REXBURG — How long do you wait for a beloved lost pet to find its way home? A few days? A month?
A Rexburg family got quite a surprise last week when they finally tracked down Goose, their missing orange tabby cat, after two years.
Goose went missing in May 2019, but his humans never totally gave up hope that they’d find him.
“He was an indoor/outdoor cat and he always came back at the end of the day,” said Goose’s owner, Jennifer Bisgaard. “And one day, he just didn’t come in.”
The family lived in Salem at the time Goose went missing. They searched their neighborhood for days and posted flyers on social media, hoping someone would have seen their cat. Bisgaard and her husband drove all around looking for evidence that Goose had been hit by a car on a country road, but there was no sign of him.
They followed up on leads from several people who thought they might have seen him but never told the kids for fear of getting their hopes up. But none of the orange kitties turned out to be Goose.
Soon, there was talk of a mountain lion spotting in the area, and Goose’s owners reluctantly accepted that maybe Goose had become prey to a larger animal.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Bisgaard ran across a story on social media about a cat who had been reunited with its owners after years apart.
“I just had this feeling,” Bisgaard said. “What could it hurt?”
She found the old flyer she had posted online two years before and started the search anew, posting to all the relevant Facebook groups she could think of.
Mostly, she wanted to find Goose for her 16-year-old son, Beck. Bisgaard said everyone in the house agreed that Goose was Beck’s cat.
“It had been a while, but I just wanted to try for my son,” she said. “He still talked about him and missed him.”
After her renewed social media outreach, Bisgaard had a couple of people reach out with tips and photos, but still, no Goose.
But then a message came in from a woman from the Bisgaards’ old neighborhood in Salem, saying there was an orange cat who came around her house from time to time. Bisgaard said when she saw the photo, she knew they had finally found Goose.
“I just started freaking out, because I got so excited,” she said. “We instantly started comparing with our old pictures and our old videos.”
Bisgaard asked her old neighbor how long the cat had been showing up and was told, “It’s been a couple of years now.”
They rushed over to see if it was really Goose. They compared all his unique markings with their old photos and videos. They checked to make sure the eye color was the same. It all checked out. It was Goose.
“His demeanor and his eye color, we just knew it was him,” Bisgaard said. “He was still very sweet. We just knew.”
As happy as Bisgaard was to find Goose, she knew there was someone who would be even more excited. She decided to put a bow on Goose and give him to Beck as an early birthday present.
“It didn’t click right at first that it was Goose,” she said. “I think he thought that I had gotten him a cat like Goose. …His first words were, ‘It looks like Goose.’ Buddy, it’s Goose!”
Bisgaard said that as soon as Beck realized he was looking at the real Goose, he scooped him right up.
“He was so happy to see him.”
Bisgaard said Goose was always a good hunter and she suspected he survived the last two years by hunting and probably joining other neighborhood outdoor pets for dinner.
“I really do think he’s been living more as a stray,” she said. “I think he’s probably just found sheds or barns, or under decks.”
Goose has settled right back in with the family and the other pets. Bisgaard said he had been eating a lot and sleeping a lot, and generally enjoying being back in the comforts of a nice warm home with plenty of food.
“He is really, really happy that he’s home.”