September 26, 2012 - After being lost in the Canadian wilderness for about 3½ months, a little cat found its way to Oxford last week and is resting comfortably thanks to a chain of caring people that stretched 286 miles.
Oxford resident Christine Ellis pets Pashi, a cat who was lost in the Canadian wilderness for 3½ months. Pashi is staying in the village with Ellis while waiting to be transported to her home in Malta, Illinois. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
"Sometimes animals bring out the best in people," said Oxford Village resident Christine Ellis.
The female kitty, named Pashi, is staying at Ellis' house until she can make the final leg of her long journey home to Malta, Illinois. That's where the long-haired tortoiseshell cat lives with Ellis's sister, Carrie Morjan, and her 9-year-old niece, Carina.
Back in early June, the Morjan family traveled to Tobermory, Ontario to spend the summer at their cottage. They brought along their dog and Pashi.
"Within five minutes of arriving, their cat shot out the door and ran into the woods," Ellis said. "They searched and searched for her, but never found her."
Given Pashi was an indoor cat who had never been outside, they "assumed she had been eaten by a large animal or simply starved."
Ellis, who's driven a bus for the Oxford school district for five years, noted her young niece was "devastated" by the loss.
When the Morjan family and Tobermory's other summer residents decided to leave at the end of the season, one household, consisting of Drs. John and Bonnie Hall, decided to stay behind for a few extra weeks.
It's a good thing they did because one day, little Pashi just appeared at the Halls' cottage.
"She was literally skin and bones, and covered in dirt and mess," Ellis said. "They took her in and fed her for a few days, (and) gave her a bath."
The Halls even ground up multivitamins and calculated the right dosage to give a small cat in order "to perk her up."
On Sept. 17, the Halls called Ellis' sister to give her the good news. The only problem was how to get Pashi home to Illinois when the Halls live in Michigan.
That's where Ellis comes in.
While taking I-69 home, the Halls stopped in Lapeer and handed Pashi off to Oxford resident Ron Ludy, a friend of Ellis's father. Ludy then delivered the cat to Ellis.
"We didn't know her condition," Ellis said. "John and Bonnie weren't sure she was going to survive."
Pashi now only weighed 3.9 pounds.
"She had lost about half of her body weight," she said.
Ellis took the cat straight to the Lakeville Animal Clinic (3500 Lakeville Rd.), "where all the staff rallied around (her) to help put her on the road to recovery."
"The warmth and support we received from the staff at the clinic will not be forgotten," she said.
The next stop was Lori's Pet Paradise (14 N. Washington St.) in downtown Oxford. Pashi needed to be thoroughly cleaned.
"The cat was a mess," Ellis said. "It took three baths to clean the filth off of her. When they finished, they told me that they couldn't believe that such a sweet cat could ever survive alone in the woods."
Ellis noted that Lori's Pet Paradise "really went above and beyond."
"They cleaned her up gently and compassionately," she said.
Fortunately, Pashi "seems to be doing very well." More than anything, she's craving affection and human contact.
"She just rubs on us and purrs," Ellis said. "She would rather be petted than eat right now."
Ellis' mother will pick up Pashi on Sept. 28 and take her home to Illinois.
Ellis is extremely grateful to all the people who have helped care for Pashi and aided in her incredible journey.
"I've always had faith in people, but it's just reassuring to see it action again," she said. "Everyone who has helped bring her home has been so nice and gone out of their way for her. Everyone's been calling to check on her."
She felt that it was such a heartwarming story that she had to share it with everyone in the Oxford area because we all seem to get "overwhelmed with negative things" in life.
"Sometimes it takes something so simple to bring out so many good qualities in people," Ellis said.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.