Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Alaska family getting long-gone Gohn back

Cat lost in July, found last week in River Heights

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Only at Christmastime could a cat, lost in Winnipeg in the summer, soon be reunited with its owners in a place called North Pole.

Separated by some 4,000 kilometres for nearly six months, a cat will be rejoining a family in North Pole, Alaska, sometime early in the new year.

Enshane Nomoto was making the long trek from Ohio to Alaska with her husband and two sons when the family's feline, Gohn, escaped outside a Winnipeg hotel on July 4 while they were loading their vehicle.

"He was collared," said Nomoto, 38. "So I figured I'd just pray and hope somebody called me someday."

Nomoto was so optimistic she'd see her precious kitty again that she kept her old cellphone number when the family arrived in the tiny Alaska town about 20 kilometres south of Fairbanks.

Although she never got a phone call, she finally received a text message earlier this week.

Michael and Alan MacPherson found the cat outside their parents' River Heights home and got Nomoto's number from Gohn's collar.

"He was meowing a lot, but he looked relatively healthy," said Michael, 27. "We had no idea what to do because we haven't had an animal in the house for about 10 years."

The brothers agreed to take the cat to the Winnipeg Humane Society, but when they took him out to the car, their homemade leash snapped and Gohn bolted.

The MacPhersons texted Nomoto with the bad news and once again she thought Gohn was a goner.

But two days later, the cat came back.

Now in the care of the humane society, Gohn will have to wait to see his family until the Canadian airlines lift their temporary embargo on transporting pets to the U.S.

Nomoto said the reunion is the greatest Christmas gift she could imagine.

"It just adds to the whole spirit of the holidays and makes me feel even more gratitude. It shows there are good folks out there who are willing to go above and beyond and help a stranger."

And a cat.

ryan.bowman@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2012 B2

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