Ashley Hammill was in the process of moving to Edmonton with her boyfriend in early August when she stopped in Wawa to pick up her three year-old daughter, who had been staying with relatives.
But another member of the family - Hammill’s cat Tifa - got loose from the car at the Tim Hortons in Wawa, presumably gone for good.
“She had just been in the car for two hours, which she’s totally not used to,” Hammill said, “So she was already scared, and she took off into the bush, right across from the Tim Hortons in Wawa.”
“As much as we tried to get near her, the farther she went, and that point...there was no way that we could sit there and wait.”
Hammill began her search, hoping that Tifa would eventually turn up.
“I wasn’t really sure what to do, so I went online and I looked to see if there was a Humane Society in Wawa, which there wasn’t,” Hammill said.
After a few dead ends, Hammill ended up calling the Municipality of Wawa.
That’s when Lindsey Greene, a temporary office administration assistant for the municipality, picked up the phone.
Greene, a fellow cat lover, assured Hammill that she would keep an eye out for Tifa.
Hammill also followed up on Greene’s suggestion that she join a Wawa-based buy and sell group on social media, so that she could spread word of Tifa’s disappearance.
Tifa was spotted in Wawa about two days later.
Meanwhile, Greene and her boyfriend had been trying everything in their power to track down Hammill’s cat.
“It took about two weeks of late night strolls, browsing the neighbourhood, cat treats,” said Greene, who spoke to SooToday from the municipal office in Wawa. “My boyfriend and I set two live traps in the area that she went missing, we just kept going back and checking the traps.”
“Then one night, she was in one.”
Tifa, who had went missing Aug. 6, was rescued from the Wawa wilderness Aug. 18, nearly two weeks after she had gone missing.
A neighbour had checked the live traps while Greene and her partner were in Sault Ste. Marie, and confirmed that Tifa was in one of the live traps.
“She looks a little beat up on her face, which is really sad, but she’s happy to be around people again,” Hammill said.
Tifa stayed with Greene and her boyfriend for a week before being temporarily relocated to Sault Ste. Marie, where she’ll be staying with Hammill’s aunt and uncle for the time being.
Hammill has been looking for a cost-effective way of shipping Tifa to Edmonton, trying everything from social media groups and airlines.
Hamill hasn’t found a ride for her cat yet.
But for now, she’s just grateful that Tifa has been rescued.
“Honestly I’m just super grateful to Lindsay and the city of Wawa, and just all of the support that I’ve got from this, I wasn’t expecting that at all, and obviously super relieved that she was able to get caught and not, you know, end up being eaten by a coyote or something in the bush,” Hammill said. “We’re really grateful, and I’m really excited to have her home again.”
Greene, meanwhile, says that it was a “very rewarding” experience to rescue Tifa from the wilds of Wawa.
“I’m an animal lover, and I have a cat myself, so if my cat was missing, I would hope somebody would do the same for me.”
Hammill has set up a page on GoFundMe in hopes of getting enough cash to help Tifa reunite with her family in Alberta.