No vacation in the west coast would be complete without a proper road trip through the mountains and so that’s what my friend and I set out to embark upon during my final few days in B.C. We created a general route for the following three days and set off from Squamish ready to take in the views.
Only a couple of hours into our road trip winding through the Coast Mountain Circle, we stopped at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park to stretch our legs, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and check out the beautiful saturated turquoise colour of Lower Joffre Lake.
Just before we were about to hop back into the car and carry on our way, my friend pointed out a young cat that was lingering along the edge of the forest at the parking lot. We coaxed the orange beauty over to discover she was the sweetest little girl, who loved affection, purring at each pet and stroke we gave her. Realizing she was probably hungry, we fed her some of the puffed wheat cereal we had with us, while we hypothesized about her story and how she came to be stranded alone in the park. Was she a family pet, escaped from a vehicle or camper during a stop off at the provincial park, now lost and awaiting her family to return? Or much worse, had she intentionally been left behind there? The thought was too much to bear.
Regardless of how she got there, we had to figure out what we were going to do about it. The break of dusk was upon us, the sun already having set behind the tallest mountains, and the cool evening air was setting in. We knew the chances of this cat’s survival, lost and left to fend for herself in the mountains, and likely to become preyed upon by cougars in the area, were slim. And with that realization, our road trip posse had another member.
She quickly received the moniker of “Joffre” (really original, I know) from us and fit into our pack like she’d always belonged there. We smuggled her into our cheap motel rooms with us at night during our three day road trip, fed her SPAM and puffed wheat (hey, life on the road doesn’t always lead to the healthiest food choices…), and took her out for walks in the park with her fancy new collar and leash we picked up at a small town dollar store. (We couldn’t chance she’d tear away from us and be lost all over again, though that seemed unlikely given her reluctance to leave the newfound safety of our car.)
Admittedly, I’ve never loved a cat as much as I immediately loved her. She was unbelievably cuddly, curling up on my lap in the car, purring deeply as I stroked the top of her head and ears. She would playfully roll over on her back for belly rubs, and stretch her paws up at me to gently bat my face with affection. Her temperament was much like that of a dog; this had to explain how I could love her so much, considering I’ve always leaned toward the notion of “dogs rule, cats drool… And swat and hiss and claw….” But this little girl captured my heart, giving me a newfound appreciation for felines. Oh, the amount of times I imagined bringing her back to Ontario with me.
However, I had a pretty good feeling about how my own rescued pup, Chiquita – who was (im)patiently awaiting my arrival back in Toronto – would likely feel about my coming home with her archenemy. Chiquita’s dislike for cats is beyond obvious from the blatant pleasure she takes in terrorizing each and every one she encounters…
And so, on our last day of our road trip – and my last day in B.C. – as my friend dropped me off in Vancouver, I pet and kissed sweet little Joffre, whispering wishes of good luck and well-being to her as we parted. Carrying on homeward to Squamish, my friend contacted her local chapter of the BC SPCA and arranged to drop off our new furry friend for a chance to await her new family and be adopted.
At the shelter in Squamish, Joffre was immediately taken in and then two weeks later, put up for adoption under the new name, Bumblebee. Within only a few short weeks, Bumblebee (unsurprisingly) captured her future family’s heart and found her furever home where we hope she can live happily – and safely – ever after.
See my photos of Joffre from our Coast Mountain Circle road trip adventure.