the family after being missing for about three months in Campbell River, B.C. Photo by Marissa Tiel/ Campbell River Mirror

VIDEO: Missing cat reunited with Vancouver Island family after three months

‘It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,’ said owner

After more than three months, a missing cat is finally back home with her family.

Luna, a six-year-old black and white cat, went missing last fall.

An outdoor cat, she would typically wake up owner Ashley Smith around 6 a.m. to be let out. By the time Smith’s kids were leaving for school, she’d be back.

But this morning, on Oct. 8, was different.

“It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,” said Smith.

Luna has gone missing before, but she’s always come back. The Smiths would go for walks on the trails in behind their home near Simms Creek in Willow Point and see her exploring the creek and climbing trees.

“But this time it was different,” said Smith.

Her six-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, has a strong connection with Luna. Bedtime routines would see Mackenzie and Luna cuddle.

“That was her cuddle-buddy. That was her security,” said Smith. “She has ADHD and whenever she’d get into a mood, or something, she would go find Luna and hug her and hold her and that would settle her down. That was her companion.”

Over the months, even as cougar and bear sightings increased around Campbell River, Mackenzie never lost hope.

Even into December, Mackenzie would leave food and water outside for Luna.

“She just never gave up hope,” said Smith. “She’d sit there and cry.”

Smith was preparing her kids for the worst.

“We didn’t hear anything for awhile and then we started having the cougar and bear sightings,” said Smith. “So then I just assumed that she had probably got eaten.”

Just before Christmas the family welcomed another furry member to the home.

Mr. Fluffy Pants, a six-month-old cat, wasn’t fitting into his previous family’s life very well, and with no Luna sightings, he joined the Smiths.

“Mr. Fluffy Pants was just to try to help her (Mackenzie) have somebody to cope with,” said Smith. “She finds the purring very calming.”

When Luna went missing in the fall, Smith had posted about her on the Lost and Found Animals of Campbell River Facebook page, which has more than 6,500 members.

When a lost black and white cat was brought into the BC SPCA in Campbell River, staff put a call out on Facebook with the animal’s photo hoping it would get recognized.

Jamie Derksen, an administrator for the missing pets page, thought the cat looked familiar and searched through files of missing pet posts. She contacted Smith.

But just based off the photos, Smith wasn’t totally sure it was Luna. There’s another cat in the neighbourhood that looks similar to Luna and Smith thought maybe it was that animal.

“I was all day at work going ‘I want to go get the cat. I want to see if it’s her,’” said Smith.

She waited until the SPCA opened at noon and went down to check if Luna was indeed their mystery cat.

“They opened the door where they keep the cats and she let out this ugly meow. I’m like, ‘That’s my cat. It’s her morning I want food meow; give me attention meow.’ It’s the ugliest thing I hear. She has a really nice, cute meow and then there’s that one,” said Smith. “I’m like that’s my cat.”

Luna went over to Smith and let her pet her.

Smith had left her kids in the dark about Luna’s possible return. She wanted to make sure it was her.

With Luna safely tucked away in her SPCA box, Smith collected her kids from school and brought them to the car.

“All they see is this box and they’re like ‘What’s in there? Is it a cat? Is that my cat? Are there two cats in there?’” said Smith with a laugh.

Smith filmed the reunion. In the video, Mackenzie and Eathen, her son, get in the backseat. They close all the doors and then cradle the box in their laps. When they unfold the cardboard flaps, they just stare in stunned silence.

You can hear Eathen say, “I thought she was dead.” After three months, they had been prepared for the possibility.

“They looked like they didn’t recognize her because it had been so long,” said Smith. It’s true, three months can seem like a lifetime to kids. “They had this stunned look: What is this? Is it her? Is it really her?

“It was just a really cute moment.”

When they got home, Mackenzie and Luna were nearly inseparable for awhile.

In the days since she’s been home, Smith said Luna is still acting a little differently.

“She’s not quite the same as she was,” said Smith. “She is a little bit more timid, but she every day is getting a little bit better.”

Smith doesn’t know much about where Luna was while she was missing, but heard that a family near the former Eagle’s Nest Lodge along the South Island Highway had been putting out food and water for her and brought her in to the SPCA when they were able to.

Smith is grateful to the people that helped take care of Luna.

She says that Luna won’t be allowed outside for awhile at least.

“I’m not going through this again,” said Smith. “It’s the worst feeling in the world.”

RELATED: Campbell River SPCA found homes for nearly 300 animals in 2019

RELATED: Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Taking action to reduce wildfire risks in Columbia Basin

Trust provides over $1 million to address wildfire risks

Missing Slocan City man found dead

Douglas Morrison went missing in mid-January

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

Rossland rookie councillors offer advice to prospective candidates

Something to read before you decide to run in the upcoming by-election

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

Most Read