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Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 07/05) - When Bruce Doig heard that one of his family's cats was missing after a flight, he immediately knew which one it was.

"I couldn't believe it," said Doig, a teacher at Sir John Franklin high school.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Dawn Doig holds Youda at his first birthday party while Colin looks over her shoulder at Laura Giovanetto. The rare cat, famous for its tiger stripe look, has vanished. - Photo courtesy of Bruce Doig

Somewhere in the Edmonton International airport on Nov. 27, Youda, a purebred Bengal cat worth $700, vanished.

"The guy's bringing out the cage, but there's a problem," is what Doig remembers hearing at the airport when he went to pick up the cats.

In a crate where there should have been two cats only Miahfa, a Siamese cross, remained. Youda and Miahfa were travelling to Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, to join Doig's wife Dawn who is working as an audiologist. Doig and his two children Marisa and Colin are following in July.

The cats had reached Toronto when a shipping misunderstanding had them sent back to Yellowknife.

Doig thinks Youda was catnapped between flights. A locking mechanism on the cage was bent.

The cats were last seen together at the Canadian North air cargo building in Edmonton before a ground service company took them to the terminal.

"My wife broke down when I told her and the kids just couldn't believe it," said Doig.

Doig describes Youda as a long cat, around 20 inches, but not very heavy. He is an orangey-black colour with white markings and a diamond pattern like a leopard.

"When he runs he doesn't move like a normal cat, but gallops like a lion or a leopard," said Doig.

The family got Youda in March when he was eight months old. His loss is not a matter of money.

"A family pet is a part of your family," Doig said.

Miahfa is also taking the loss hard. She and Youda have always been together.

"She looks and sniffs around the house for him," Doig said.

Doig contacted the RCMP in Edmonton as soon as he found out Youda was missing. One of the officers told him that realistically they will probably never see the cat again.