South Surrey woman camps for days to find lost cat

Lisa van Vliet hired pet detectives, was prepared to fight off coyotes

After her cat wandered off and didn’t return, a South Surrey animal lover not only hired a pet detective to track down the errant feline, but spent several days camping outside, and was prepared to fight off the neighbourhood coyotes, if necessary.

Lisa van Vliet told Peace Arch News Monday that Bear, her three-year-old black cat, didn’t return home on May 26.

Van Vliet began searching for the lost cat by contacting locals through the neighbourhood Block Watch program.

The first two nights after Bear went missing, van Vliet said she slept in her backyard, just in case she could hear a commotion between the cat and the coyotes.

“He’s just so little and innocent we thought he was done for, because we see coyotes across the street in the middle of the day,” said van Vliet, who lives near 145 Street near 33 Avenue.

“At least if I was there, I could hear it and protect him,” she said.

With no luck after two days, van Vliet contacted Petsearchers Canada, who arrived with two trackers and a bloodhound.

The bloodhound sniffed the cat’s harness, and tracked the scent to an overgrown lot north of 32 Avenue near 144 Street.

The trackers set a number of traps in the lot, and a thermal camera to track the cat’s movement.

Van Vliet committed herself to staying in the lot – with nothing more than a couple of blankets, a chair and cat food – every night until her pet was eventually trapped on June 2.

“How do you decide to go to bed? ‘OK, now I’m tired enough to let my cat get eaten. It’s 5 p.m., I think dinner time is in order,’” she said.

Van Vliet said she was traumatized after losing another cat eight years ago. She never got closure, and said it’s not something she wanted to experience again.

“For five years, you’re driving around and you see a black shadow near the grass. ‘Oh, is that him? Is that him?’”

Bear is recovering after seven days in the wild. Van Vliet said he sustained a sunburn, a couple scrapes and a puncture wound on his neck.

Aside from being a little spooked, though, the little black cat will be just fine.

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