Leo the Lost is now Leo the Lucky, back home safe and sound after a four-month walkabout. He was found in Calendon, Ontario, Canada nearly 40 miles from his River Oaks home.
The sociable 3-year-old cat had been missing since the end of August.
“Hes a bit of an outdoor cat, so weve always let him go out once or twice during the day,” said Ted Hayes, Leos owner.
Over the years, hes stayed out overnight once or twice, but hes always been very good about coming back. That day he left at about 9:15 a.m. and we just never saw him again.
The Hayeses left no stone unturned in the search for Leo.
They posted flyers, walked the neighborhoods calling for him, searched nearby parks and checked in with animal shelters and vets.
Periodically, they’d get phone calls from people saying they had seen Leo. They chased down every lead, sometimes spending hours only to discover the cat was not Leo.
You miss him, said Hayes. I know hes an animal, but its kind of like losing a family member.
As autumn turned to winter, the family began to think Leo was gone for good. Over the holidays, they began to discuss finding a replacement.
Then they got a phone call from a gentleman in Caledon, about 40 miles away.
My wife Anne got this phone call last Thursday, the day before New Years Eve, and it was from a man named Brian Thayer, who said, Ive got your cat Leo, said Hayes.
She was obviously very excited about that, but at the same time youre a little bit skeptical because wed received all these other calls that hadnt worked out.
But Thayer was not only able to describe Leo in detail, but he’d also gotten the Hayes’ phone number from Leo’s ID tag, still attached to his collar.
The next day, Hayes and his daughter drove to Caledon and were reunited with Leo.
It was great, said Hayes. The first thing we did was bring him back and he has since gotten used to the house and the dogs again. I took him to the vet yesterday afternoon. Were still waiting for the results of a couple of tests, but she said he looks pretty good. He actually gained a little bit of weight while he was away.
Thayer said Leo had walked into his barn one day, and he let him stay. Leo’s life as a barn cat was short lived, however. After a few days, Thayer noticed the collar, then contacted the Hayes family.
Leo’s wandering days are likely over. Hayes has vowed to make him an indoor cat.
“That may be a bit challenging, but I think its a good idea,” he said. “We still have no idea how he got all the way from here to Caledon.”
Sounds like a purrfect New Year’s resolution to me.