The adventures of Maggie the Cat, home at last
After 8 weeks of searching, a Gander couple find their fur baby almost 50 kilometres away.
Maggie the Cat has always been an explorer at heart. Usually her adventures kept her within a few streets of her home in Gander.
But in late September, her feline curiosity got the best of her and she embarked on a two-month journey that would take her almost 50 kilometres away from the creature comforts of home.
Denise and Jeremy Whalen, Maggie's owners, were devastated that Maggie was missing. They vowed to find their cat and were relentless in their efforts.
They placed posters in their neighbourhood, enlisted an army of volunteers and hit social media with daily, sometimes hourly, updates of sightings.
As days turned to weeks and then months, the couple were encouraged by the outpouring of support from the community.
"People would text me ... they would tell me stories and that kept me going even more," said Denise. "In saying that, we were burning out."
"The realization that I might never see her again was becoming a reality for me. Time was running out."
Luckily, Maggie was located in a cabin near Square Pond, nearly 50 kilometres from Gander. The cabin owner alerted the family thanks to the contact information on Maggie's bright pink tag.
She had a look around the house then went to bed and curled up next to the wife ... she didn't miss a beat.- Jeremy Whaln
How she got there is still a mystery.
"We've had people say they believe they've seen this cat on the Trans-Canada Highway ... so she'd been travelling for quite some time," said Denise.
Maggie has good hunting skills, and something else.
"She had the will to survive that's for sure."
A long-awaited reunion
When Maggie returned home she acted like nothing had happened.
"I called her name and she ran right over to me, excited and purring like crazy," said Jeremy. "She had a look around the house then went to bed and curled up next to the wife as she always did ... she didn't miss a beat."
The reunion, however, wasn't without its drama. While Maggie was away, the couple adopted a rescue kitten named Toby.
"She came home to a new baby brother and she wasn't too fond of that either," said Denise. "But she's showing him who's boss and I'm sure they'll be fine in a couple of days."
Part of a bigger problem
While happy to have Maggie home, the couple admit they now have a better understanding of just how many animals in central Newfoundland are strays trying to survive.
"It's heartbreaking," said Denise. "We need to get these babies in off the street before the cold weather comes."
Denise knows just how lucky she is to have Maggie home and that it wouldn't have been possible without the help of volunteers.
"For everyone that was out there walking around and watching out for her ... All of that brought me to where we are," she said. "I just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
For now, Maggie will remain under the watchful eye of her family and very much indoors.