Thirteen years ago, Ev Neighbour found Satan when he was just a kitten. The small but feisty stray cat showed up at Neighbour’s home one day and returned every morning after long nights of hunting outside.
Last June, Neighbour and her husband Chad decided to go on a fishing trip to Saskatchewan, leaving Satan back home in the care of their son, Lowell. They knew a bit of rain was coming, so they opted to bring Satan over to Lowell’s house, which sits farther away from the river and is less prone to flooding.
But while on vacation, Neighbour turned on the news and discovered that High River was essentially under water — and Lowell’s house was in worse shape than theirs.
“My son’s house ended up on an island completely water-locked,” Neighbour says. “We just got water in our yard and we didn’t get a drop inside, we didn’t lose power.”
Before Lowell could return home to get Satan and bring him to safety, the town got the order to evacuate, leaving Satan stranded. Lowell had left plenty of food and water, but as more time passed and the evacuation order wasn’t lifted, he decided to contact Heaven Can Wait, a local pet rescue group, for help. Reps from the rescue went to Lowell’s flooded home, but when they arrived, they found the door had been damaged, and Satan was nowhere to be found.
“RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] had to go in and check all the houses, and the door was locked so they kicked it in,” Neighbour explains. She decided Satan must have escaped through the broken door.
When Neighbour returned home and the evacuation order was finally lifted, she and her family spent months searching for Satan but with no success. She says Lowell felt responsible for Satan’s disappearance.
“My son just felt awful. He said ‘I’ve killed our cat,’” Neighbour says, though she always assured him of Satan’s resilience.
“We always said, one of these times, he’ll just turn up,” Neighbour tells the Calgary Herald. “But you just don’t know and you hope for the best.”
Nearly a year later, Neighbour still believed Satan was out there somewhere, ruling the roost at some other family’s home. She knew somehow her scrappy kitty had survived.
And sure enough, Monday morning, Neighbour’s husband looked up and saw Satan, sitting on the windowsill as if no time had passed. He was a little thinner and a lot dirtier after his year on the lam, but Satan was in generally good health.
Neighbour believes Satan escaped the flooded neighborhood by hopping from fence post to fence post.
“This thing has outlasted coyotes, foxes, living near 12th Avenue,” Neighbour jokes. “The flood isn’t going to get him.”
Satan might have a very unfortunate name, but this lucky kitty was very fortunate to survive the 2013 High River Floods. The June 2013 Alberta disaster resulted in the deaths of four people and displaced over 100,000 others. The floods are considered the worst and the costliest in Alberta’s history.