Surrey family hoping to find lost therapy cat for autistic son
Parksville Qualicum Beach News - 8/25/2018
Despite many trips back to Qualicum Beach and many hours putting up posters with no luck, a Surrey family remains hopeful that they can retrieve a lost cat that means so much to their son who's on the autism spectrum.
Susan Plaus and her family were packing up after camping at Riverside Resort and Campground in early July, placing the several cats they took with them into a cage for the trip home when Tobi, a Siamese Seal Point, slipped out of the cage, grew scared in the parking lot, and ran off, said Plaus.
"We tried to grab him… he scrunched down to the ground, like, he was so scared, and he just all-of-a-sudden bolted," said Plaus.
Tobi's loss has been especially difficult for Plaus' 22-year-old son, Christopher, who, due to a condition called Fragile X syndrome, has the maturity of about a 12- or 14-year-old, said Susan.
The syndrome causes Christopher to display autism-like symptoms, explained Susan. He gets very anxious and can be anti-social, but Tobi helps to change that.
"He makes (Chris) feel not so alone," said Susan. "It boosts his confidence to have a pal. It helps him to be more social, it helps him also to be less stressed."
Sitting and petting Tobi helps Christopher to calm down, and to fall asleep, with Tobi sleeping at his side most nights, she said.
Since Tobi has been gone, things have gotten very hard for both Christopher and Susan, with Christopher displaying anger like he hasn't before, and crying and having trouble falling asleep.
For Susan, it's been difficult just explaining to Christopher why Tobi isn't there, and why they haven't found him.
Susan is hoping that Tobi can still be found. She said she planned to return to Qualicum Beach for the sixth time the weekend of Aug. 25 to search for him and post more posters.
A very timid, indoor cat, Susan said she feels Tobi may still be hiding in the wooded area near Waters Road, Laburnum Road and Claymore Road West.
He was possibly sighted near Laburnum Road and Claymore Road West in the area of the Little Qualicum River Fish Hatchery.
If you've seen the cat, or have any tips, call 604-771-7542, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anyone who may have taken Tobi in, Susan asks that they take Tobi to a local veterinarian or to the SPCA so that he can be returned to her and Christopher.
"(Christopher) has as special bond with Tobi," said Susan. "It's just broken him very badly, and it would really help if we could get him back. It would help Chris to be able to be sleeping again at night, and with his confidence throughout the day."