Lost and alone for two weeks in Salmon Arm, Jack the cat’s experience is just one of many sad-tales-turned-success-story for Shuswap Paws Rescue Society.
Pat Haddad is one of the organization’s dozens of volunteers fueled by a love for animals. Cats are her passion and she has become a seasoned cat trapper.
In Jack’s case, it was Aug. 7, 2019 and Brenda and Richard Raab were moving with a rental trailer from Edmonton to Surrey. They stopped at the Walmart parking lot in Salmon Arm to grab some lunch and stretch their legs. They also took their beloved Jack outside. But something startled him and he bolted, escaping his harness.
Jack ran into the bushes behind Walmart. The Raabs called and searched for a few hours, but they had to return the trailer so couldn’t stay. They came back to look as soon as they could, but with no luck. A shopkeeper suggested they try Shuswap Paws Rescue.
Haddad remembers well the 12 days she spent searching for Jack.
“We were notified and went down… We couldn’t find him in the tall grass and the conditions were horrible. Then I started looking – every single morning and every single night I was putting out food. I was putting out pieces of cardboard with flour on them with food in the middle so you can tell if a cat has been on the cardboard.”
Finally her online posts generated a lead. A cat matching Jack’s description had been spotted near G-pops Diner. She requested they call her if they were to see him again, which they did. They had followed him down to Neptune Pools.
So Haddad set up near the Travelodge, which, she mentions, was extremely helpful and accommodating.
The Raabs had been back up, but no luck. Jack managed to eat the tuna but wasn’t trapped.
“I went home at 5 in the morning and the next day I set up and I said out loud… ‘Come on, Jack, it’s time.’”
Just then a friend with her told her to look sideways.
“And Jack walked right by me behind the Travelodge shed and around the back of the pickup and into the trap and I had him in five minutes.”
The Raabs were understandably ecstatic. Brenda admits that when they returned home from looking that last time, she was ready to give up.
“I think I was mentally and physically done,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Pat and the rescue society, I’m not sure what we would have done. They went above and beyond.”
Haddad points out that lost cats go into flight mode and then survival mode. Often they won’t respond to even the people they know. They usually have to be trapped.
Jack stayed with Haddad for five days before the Raabs were able to come get him. She moved him into her bedroom because he was so lonesome.
But when they came, he recognized their voices right away.
“When he heard their voices come up my stairway, he was just hollering blue murder. I couldn’t believe it. We were all crying.”
Brenda says she was looking at the missing cat posters from last August a few days before the interview.
It took Jack months before he would set paw outdoors; he was very traumatized, she said. But now he is, as she describes it, “fat and happy.”
Brenda raves about Haddad and Shuswap Paws.
“The rescue society was a godsend. We wouldn’t have found him without them… It was pretty amazing.”
“She’s got such a heart of gold. She fought tooth and nail, went door to door…, she even had her kids involved. She talked to business owners, she went everywhere.”