Chris Plaus holds his therapy cat, Tobi, who’s home safe and sound after a member of the CatSpan Registered Charity group in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area was able to catch Tobi following a months-long search for the lost cat. — Submitted by Susan Plaus

Beloved therapy cat reunited with 22-year-old B.C. man

CatSpan member captures skittish kitty that went missing in July on Vancouver Island

It was a jubilant scene in Surrey on Wednesday night, when Susan Plaus brought back Tobi, a cat that has a special connection with her 22-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum.

“It was the most beautiful moment ever,” said Plaus of her son’s reunion with his beloved pet following a separation of nearly two months.

Tobi slipped out from his cage during a family camping trip to Riverside Resort and Campground in Qualicum Beach on July 6.

“We tried to grab him… he scrunched down to the ground, like, he was so scared, and he just all-of-a-sudden bolted,” said Plaus.

Tobi’s loss was especially difficult for Plaus’s son, Christopher, who, due to a condition called Fragile X syndrome, has the maturity of about a 12- or 14-year-old, said Susan.

The syndrome causes Christopher to become very anxious and sometimes be anti-social, but Tobi helps change that.

“He makes (Chris) feel not so alone,” said Susan. “It boosts his confidence to have a pal. It helps him to be more social, it helps him also to be less stressed.”

RELATED: Surrey family hoping to find lost therapy cat for autistic son

Without Tobi, things were getting more and more difficult at home, she said, as she, Christopher and a growing number of supporters continually went looking for the kitty.

Susan and Chris returned Sept. 2 from another weekend of searching, this time based on a tip from Shayne Olsen at Cedar Grove RV Park and Campground that his dog, Kitchi, had helped him spot Tobi on a service road by an estuary.

“We came back home once again feeling defeated but I decided to let Gregg (Bolderson) from CatSpan (Registered Charity at www.catspanferals.com) know that he was probably in the bushes there, in the estuary, but we couldn’t get him out and he would probably need to be trapped.

“So, Gregg put out food and a trap at night on Tuesday, he went back to check the trap Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. and couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Tobi sitting in it,” said Susan.

“I hugged Gregg so tight and was so thankful,” she said.

Upon returning home with Tobi in tow, Susan said Chris was skeptical at first that she had found his pet, but upon hearing his meow, he was certain.

“He opened that bag so fast and gently took him out like he was so precious and hugged and hugged him for over an hour I think before he put him down. Tobi loved it and cuddled in to him and purred from all the scratches! It was the most beautiful moment ever!” she said.

“We are just so, so happy to have Tobi back safely.”

Susan wanted to give a warm thank-you to the many people and groups who helped to search for Tobi.

“This second chance we have been given with Tobi is nothing short of a miracle,” she said.

She noted that any help in taking down the many posters that she and others have posted in the effort to find Tobi would be much appreciated.

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