This Ontario cat came back — after 12 years on the lam

·3 min read
De Castro says she remembers Loli as a feisty cat in 2009, the year she adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society. (Submitted by Christine DeCastro - image credit)
De Castro says she remembers Loli as a feisty cat in 2009, the year she adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society. (Submitted by Christine DeCastro - image credit)

On New Year's Day, Christine De Castro got an unexpected call from Vaughan Animal Services saying that one of her pets had been found.

At first, De Castro was confused. She did a quick check around her home and counted her pets one by one.

"I have a cat and two dogs ... so I quickly did an inventory of my three animals and they were all there," De Castro said.

But to her disbelief, it was her long lost cat, Loli, who had gone missing more than a decade ago and was discovered in Vaughan, Ont., thanks to her microchip.

The brown tabby escaped from De Castro's family home in Richmond Hill, Ont., during the summer of 2010. After nearly 12 years, Loli was found and reunited with her owner.

"I was in shock and quickly made plans with my partner to pick her up," De Castro told CBC Toronto.

"I'm still in shock about a week and a half later."

Submitted by Christine DeCastro
Submitted by Christine DeCastro

In 2009, about a year before her disappearance, De Castro adopted Loli from the Toronto Humane Society and brought her home.

"I would always talk about my feisty little cat that I had in my early 20s that I never knew what happened to her," she said.

Loli, now 14, was only two when she had gone missing.

De Castro said she scoured the neighbourhood looking for Loli, who was her only pet at the time, and shared posts on Facebook and Kijiji but had no luck finding her.

She thought she would never see her again.

Submitted by Christine DeCastro
Submitted by Christine DeCastro

"At that point I just had to move on and come to the conclusion that she wasn't going to be coming back," De Castro said.

"And then the cat came back."

Feisty kitten, docile senior

On Jan. 3, De Castro drove to the shelter to reunite with Loli.

"When I saw her, her face looked a lot grumpier than what I remember which tends to happen with senior cats. Otherwise she looked exactly the same. She's still a very petite brown tabby that I had 11-and-a-half years ago."

Since Loli's disappearance, De Castro moved out of the GTA and now lives in the Kitchener-Waterloo area with her partner and their fur babies.

"We've both probably been through a lot of changes," she said. "We've had our share of adventures."

"I wish cats could talk so that she could tell me where she's been ... but I'm glad she's come to me now to be taken care of in her older golden years."

Laura Pedersen/CBC
Laura Pedersen/CBC

De Castro says Loli was "very wild" and feisty in her younger years and asked the shelter how the cat was acting when she got on the phone with them.

"I was just so curious to see what am I walking into with bringing a fourth animal home, because there was no question in my mind that I was going to bring her home," she said.

"[Animal services] told me she was very docile, which I already was thinking, 'There's no way,'" De Castro said.

Since finding her way back home, Loli has been given her own bedroom at De Castro's house. She says the family is waiting for the results of Loli's health checkup from the vet to make sure she is healthy before introducing her to the other animals.

Submitted by Christine DeCastro
Submitted by Christine DeCastro

De Castro notes she is still unsure if Loli recognizes her.

"It's hard to tell with cats especially, they're very closely guarded with their emotions unlike dogs," De Castro said.

"She's given me quite a few kisses, quite a few cuddles. I've called her by her name Loli a few times and sometimes her ears would perk up a bit ... but who's to know. Cats are mysterious. Always have been."

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