George, a cat who supposedly froze to death at Edmonton International Airport last month, may not be dead after all and instead may be a victim of mistaken identity.
The Fort McMurray, Alta., feline was believed dead after the body of a cat was found on airport grounds. George had escaped from his kennel on Sept. 23 while ground crews were unloading bags from an Air Canada flight.
Two months later, the airline told George's owner, Vanessa Summerfield, that he had been found dead, the victim of the extreme cold weather that hit the Edmonton area in mid-November.
Summerfield wasn't able to identify the body because she is still in Fort McMurray, so she sought help from an Edmonton volunteer, who looked at the cat before it was cremated. That's when they learned the truth.
"It's actually a female cat, not even male, and there's some significant markings that don't match my cat," Summerfield said. "So it's not him."
Those results were confirmed by veterinarians at the Edmonton South Animal Hospital, who found the cat was a female whose enlarged mammary glands suggest it may have had kittens two to three months ago.
Summerfield is in shock. While she's happy that George may still be out there, she's angry and hurt at Air Canada.
"I'm so mad at them because they wanted me to take their word that it was him," she said.
Summerfield has heard that there have been more sightings of a black and white cat around the airport. She is now trying to contact Air Canada to find out what the airline will do if George is found.
George actually escaped twice the day he went missing. Ground staff were able to get him back into the carrier the first time he got out, but he escaped again.
The airline says a key bolt was missing from the door of the kennel.
Summerfield was sending George to stay with her family in Ontario while she looked for a pet-friendly place to live in Fort McMurray.