MIDLAND – It took 114 days for a Midland couple to find Lunch in South River, located midway between Huntsville and North Bay.
On June 24, Lunch – a cat belonging to Diane and Gary Amon – went missing in Mikisew Provincial Park. Diane, however, refused to give up hope, and she is now thankful for the combined efforts of many people in the South River area for bringing the plucky feline home.
She said the cat got off his harness and disappeared into the bush while they were camping in the park.
“We saw his tail end going; we chased him and he completely disappeared,” said Diane. “There was a huge thunderstorm that night and we couldn’t find him.”
They searched for two weeks.
“Everybody in the park was looking for him,” she said.
They returned to Midland without Lunch. The Amons went back twice more in hopes of locating their beloved 11-year-old cat, distributing leaflets in hopes someone would recognize him.
“When he went missing, he had a lion cut. He was a large orange tabby, but he had been shaved to look like a lion,” she said. “He was very distinctive, and we were sure that if anyone saw him they would know that was our cat.”
On Oct. 15, they received a call from a woman who said she had spotted Lunch entering her barn. Diane phoned relatives Dean and Lynda Carleton of South River, who headed over to the farm of Don and Marg Scarlett.
“They … called that cat and looked for it. It wouldn’t show itself, but they could hear it meowing,” she said. “That night, Don Scarlett set a live trap.”
It was on Oct. 16, Diane Amon’s 60th birthday, that she received the call she had been waiting for. Her cat had been found.
“The best birthday present I could have got,” she said. “After 114 days.”
When he left, Lunch weighed 20.2 pounds. During his adventure, he dropped to 8.2 pounds and lost his distinctive lion cut.
“He didn’t do well in the bush on his own, but he survived,” Diane said. “Everybody that I know had written that cat off, (but) I never gave up hope.”
Lunch, meanwhile, seems to have no desire for another adventure.
“We have a little cat door that he goes in and out of. He doesn’t go anywhere near it,” said Diane. “He doesn’t want to go outside. He wants to be safe.”