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Cat back home in Vegas after Port Alberni adventure

Nov 10 2012
Milani rests at home in Las Vegas after spending 66 days lost in the Alberni Valley forest. 

Milani rests at home in Las Vegas after spending 66 days lost in the Alberni Valley forest.

Photograph by: Submitted , Alberni Valley Times

Thanks to the kindness of a few Port Alberni residents, a lost cat has been reunited with his American owners.

Tourists Daniel Hartong and Jessica Bartolome were travelling up the West Coast in their car with their cat and dog.

On Aug. 17, while they were driving to a campsite near the Alberni Inlet, Milani the cat either fell or jumped through an open car window.

"It was dark, and we lost her," Hartong said. "We camped on the side of the road for a couple of days to look for her."

The couple drove to Las Vegas, thinking Milani was gone forever.

On Oct. 22, Jan Charlesworth and Gary Haggard spotted Milani near Sproat Shop. Since the B.C.

SPCA Alberni-Clayoquot branch is closed on Mondays, Charlesworth brought Milani to the Manzini Animal Hospital.

"She was quite flat," said Nadine Maldaner, an animal health technician at the clinic. "She wouldn't have lasted for another day."

Maldaner said Milani was exhausted, dehydrated, hungry and hypothermic. She also had a large deep wound caused by her leg getting caught in her collar while it was still around her neck. Hospital staff cut the collar, warmed Milani with towels and heat bags and treated her wound.

After checking Milani's collar, employees realized it contained her name and the phone number of her owners. They called Har-tong to tell him they had Milani.

"We were just overjoyed. We couldn't even believe it," Hartong said. "We missed her so much."

Since Milani was too weak for surgery, Hartong had his father, a former pilot, fly to the Nanaimo airport to get the cat. Milani was taken to the airport by Maldaner and another employee. The couple was finally reunited with Milani on Oct. 27 in Las Vegas.

Hartong and Bartolome took Milani to a Las Vegas veterinarian to treat her wound. She received 14 stitches, which have been removed. Hartong said she is getting back to her old self.

"We are just so thankful for everybody involved. They were so wonderful," he said.

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