Long lost cat recently saved from death row to be reunited with owner

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Amanda Graham poses with an image of her long missing cat Cleo.

A cat lost six years ago in eastern Ontario, Canada will be reunited with her owner in Alberta thanks to the efforts of an animal rescue group, a veterinarian and a lost pet recovery networking group.

Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue, of Belleville, Ontario saved Cleo from a shelter’s death row and managed to trace and contact her owner after deciphering the number on her faded ear tattoo ID.

Betty-Jean Matthews, president of Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue, says the pretty calico was found wandering the streets of Brockville, Ontario last September. Her group took the cat in after the pound in Brockville was unable to find her owner and put her  on the euthanasia list.

Dr. Chris Tummon of Moira Veterinary Hospital examined Cleo and found a  faded tattoo ID number on her ear which was traced to an Edmonton veterinary clinic where the she’d been spayed in 2009.

Betty-Jean Matthews says her daughter got the owner’s name from the clinic and Stuck in the Mud was able to contact her after reaching out through Facebook. Amanda Graham told Matthews on Wednesday that Cleo had gone missing in 2009 while she attended college.

Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue wrote at Facebook on March 16: “It is not too often that a cat has an ear tattoo. Once common they are never used or hardly used as the chip seems to be the more popular form of identification. Our pet detectives from Quinte Lost Cat Network took down the tattoo information and have traced Victoria back to 2009 where she was spayed at a clinic in Edmonton AB. We are still trying to see if we can obtain the last records of her owners in hopes we can find her family.”

Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue shared great news at Facebook Wednesday, saying: ” OWNER MADE CONTACT!!! She is crying her heart out on the phone. She lost Victoria (actually her name is Cleo) 3 months before returning home from college back to Alberta in 2009.

She cannot believe she is alive!! She looked for months to find her and had to come to terms with the fact that she must have died.


She is a single mom though and cannot afford the airfare back so we are going to hold a fundraiser to send Cleo home.

Almost 6 years later and over 2000 miles apart. This family will be reunited again.”

Quinte Lost Cat Network will accompany Cleo on her journey home to Edmonton. This way Cleo will have someone taking care of her for the entire trip.

We will be fundraising for the return air fare and a hotel room for the night.

$1000 is needed for airfare, meals, hotel, etc.

The most recent update on the fundraising effort announced that the transport goal had been reached.

“One little cat has brought everyone together,” Betty Jean Matthews told the Edmonton Journal.

She told the paper that Cleo – who was called Victoria until her original name was discovered – was in rough shape, malnourished and anti-social when she was found. Presumably, she had been living rough as a stray for quite some time.

Stuck in the Mud nursed Cleo back to health and helped to re-socialize her. Cleo’s ID was found by Dr. Tummon when Matthews took her to be spayed at Moira Veterinary Clinic. Cleo’s tattoo not only helped locate her owner, it also told the vet that she had previously been spayed.

Matthews told of her daughter’s focused work that led to Cleo’s owner: “My daughter is autistic and she’s our pet detective.”

Onc the list of calicos spayed at the clinic that tattooed Cleo was compiled the field was narrowed to three possibilities. One of the pet owners stood out as the likely match for Cleo, and the Matthews’ reached her through Facebook.

“The tension was building. It’s like having a baby,” said Matthews, who spoke with Amanda Graham by phone Wednesday morning.

“They sent me a picture and I thought, ‘That’s my cat,’” said Graham, who lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

“We assumed the worst [when Cleo went missing]. There are coyotes out there. There are bigger animals. She’s a small cat.”

“It’s insane,” Graham said. “I’m so excited, I just can’t wait.”

You can follow Cleo’s story at the Stuck in the Mud Animal Rescue page at Facebook.


Amanda Graham poses with an image of her long missing cat Cleo.
Amanda Graham poses with an image of her long missing cat Cleo.




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