British Columbia

The cat came back! Northern B.C. feline finds way home after 5 years

MacDonell says when she first encountered Noir it was love at first sight.

Black cat gets lucky when SPCA discovers ear tattoo ID

Prince George pet-lover Lutrecia MacDonell, and 'Noir,' reunited after a five year absence. (Lutrecia MacDonell)

Sometimes you find a pet. Sometimes the pet finds you.

But Prince George resident Lutrecia MacDonell knew from the start they'd found each other. 

"He came into our yard — and lives — in 2008," said the North Carolina-born senior. "I was digging up weeds, digging up roots and I was missing home and I was thinking:  Oh God, just give me an angel." 

"And then this black cat appeared!" 

Seven years later, MacDonell would be hoping for another miracle after Noir simply disappeared into the night and out of her life for what would turn out to be five years. 

MacDonell says when she first encountered Noir it was love at first sight.

"He's amazing because he starts following me around and staying where I am and decided he needed to be in my lap. My husband said no cat. No cat in the house. And the next thing you know we have a cat in the house."

The colour of night, Lutrecia and John MacDonell named the mysterious feline, "Noir."

Curious cat 'Noir' explores his Prince George backyard. (Lutrecia MacDonell )

His history quickly came to light. A nearby family had moved and abandoned its cats. Adopting Noir was easy. With a tell-tale kink in his tail and "beautiful eyes," Noir was the cat's meow. 

"He cuddles into your neck and loves to be rocked and he's just like a baby." she gushed.

'I have no idea exactly how this happened''

Fast forward to November 2015 and a situation more than familiar to those with furry companions. Noir was curiously scratching at the door on a windy, early morning before dawn.

John let him out and Noir disappeared into the dark.

The family put up posters around the neighbourhood and a sign on the front lawn, searched and wandered, called out and held out hope.   

Noir and fellow rescue Spice cuddle in the MacDonell's Prince George home (Lutrecia MacDonell )

Winter turned to spring and spring to summer, then fall. Twenty seasons and five years flew by.   

"I said: 'I'm sure he's dead.' And my husband said: 'you just don't know that.'"

The cat came back ... with a five year delay

In February 2021, MacDonell was searching for another angel.

"I really needed something at that time," she said.   

Turning 75 years old and stressed by an upcoming trip to Vancouver for surgery,  MacDonnell heard the family's phone ring. 

"I could not believe the call at all."

The B.C. SPCA had found a black cat with a tell-tale kink in his tail wandering near the Prince George Airport. Luckily, an ear identification tattoo traced Noir right back to the MacDonells.

The day after Lutrecia's birthday, Noir came home.

"It was a gift," MacDonell said. 

Noir, back at home, after a mysterious five year disappearance. (Lutrecia MacDonell )

Noir wasn't really worse for wear. Hungry but not starving. Those beautiful eyes were still bright, she says. But what he saw and where he went for all that time remains a mystery.

"The SPCA kind of thinks he was just wandering around ... living in barns and maybe families feeding him, but there's no way to know what this cat had done in five years," said MacDonnell.

Lutrecia and John are asking anyone who may have spotted Noir over the years, or helped him, to reach out and fill in the rest of the story.

Now, the little wanderer rarely leaves Lutrecia's side.

"Does he remember us or is he just comfortable?" she wonders. "It's hard to know but I'd like to believe he remembers us."

"I guess he was meant to be ours."