A cat found me. It was the first I have seen since moving here. It walked up to me, did a shoulder roll, locked his blue eyes into mine and I was smitten. With so many loose dogs abound, we decided to take the cat in and try to find its owner.
I contacted the Cree radio station and requested an announcement about a lost cat, wrote on the wall of the local facebook page of Buy, Sell, Trade Mistissini, and put up posters at the grocery store and post office. I gave a basic description, but did not post a picture. The cat is a distinct breed and I wanted to make sure this lovely animal went to its rightful owners. I had a few calls, but no match.
Later that evening the phone rang.
Mail Caller: Who’s this?
Me: Is this about the cat?
MC: Yeah, I lost my cat. My daughter’s cat. What does the cat look like?
Me: You tell me what your lost cat looks like.
MC: Grey, I think, and some white.
Me: Was it a male or female?
Me: Then it’s not your cat.
MC: Give me your address. I am coming over to see the cat.
Me: I am not giving you my address. It’s obviously not your cat.
MC: YOU ARE LYING TO ME! GIVE ME YOUR ADDRESS!
Me: No, I am not giving you my address because it is not your cat. I hope you find your daughter’s cat. Good luck.
And I hung up.
I was a bit shaken by the aggressiveness of the man, so the next day I took down the posters.
Animals here are not coddled the way I am used to. They run loose in town, reproduce at will and when there are too many, they are culled. We’ve observed dogs tied to short chains, standing in excrement and watched one neighbouring dog standing in the freezing rain all day … he had to stand, because the alternative was to lie in a puddle of icy water.
“Mikou” (Mikey & Blue) was adapting to his new environment very well, staying close when I was on the computer and eventually venturing out to hunt a vole or lemming for me.
We discussed adopting this cat and I set up an appointment at the veterinarian in Chibougamau to have the cat scanned for a microchip and eventual castration. For holidays and trips south, a retired artist acquaintance in Chibougamau agreed to foster Mikou.
“We are taking a trip in the summer,” he assured me, “But I will arrange for someone to come into the house to take care of him.”
Was it my right to keep this cat? Had I done everything possible to find the owner?
But before making a final commitment, I posted picture on the local facebook page. The picture did not show the colour of the cat’s eyes clearly, nor the distinct markings on the tail.
The night before the vet’s appointment I received two more messages. A woman believed it was her 10-year-old son’s cat, and the woman’s sister, who believed it is her nephew’s cat. The cat had been a gift to the boy from his father. Then I received a message from the boy’s father who told me to bring the cat to his son.
All three adults could not describe the distinct markings on the cat’s tail (black ringed) nor did they know the colour of its eyes (blue), or even the gender of the cat (it is a very obvious male).
There were many messages back and forth, with me continually requesting some simple information.
“It’s my son’s cat. I don’t really know it.” Was one response
Finally, a picture was found. After going to the home and seeing the picture, which was obviously Mikou, we released him to his owners.
Our Mikou is now home with his family. Only they’ve always called him “Minou.”