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Missing Mission cat mystery solved after eight months away

Surprising call from vet leads to solving a case of mistaken identity
After eight months, Mission’s Marenda Boileau is finally reunited with her cat Marco. / Submitted Photo

Marco the cat had been missing for eight months when Mission owner Marenda Boileau received an email from one of the many pet agencies she reported him missing to.

At first, she didn’t think anything of it, until she got an automated phone call the next day saying his microchip had been scanned at a local vet.

“It had been so long, I just figured they had closed the file,” Boileau said. “This whole time I thought he was just gone.”

She made contact with the vet clinic, and was told a woman had taken him in to get neutered. The problem – Marco already had been neutered.

Boileau adopted Marco from a shelter in 2020 after the four-year old cat was brought in as a stray.

In the warmer months, Boileau said he usually split his time between being outside and indoors at her place on Westview Ave., but never journeys out of earshot.

That’s why she immediately knew something was wrong when she came home from work one day last April.

“Every single day when I came home he was sitting in the driveway meowing his head off waiting for me. He can hear my work truck pull up,” Boileau said. “I knew he was gone.”

After visiting the vet, Boileau said she was told the woman first claimed to be the owner, but when it was discovered Marco had already been fixed, said it was her neighbour’s cat who was spraying everywhere. Marco had actually developed a urinary-tract infection.

This raised enough red flags for the vet to scan Marco’s microchip, and discovered he was a missing cat. Nevertheless, they let the woman take Marco back home with her, something that frustrates Boileau.

Boileau said that when she went to pick Marco up, the woman claimed he’d actually been living with her neighbours, who had a very similar-looking cat go missing in February.

Apparently, he’d been snatched off her street in a case of mistaken identity, but Boileau never actually met this family, and only spoke to the woman.

At first, she didn’t think this family actually existed, but then saw their missing-cat posts on social media.

“I totally get where this could have been mixed up to begin with,” she said. “I guess they didn’t notice for eight months that it wasn’t their cat … But at the same time, I would have noticed.”

The family apparently didn’t believe that Marco was her cat, Boileau said, and she had to bring her adoption papers, proof of ownership and microchip records to prove it.

Boileau said before she picked up Marco, the woman tried to make her pay for the $600 vet bill for the UTI treatment, to which she refused because he didn’t get sick under her care.

“She proceeded to tell me that I didn’t care enough about this cat, and I wasn’t going to take care of him. And she wasn’t comfortable giving him back to me,” Boileau said.

“He looked like somebody had put a balloon in his stomach and blown him up. He was so bloated.”

Boileau doesn’t know why the woman was paying for her neighbour’s vet bill, nor why she had him in the first place, but she doesn’t care. “I didn’t really want to push it,” she said.

When she greeted him for the first time, Marco was confused, but things changed after he gave her a sniff.

“He started to purr instantly and then I picked him up and he was just rubbing his face all over my face and purring,” she said.

Boileau said she’s a little worried about letting him outside again. She’s ordered GPS trackers just in case someone tries to catnap him.