California to Canada: Missing moggy's remarkable four-year journey

  • 03/04/2017

BooBoo the cat was reported missing by her owners in California four years ago - and her family thought they'd never see her again.

"We searched for about a good month or two, maybe three months, and we were just like okay well if she's not going to come back then we kind of just need to let her do her thing and she'll come back when she's ready," owner Ashley Aleman said.

Ready or not, she's going back now, after being picked up 10 days ago in Morriston, just south of Guelph, in the south-west Canadian city of Ontario.

"She's a healthy cat - she's been very well taken care of. She came in in phenomenal condition, so clearly somebody out there has been taking good care of her," Melissa Stolz of the Guelph Humane Society said.

Ms Aleman said she was still at a loss as to how BooBoo managed to travel the distance she did.

"I just don't understand how she went from all the way on our side in California to all the way across by New York to Canada. I would assume by Washington or something, but no she went all the way down by all the states and just travelled her little way."

The distance between Watsonville, California and Guelph is about 4300 kilometres. For a healthy human being on foot, walking 8 hours a day, that journey would take three full months.

Now, that's not to say BooBoo walked all that way, as no one really knows how she got there. There's some belief she might've hitched a ride as a stowaway, as Ms Aleman said she had "a huge habit of getting into people's cars".

"Another thing we thought might've happened was maybe somebody found her as a stray in California, and they brought her back to Canada with them and then they lost her here. But we haven't been in touch with anybody who's missing a cat with her description," Ms Stolz said.

The Humane Society says they would never have found BooBoo's owners if she didn't have a microchip - but the next challenge was getting BooBoo back to the west coast.

As Aleman couldn't get the time off work, and her other family members don't have passports, her mother met BooBoo and a GHS officer in Buffalo and took her back home.

While the reunion went mostly well, it became clear quite quickly that it will take some time for the feline to get to know her family all over again, though they were excited to reunite BooBoo with her canine brother, Oreo.

"He always protected her. He was always there for her," Ms Aleman's mother Ms Chmelicek said, before adding that she hoped they would rekindle their close relationship.

BooBoo arrived home on Friday night (local time), and she'll now be drinking from her own bowl, with her own bed - but with a little less freedom than she would've had four years ago.

"We're gonna try to just keep her indoor," Ms Chlemicek said.

CBS News