Christy Moschopedis of FCM Community Cat Trappers set up a video camera and a feed station to confirm that Handsome was living in an area behind Cheam View Veterinary Clinic (Young Road) and the RCMP detachment on Airport Road. (Facebook photo)

Christy Moschopedis of FCM Community Cat Trappers set up a video camera and a feed station to confirm that Handsome was living in an area behind Cheam View Veterinary Clinic (Young Road) and the RCMP detachment on Airport Road. (Facebook photo)

Missing Chilliwack cat Handsome found after five years spent living the wild life

It takes a lot of luck for a domesticated cat to make it five years, but Handsome is a survivor

A cat that’s been missing for five years has been found, and Handsome needs a new home.

The black and white kitty disappeared from the area of Yale Road and Menzies Street in Chilliwack in 2016, and after a few months his owner gave up on the idea that Handsome would find his way home.

The cat was given up for lost.

But in Handsome’s head, he wasn’t lost. He was surviving. He migrated to an area near Young Road and Airport Road, where there is a colony of feral cats living behind the RCMP station.

Handsome started living the wild cat life, and he would have remained completely undetected if not for Christy Moschopedis and the volunteers at FCM Community Cat Trappers. The group works to improve the lives of feral, barn, and stray cats in Chilliwack and surrounding areas. Part of that involves trapping feral cats and getting them neutered or spayed to control the population.

Moschopedis was tracking another cat when she spotted Handsome.

RELATED: Cora the Chilliwack cat reunited with family after four months on the loose

RELATED: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

“I was looking in the area behind Cheam View Veterinary Hospital, just across a ravine, and I saw him,” Moschopedis said. “They have this brand new fully-fenced locked compound and he was in there all by himself. It was nine at night, and I was like, ‘Oh! Smart kitty. You’ve found yourself a super safe place to hang out.”

Moschopedis set up a feed station and a camera to see if he visited the police station side of the ravine, and yes he did.

“So I put out food for four nights, and when I was sure he was coming every night, I set up the trap,” she said. “The girls at the vet clinic kept an eye on it and within two hours we had him.”

Handsome spent the first seven years of his life as an indoor/outdoor cat, with all of his needs provided for. For a domesticated animal to be thrown into the wild and survive five years is amazing. He has a puncture wound under his eye suggesting he’s had a recent scrap with a raccoon, but otherwise he’s in fine shape.

“It’s a lot of luck,” Moschopedis said, explaining how Handsome survived this long.

Handsome had an ear tattoo that was barely legible, and he was going to be released back into his colony. But after a lot of work, Moshopedis was able to connect with his owner.

Sadly, he can’t go back to his original home.

Five years is a long time, and his owner eventually moved on, buying a dog that isn’t cat friendly. Handsome is currently hanging out at Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven, and Moschopedis said such a lovable fluffball will have no problem finding a new family.

After living in the wild for so long, some cats are never able to re-adjust to domesticated life, but Moschopedis said the 12-year-old is still people friendly.

“When the vet clinic girls first checked the trap to try to sedate him, he was pretty angry, hissing a lot,” she said. “Thankfully, when he woke up he was a little more chill and very happy to rub his nose on my fingers when I put them into the trap.

“As soon as he’s cleaned, and a wound under his eye is healed up, he’ll be ready for adoption and he is absolutely lovely.”

For more info on FCM Community Cat Trappers, visit here.

For more info on Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven, visit here.


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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