Lexi’s amazing adventure started when she went missing from the McMillan family camping trip in the Thielsen Forest near Diamond Lake, Oregon last August. Lexi escaped from their camper while her owners were distracted trying to navigate their tailer out of a campsite. After the family had travelled a few miles down the road, they noticed that Lexi was missing. They returned and even stayed an extra day looking for her without luck.
Even though the McMillan family feared that Lexi would not survive in the wild alone, the long-haired, grey and white cat made it through the fall, coming within a mile of a wildfire that would completely ravage the area. In November, she would survive a heavy snowstorm.
However, because of the concern of various cat lovers, this story has a very happy ending. Lexi was returned to her family in January because she had been microchipped.
By late October Oregon Dept of Transportation workers were reporting sightings of a stray cat. Then cat tracks were seen at a local shop, but Lexi remained elusive not eating the food put out for her. However, after following her tracks, Chris Southwick located her under the hood of a truck trying to keep warm. Lexi by this point was extremely weak and thin and could not escape.
Southwick took her to his home where he offered her food and a chance to rest. “It kinda let out a sigh and went limp and passed out, it was that tired,” he said.
After a few days, Southwick wondered if she might have a microchip and took her to the Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center where they found that she in fact had a chip. They were able to contact the McMillans and began searching for anyone who might be traveling to Arizona. Amazingly, one of the volunteers at the Center travels to Arizona every year and offered to return the cat to the McMillans.
Maxine McMillan, 10, had received Lexi as her fifth birthday present. She and her brother Everett, 7, and sister Violet, 4, were not told the cat had been found and was on her way. It was the hardest secret they’d ever had to keep from them, Lizzy said.
The children’s reactions were priceless when Lexi was brought out a backpack. “The kids just went ballistic. They were so excited and couldn’t believe that she had been found,” Lizzy McMillan said.