You know that song that goes ‘the cat came back, the very next day’? Well, in the case of Lloyd the cat, the lyrics would need to be altered to tell his very unique running-away-from-home story.
Lloyd isn’t an ordinary cat, said his human Terrie Fleet. She now has him back after five years, during which time her and her family definitely thought he was a goner. Not so, as Lloyd is quite the survivor and managed to live outside in the bear, coyote and cougar-frequented neighbourhood of Kawkawa Lake for half a decade.
His five year adventure was not his first, but was definitely his longest.
Lloyd is 10 years old, and named after one of the adventurers in the film Dumb and Dumber. Lloyd the cat’s mother was Harry, so hence her boy became Lloyd. “Nobody wanted Lloyd because he was such a social degenerate. He didn’t want to socialize with anybody, he was just such an introvert,” she said. “So we said ‘Why don’t we just keep him?’”
After three years at home, Lloyd got into a fight with another cat which resulted in a very unusual scar up the side of his body resembling a big zipper. After this ordeal, he snuck out the door and was gone for two weeks.
He was then spotted by Fleet’s neighbour in the bike park, leading Fleet to spend days going down to the park calling for Lloyd to come home. She finally found him and managed to intice Lloyd, scared after living outside, back home with treats.
“He was home for about three weeks,” Fleet said, then escaped again, this time for a full year. “We thought he was gone for sure.”
Then, a chance encounter with a neighbour led her to seeing Lloyd again. He had been living two streets away from her home. Yet this time he wouldn’t come to her, and dissapeared for another year.
Newly home from a vacation in Thailand a year later, in November of 2015, the family spotted a cat resembling Lloyd coming down the street. With a little bit of catnip as help, he was once again brought home for a short stint. “He’s here for about a week, and then he takes off again,” Fleet said.
This time, he was gone for five whole years and the family surely thought he was a goner.
Yet a photo posted to Facebook in May, asking whether an injured cat at Kawkawa Lake belonged to anyone in town, got Fleet thinking it might be Lloyd.
She went to the place he had been seen by the neighbours, calling for him for several days. “He was so skittish and scared,” she said of when she saw him again.
The neighbours two kilometres away from Fleet’s home had been feeding him for years, she said, and had been treating him after a recent encounter with a raccoon.
As soon as he was brought home, he went straight to the couch. “He’s had a rough life, you’d think that we’re mean owners because he just doesn’t want to stick around here,” she said. “But he’s just such an independent cat, such an introvert. I’m a firm believer, you don’t pick your cats, they pick you.”
Fleet is thankful for all the people who may have helped her cat along the way, and there have been many. “I’m sure if Lloyd could talk, he would say thank you to all the wonderful people that fed him over the years,” she posted on Facebook.
Now, all these years later, Fleet said her 10-year-old kitty seems like he is finally done with all his adventuring. He spends all of his time, save for an occasional trip to eat, use the litter box and visit the scratching post, in the bed where he was born.
“He’s like an old man now…he literally snuggles with me and Dan every night,” Fleet said. “It’s like he’s got this weight lifted off of him, he’s happy to be home - warm, loved, (in the) cozy bed.”