BooBoo the cat brought to Ontario by a California couple, Guelph woman says

A Guelph, Ont. woman says BooBoo the cat ended up in Ontario, thousands of kilometres away from her original home in Watsonville, California, because she was brought across the border by a couple.

Cat left outside after California couple moved from Morriston, Ont. house

BooBoo went missing in Watsonville in California in 2013 and was found as a stray in Puslinch Township mid March, 2017. (Guelph Humane Society)

A Guelph, Ont. woman says BooBoo the cat ended up in Ontario, thousands of kilometres away from her original home in Watsonville, California, because she was brought across the border by a couple moving from the U.S.

BooBoo became an international media sensation when she was recently reunited with her California family after nearly four years, thanks to an implanted microchip that identified her original owners.

Real estate broker Corie Fisher said BooBoo came with a couple who rented a house in Morriston, Ont. near Guelph, in October, 2016.

"They must've had BooBoo for the four years that the original owners had lost her," suggested Fisher. 

BooBoo scrambled in the door and was basically shrieking and hungry and cold and scared and upset.- Corie Fisher, rented house to California couple who brought BooBoo

"Unfortunately, the beginning of February, they decided they were going to leave without telling anyone. I discovered this around mid-February," said Fisher, who went over to look at the house after she hadn't heard from the couple.

"Their cat, which was BooBoo, scrambled in the door and was basically shrieking and hungry and cold and scared and upset. So I warmed the cat up, I fed it, I played with it, and then within that first hour I discovered they had actually left a second cat," said Fisher.

"My husband, who is not a cat person, absolutely fell in love with BooBoo, BooBoo loved my husband, and basically we spent two weeks taking care of it in a vacant house," said Fisher.

Fisher's husband nicknamed BooBoo "Kitty Sidewalker" because the cat holds its head at an angle, the result of some roughhousing with her original family's pit bull.

Second cat returned to Toronto

According to Fisher, one of the couple worked at The Ace restaurant in Toronto. A coworker had a number of cats he was trying to give away, so he took one of the kittens home, which was the second cat Fisher found at her rental house.

Fisher returned that second cat to a restaurant employee in Toronto.

Restaurant owner Greg Boggs confirmed that the California man had worked as the head chef for about five months, and left at the beginning of February. Boggs said he heard the couple, along with their baby had moved to the east coast.

CBC News contacted the couple through an email address provided by Boggs, but didn't receive an immediate response.

"It's a huge shocker, I mean I didn't think I'd get this far into detail about where she came from, and just the fact of knowing that she rented out a house in Canada, that makes it a lot clearer," said Ashley Aleman, BooBoo's owner in California.

"Watsonville, California is an interstate town, where we can jump on to like, four different freeways from where we're at, within five to ten minutes," said Aleman. "So my only guess is they maybe found her somewhere, visiting family, or stopping in the town getting gas, saw her, picked her up and just decided to keep her going, because she was always such a friendly, loving cat."

Indoor cats outside

"Very nice people, like lovely people, I was just shocked. I was horrified to find the two cats that had been left outside, I would say probably for two weeks, fending for themselves, because they both seemed to be indoor cats," said Fisher.

Fisher said the couple paid the rent at the beginning of February, and then she didn't hear from them. When she went to the house, the furniture was gone.

"That's when BooBoo ran in the door, basically screaming, like, 'Oh my gosh, you're finally back, I've been waiting for you,' kind of thing," said Fisher.

BooBoo's adventure continues

Fisher put up a notice on the Kitchener Buy/Sell/Swap Facebook page. Another woman picked up BooBoo, and wanted to keep her.

Julia Doran Goodman picked up the cat and then, according to Fisher, wasn't able to keep BooBoo, who didn't get along with her other cats, so she took BooBoo to the Guelph Humane Society.

The Guelph Humane Society confirmed a Julia Doran dropped off the cat, but CBC was unable to reach Doran Goodman by Facebook.

The Humane Society examined BooBoo's implanted chip and tracked down her family in California. A humane society employee met up with Olgah Chmelicek at a Buffalo, N.Y., hotel room to give BooBoo the cat back last week.

Clarifications

  • The name of the couple alleged to have brought BooBoo the cat from California has not been verified by CBC and has been removed from the original version of this story.
    Jul 06, 2017 11:09 AM ET

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