British Columbia

'Survivor' cat reunited with owners after 5 months in B.C. back country

A cat named Dexter has returned home to Vernon, B.C., after spending five months lost in the back country near Revelstoke.

Dexter got loose and ran away during camping trip near Revelstoke

Dexter, an 8-year-old Bengal tabby, is resting at home in Vernon, B.C. after spending five months lost in the woods near Revelstoke. (Cindy McLeod)

An eight-year-old Bengal tabby named Dexter is home safe in Vernon, B.C., after a summertime adventure in the back country.

Five months ago, the cat went missing during a family camping trip to the Blanket Creek area near Revelstoke, B.C.

"He's pretty much a Houdini with that leash," said Cindy McLeod, Dexter's owner.

McLeod said she and her husband regularly take their pets on family camping trips. On this particular day, she momentarily dropped Dexter's leash and he charged into the nearby forest.

"He lead us on such a merry chase, we couldn't catch him," she said.

The family searched and put up posters, but eventually gave up hope of ever finding him.

Cat turns up in Nelson

Fast forward to Nov. 6, when McLeod got an unexpected phone call from the Selkirk Veterinary Hospital in Nelson, B.C., nearly 250 km from where Dexter first went missing.

"They said a young lady had been driving along the road and a cat ran in front of her car."

McLeod said the woman found Dexter along Highway 23. She lured him into the vehicle with dog food — of which he ate two cups — then took him to a veterinarian.

"They ran the tattoo, called us and we did a round trip to Nelson that day. He was so excited to see us," McLeod said.

A survivor

Dexter lost nearly four pounds in the ordeal, but was otherwise in good shape, she said.

"He probably hunted. He is a survivor for sure."

His owners say Dexter had no desire to leave the house during his first week back at home. (Cindy McLeod)

"I just can't believe somebody actually found him after five months. That's incredible," McLeod said.

In his first week home, Dexter did not want to leave the house but he's slowly reacquainting himself with his Okanagan surroundings, she said. 

As for future camping trips, McLeod says, "I don't know about that. Maybe with a harness on."

With files from CBC's Daybreak South.