Domestic cat survives nearly two months in Alberta wilderness

“He survived alone in the desert all that time – 54 days. It’s kind of a miracle.”

KANANASKIS COUNTRY – An indoor pet cat miraculously survived 54 days in the wilderness of Kananaskis Country, well and truly exhausting its nine lives.

Gustophe the cat was camping with his owners in late August when he went missing overnight from the Spray Lakes West campground, about 10 miles south of Canmore on the Smith Dorrien/Spray Lakes trail.

With the help of the Canmore community who set up security cameras and traps courtesy of Alberta Parks, the cat was reunited with its owners late Friday night (October 21), after surviving nearly two months avoiding coyotes, bears and wolves.

“He survived alone in the desert all that time – 54 days. It’s kind of a miracle,” said Jody Hudey, the owner of the cat who made the long trip back to Canmore from Winnipeg, Manitoba last week.

“We were just crying tears of happiness. I had an instinct that he would be fine because he was actually a stray when we adopted him and he had survival skills,” he said. -she adds.

“Everyone kept telling us he couldn’t survive, and I just knew in my heart he was going to be here – and with the help of your amazing community, we got our baby boy back. “

Gustophe, a six-year-old feline, disappeared from the tent on the night of August 31, the fourth day of the family camping trip.

Because it was cold that night, Hudey said she put the cat in her harness and on a leash inside the tent instead of leaving her in her kennel.

“We brought him in the sleeping bag with us, and in the morning when we woke up he was out of the harness and out of a little hole in the screen that he had enlarged,” he said. she declared.

“We think he decided to go on an adventure and just got lost.”

Hudey and her son, Dolphis Seguin, stayed four more days frantically searching for the elusive cat.

Their efforts were in vain despite talking to other campers, posting signs throughout the campground, and combing the surrounding forest for any sign of Gustophe.

Gustophe, adopted by Hudey from the Winnipeg Humane Society at the age of two and a half, had developed good hunting and survival skills as a stray cat living on the streets of Winnipeg.

Hudey said he looked happy and healthy after spending 54 days in the wild, likely eating insects, birds and rodents and finding shelter in warm, comfortable hiding places.

“We were amazed at how fantastic he looked, but he’s definitely a little thinner than he was when we first went there,” she said. declared.

“He survived as a stray for two years before we adopted him, so he must have some survival skills already.”

Hudey had posted news of her missing cat on various local social media sites, prompting Canmore residents Lisa Young and Diane Borland Venner to contact her to see how they could help.

Young thought the chances of finding the cat were pretty low, but wanting to help, decided to install surveillance cameras.

“I wanted to help Gustophe because I love cats and if he was still around I couldn’t imagine not trying to help him and Jody,” she said.

There were no sightings of the cat on cameras until October 18.

“I’m sitting over there on a rock looking at the camera… and I said what is this? It’s a fox? What is that? Then I suddenly said ‘Oh my God, it’s a cat’. I was jumping up and down,” she said.

“You know how unlikely it is that the cat will still be there. But she was desperate and I was happy to try to give her peace of mind. It was a team effort.”

Venner, who had also been in contact with Hudey, obtained permission from Alberta Parks for her and her husband Gregg Venner to access the area with a vehicle to set a trap, which came from the City of Canmore.

After a few nights without a show, the cat was finally caught late last Friday night.

Hudey, who had arrived in Canmore after a long trip from Winnipeg, had spent all day desperately searching and calling his name, but returned to West Spray Lakes Campground that night.

“We wrapped ourselves in blankets and hung out until about 11 a.m. – we were jumping for joy,” she said, noting that they found Gustophe in a trap at Campsite No. origin.

“The next morning, Diane and Lisa came to meet him; they put a lot of time and energy into this for us and we could never have done this without these two women.

Hudey’s son, Dolphis, is thrilled to have his cat back.

“He’s absolutely thrilled and they’ve been snuggling ever since,” she said.

“We have both been sad and gloomy for the past two months alone. We were absolutely devastated to have to leave and return home without finding it first.

Last year, a pet cat named Draco, from Edmonton, went missing in Jasper National Park for 49 days. He was spooked by hikers, slipped out of his harness, while on the Valley of Five Lakes trail. He was eventually located by a team of volunteers who had searched the woods for him.

Meanwhile, Hudey said there were no more plans to camp Gustophe.

“He’s had enough adventures for a lifetime,” she said.