The cat came back – six years later?

This is the incredible and mysterious story of Goose the tabby cat, a feline who disappeared from his Chilliwack, B.C. home in 2010, only to randomly reappear last week.

“There was always an uncertainty, and we never really knew what had happened to him,” said owner Christina Bartha. “But we kept him in our hearts.”

Goose’s story is a unique one: Bartha and her husband first made the cat a member of their family 14 years ago, when he was a year old.

For eight years everything went smoothly, until the couple moved to a house a block away to make room for their growing family – and Goose disappeared.

The family believed he would turn up one day, but as years passed they began to doubt that their “loving and compassionate” cat would return.

“We lost hope,” said Bartha, who has five young children. “There are coyotes and bears [nearby]… we thought yeah, he’s a goner.”

But then one day nearly six years later the unexpected happened: Goose was spotted by a Chilliwack resident.

“My daughter was looking out the living room window and she noticed Goose walking up the driveway here,” said Sue Kilfoyle, who lives just a few kilometres away from the Bartha’s. “He was very skinny, very thin. It was very scary the condition he was in.” 

Kilfoyle snapped some photos of the sickly cat, posting them to Facebook in search of the owner. A tattoo in his ear linked him to a veterinarian clinic – and eventually to the shocked Bartha family.

“I said, ‘you have my cat Goose? You must know something – there’s only one Goose,’” said Bartha, tearing up. “But she said, ‘no, he’s not doing good. He’s dying.’”

The first vet didn’t think Goose was likely to survive. The cat was malnourished, dehydrated, and had a complete bowel obstruction.

But Bartha wasn’t ready to give up on her adventurous feline.

“I thought, what is your story? If only cats could talk – what have you been through?” Bartha said. “Have you come back to complete the story?”

So the family took a chance on Goose and went to get a second opinion. Strangers pitched in to help with vet bills, and soon Goose, though still frail, had turned a corner.

Bartha says the family will likely never know where Goose was all those years - and he’s likely used more than a few of his nine lives – but they are relieved he will spend his senior years back home.

“He was always strong, a great sense of humour, a survivor,” said Bartha. “It truly is a miracle, a real blessing.”

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro