THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay man who rescues cats went to exceptional lengths to find an animal that went missing in White River while en route to southern Ontario for adoption.
One-year-old Gizmo is now safely back in Thunder Bay after being on the loose for several weeks, nearly 400 kilometres away.
Terry Hostland drove to White River twice, and spent fruitless days searching, before some tuna and sardines finally attracted it into a trap behind a gas station on Highway 17 Sunday night.
Hostland runs the Save A Stray Cat Facebook group.
He knew Gizmo’s history, and had become familiar with the cat while it stayed at his home for about a month.
It initially had been rescued from a cat colony in Thunder Bay.
A new home was found for it, but the owner suffered a stroke, and Gizmo was taken in by another rescue group.
On June 29, the vehicle that was transporting him and other animals to southern Ontario collided with a moose near White River, destroying the van and resulting in the death of a puppy.
Gizmo and the other animals survived, but he escaped his cage when it broke in the collision.
Hostland became extremely concerned when he heard what happened.
“I couldn’t just leave him out there to fend for himself. He’s not a street cat, he’s domesticated…He wouldn’t have survived out there,” he said.
“We went down there right after the accident. At that point he was hiding so good there were no sightings. So we put posters all over the town, we talked to everyone and put it on a local website.”
Hostland feels the whole town was keeping an eye out for Gizmo.
Finally, there was a sighting last week.
That prompted Hostland to drive back to White River and set some traps.
“I just put a whole bunch of different smelly stuff in there,” he said, resulting in Gizmo taking the bait in one of the traps.
Hostland estimates his out-of-pocket expenses as $2,000, but says he’s grateful for local supporters of his cat rescue for pitching in.
Gizmo’s adventure has changed plans to re-home him.
After he’s assessed for health issues, he will be put up for adoption in Thunder Bay.