Source: CBC (Extract)
Posted: August 12, 2023

When an Ontario family’s cat went missing from their home two years ago, they never expected they’d be reunited with him — especially after moving 1,500 kilometres away to Yarmouth, N.S.

But last weekend, Justice Ryder and her children welcomed their long-lost tuxedo cat, Corbin, back into the family.

“I’m over the moon about it, but at the same time, I’m like, where have you been, what’s your story?” Ryder said.

Corbin had wandered away from their hobby farm in Rattlesnake Harbour, Ont., two years ago and never came back.

“We just thought something got him … or he went into the woods. He didn’t stray very far. He was never missing, ever. So when he was gone, we didn’t understand,” Ryder said.

The family moved to Nova Scotia six months later, and have been settling into their new home in Yarmouth for the past year and a half. They’ve often wondered what became of Corbin, but figured they’d never find out.Then a few weeks ago, Ryder was scrolling on Facebook when she saw a photo of a familiar-looking cat.

At first, she thought it was one of her old photos of Corbin. But it had been recently posted in a community group by a woman in Ontario who found a cat in her yard and was looking for its owner.

“I was like, there’s no way,” Ryder said. “And then I realized that she was only five minutes away from where we used to live. And then I just kind of connected the dots.”

Ryder reached out to the woman, and through sharing photos and stories of Corbin’s behaviour and affectionate nature, they confirmed the cats were one and the same.

It was a former co-worker of Ryder’s, Sandi Fettes, who saw Ryder’s comment on the post and set the wheels in motion to reunite Corbin with his original family.

“I was just on a mission to figure out how to get him home,” Fettes said from her home in Simcoe, Ont., where she had temporarily taken in Corbin while she came up with a plan.

Fettes started putting out calls to anyone she knows who might be driving east in the near future.

She came across Canadian Wings of Rescue, a charity with about 200 small-plane pilots dedicated to providing free or low-cost air transport to animal welfare groups.

“They’re flying out of their pocket at their own expense, and doing that out of their hearts and their love for animals,” Fettes said. “It’s just incredible to me that there are people that actually go to so much effort.”

Once a pilot and route were arranged, Fettes took Corbin to the vet to get him neutered, microchipped and up to date on his vaccinations.

Despite not knowing what he got up to for the past two years in rural Ontario, Fettes said his demeanour doesn’t appear to have changed.

“The coyotes and the traffic, there was so many risks out there. It’s a miracle that he survived that long and still is just the sociable love bug that Justice always said he was,” Fettes said.

Corbin landed in Yarmouth on Sunday night. Ryder said he’s settling into his new home well, and just in time for her son’s birthday next week. The family is going out to buy Corbin a bow tie for the party.

“It’s been a roller-coaster, but a good one,” she said. “We will never be able to thank all these rescuers for everything they’ve done, it’s truly remarkable.”