The cat came back, but not the very next day.
Cora took four months to find her way home, with plenty of help along the way.
Cora and two other cats (No Rue and Ruby) went missing in the First Avenue/Williams Street area of Chilliwack on Aug. 1, just as their owners, Alanna and Les Bilesky, were packed and ready to relocate to a hobby farm outside Osoyoos.
Les travelled back to Chilliwack a couple times after moving day to collect more belongings, hoping the cats would show up. He put out fresh litter, food and water and eventually, with help from a group called FCM Community Cat Trappers, all three were found. But Cora didn’t stay captive for long. Sent to their daughter’s house in Promontory until Les could get back to town, Houdini on four paws broke out again.
“She was always happier outside and would only come in to eat,” Alanna said.
With their move to the Interior all but complete and the cat still on the lam, Alanna had nearly lost all hope of seeing Cora again.
“My heart was in my throat,” she recalled. “All I could think of was, ‘what if she’s scared and can’t find food or water?’”
Months passed with Alanna hoping someone would find the five-year-old cat. But with each passing day, it became more and more unlikely the cat would be able to find food and water, and avoid becoming food for the predators prowling the area.
But unknown to her, Cora was doing okay, and she was trying to find her way home.
On Christmas Eve, Alisha Roche was sitting on her patio in Promontory.
“My mom and I were outside, sitting by a fire, when she (Cora) decided to come say hi to us,” Alisha said. “I gave her some tuna because it was Christmas Eve, went to bed and she slept outside all night. She stuck around and slept on the patio the next night too.”
Alisha thought the cat would eventually move on, but when she got home from work on Boxing Day the feline was still there, poking around in her shed.
“She started meowing and greeting me, and she kept meowing for hours,” Alisha said. “I was worried that she was still there, and I went on Facebook to see if she had an owner.”
Christy Moschopedis responded almost immediately. Christy is a member of FCM Community Cat Trappers, a group of volunteers dedicated to helping feral cats in Chilliwack.
She couldn’t believe it when she saw Cora’s picture on the internet.
“Hi Alisha,” she quickly wrote, responding to the Facebook post. “I’m pretty sure I know who that cat is.”
Christy’s crew helped round up Cora’s siblings in August, but like Alanna, she held little hope that Cora could survive four months on her own.
“I was ridiculously excited when I recognized her in that Facebook photo,” she said. ” I was sure she was gone, and I wish she could tell us where the heck she’s been!”
Cora was a bit on the skinny side, according to Alisha, “but overall not to bad for living outside for four months by herself.”
Alisha brought her inside, fed her some tuna and handed her off to the folks at Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven, who agreed to house her until Alanna can get to Chilliwack.
“She’s safely ensconced there, where I’m told she’s eating enough for three cats,” Christy laughed.
Alanna and Les are planning to collect her in early January and she can’t wait to snuggle her cat once more.
“My heart is full of joy and I am so thankful,” Alanna said. “So many people worked so hard to help us. I would encourage donations to FCM Community Cat Trappers as they work so hard to reunite cats with their families.”
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