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Fugitive feline found in Ont. after missing three years


Jennifer Bieman, St. Thomas Times-Journal

St. THOMAS, Ont. – Louie the cat has something to purr about. After at least three years on the lam, the fugitive feline was finally found and reunited with his rightful owner.

Louie, an orange, long-hair house cat, ran away from his Edgeware Dr. home years ago and was recently found at the nearby Masco Canada facility. Louie was brought to City Animal Services on May 20 where staff posted his picture and information online to help find his family.

It didn’t take long to get a response. Nancy Castiglioni saw her long-lost Louie staring back at her from her computer screen when the ad was posted on a local Facebook group.

“It was pretty neat to see him again after all those years,” said Castiglioni. “I loved him to death and he took off on me and we moved and I could never find him,” she said.

After Louie disappeared, Castiglioni searched for her lost pet, placing ads and online postings to no avail. Like many owners of missing animals, Castiglioni’s hope dwindled and she eventually decided to move on without her feline companion.

“I loved that cat so badly,” said Castiglioni, who now owns two chihuahuas and is unable to take another pet. “But after being gone so long, my life circumstances are different.”

Luckily for Louie, shelter volunteer Lois Warden agreed to take him home. The two women had corresponded on Facebook when the posting was made and agreed to visit Louie at the shelter together and split the cost of his release.

“She (Nancy) can come and see him and we’re sending notes back and forth,” said Warden, who is glad to take the friendly nine-year-old tom cat. “We’ve got shared custody,” she said.

For her part, Castiglioni is grateful Warden was willing and able to give Louie the home he deserves. “We’ve become really good friends,” she noted. “It’s been great. We keep in touch every day.”

And as for Louie himself, he was in remarkably good physical condition despite his stray cat lifestyle.

“He certainly wasn’t underweight. He wasn’t beat up at all, he was just an absolute mess as far as his coat went,” said Warden. “He was disgustingly matted and full of dirt.”

As for what the cat got up to in the last few years – where he lived, whether he hunted and foraged for food or was fed by a benevolent human – it’s something only Louie himself knows, and it’s puzzling for Castiglioni and Warden.

“Who knows what the story is,” said Warden. “You wish they could talk sometimes,” she said.

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