The Cat Came Back

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Ryan Snoddon’s pet search goes viral on social media

For Ryan Snoddon, it was 10 days of mist and rain, accompanied by record lows.

And we’re not talking about the weather here – though it was a high-pressure situation for CBC’s popular meteorologist and weathercaster.

About two weeks ago, Snoddon’s cat went missing, resulting in a search that went viral on Facebook.

Snoddon’s cat Stewie – named after the Family Guy character – is a nocturnal beast who goes out in the evening to socialize, hunt and do cat things, usually not returning until morning.

“Stewie loves being outside,” Snoddon said, in an interview. “He actually goes out almost every night. That’s kind of his thing. He loves to sleep during the day and then he’s a nighthawk.” 

However, on Saturday, May 5, the cat did not come back. On Sunday, it was still missing.  Searches of the neighbourhood turned up nothing. The cat will still missing on Monday.

“I do try to keep my private life somewhat private. I know people don’t find it all that interesting when you talk about yourself too much, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And I thought, you know what, of all those people that I’m in contact with on Facebook, a good chunk of them must be in or near Airport Heights, or know people here. So I thought, ‘let’s give this Facebook thing a try.’ On Monday night I posted a photo of him and said, if you’re in the Airport Heights area have a watch out. If you don’t, please share this photo.”

The response, Snoddon said, was “incredible.” That photo was shared 197 times.

“People were so nice. They were messaging me, saying things like, ‘I thought I saw him on my shed on Tuesday and I’ll try to keep an eye out.’ And I couldn’t believe all the words of encouragement, like ‘Don’t give up, my cat went missing for two weeks once and came back.’ Somebody told me they had a cat missing for, like, two months, and eventually came home. So that was pretty cool.”

There were plenty of words of advice and encouragement, but no confirmed sightings. A week later, on May 12, with still no sign of Stewie, Snoddon posted another photo. That one was shared 146 times.

“It was incredible,” he said. “I thought 10 or 20 people might pass it along. In the end thousands of people knew that Stewie was missing and keeping an eye out. It’s pretty crazy, pretty incredible, how you can connect with people on social media.”

The situation was as stressful for the family dog, a chocolate lab named Charlie, as it was for the Snoddons. “Charlie was beside himself while the cat was missing. They’re best buddies. I’ve got pictures of them curled up side by side.”

Then, the clouds parted. After 10 days on the run, Stewie found his way home. The cat had lost weight and was ravenous, but was otherwise in good shape and there were no clues as to where it had roamed.

Having created such a buzz with the first two photos, Snoddon decided to post a third, showing that Stewie had been found.

“He had come back safely and I wanted to show that. There was a huge response. That photo alone was shared by 907 people. Everybody was super-happy. It was pretty cool to see everyone’s reaction. I kinda felt like we were all looking for him together.”

I suggested that people felt as though they knew Snoddon, and saw him as a friend – thus the outpouring of support.

“I hope that’s the case. I definitely try and connect with people as much as I can. I get a lot of questions about weather in the summertime, for weddings and other things. And if they ask a question about the weather or the forecast, I always try to give them a heads up or a shout back. Hopefully I’m approachable and people feel they can talk to me when I’m out and about, especially in a small town like St. John’s.”

As for Stewie, subsequent attempts to ground him were not successful, Snoddon said.

“When he came back, the very first might we said there’s no way we’re letting him out. We have to keep him closer to home. Well, he cried at the door all night. Finally, at like 3:30 am, I decided I had to get some sleep, so we let him out. He was back again at 6 am, so hopefully he learned his lesson and will stick closer to home.”

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Recent comments

  • carl
    May 22, 2012 - 10:24

    Rob, you are absolutely wrong and are out of line in rudely questioning Mr. Snodden's love for his cat. Cats are hunters and explorers by nature, and it is cruel to keep them locked up inside unless one's living situation absolutely rquires it (ex. apartment in urban neighbourhood). In fact, you'll find that most veterinarians recommend having your cat be an "outdoor cat" if at all possible. If that's not your personal choice, so be it, but please don't call into question Mr. Snodden's care for his animal. He clearly loves Stewie very much. Shame on YOU

    • Rob
      May 22, 2012 - 12:40

      Carl: Not a single vet I have ever met has ever recommended that. exactly the opposite in fact. WILD and FERAL cats should indeed be left outdoors. domesticated animals should not. I call into question any cat owner who would subject an animal to disease, predators, other wild animals, thus reducing their life expectancy immensely. Someone who would let a cat run free and then be upset and shocked when it does not return... should quite frankly give their head a shake.

  • Rob
    May 21, 2012 - 09:54

    Domestic animals are not supposed to go outside. They get diseases, get run over by cars, get attacked by other animals, and have a drastically lowered life expectancy. Outdoor cats live, on average, 3 years. Indoor cats, as I am sure you know, live much longer. Shame on Mr Snodden for letting a cherished pet run around outside. Guess we know how much that pet is truly cherished!

  • marilee pittman
    May 19, 2012 - 09:57

    So glad the cat came back. Ryan does feel like a family friend. Whenever he's not doing the weather, I'm afraid he's gone for good. Keep the cat in at night time is my advice. My two cats never go out after supper. Stewie has his days upside down!