Transylvania County duo made the holidays by reuniting Florida family with lost cat
TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) —
Two passionate animal lovers helped save a stray cat that could've easily been killed by its own curiosity. Christina Barila and Holly Jones are our Persons of the Week because of their determination to return the pet to a Florida family just in time for Christmas.
"There's nothing that can make you more distraught than being separated from your pet," said Jones.
Transylvania County is full of natural wonders and one attraction has a self explanatory name-- Sliding Rock. If there's one thing that can be more slippery than Sliding Rock, it's a feline.
"Cats kind of have a mind of their own, and I think Ms. Kitty wanted to explore," Jones explained.
About two weeks ago, Ms. Kitty separated from her family.
"They wanted to see the snow and they decided it would be fun to come here and look at Sliding Rock, and when they did the cat got out of the car," Barila said.
Hours of frantic searching followed, but the black and white Manx never turned up. The owner, who returned home to Northeast Florida with his distraught little boy, reached out to the Transylvania Lost Pet Search Facebook group in desperation. Christina's an administrator for the group page that relies on nearly 1,300 followers to help find animals all over the county.
"He was very upset, and it was a very compelling story because they weren't here, and I can only imagine how that must feel," Barila told News 13.
They made flyers to help find the cat, but after days in sub-freezing temperatures, it was time to go even further. The two set up a trap with a can of tuna near the entrance to Sliding Rock.
"We heard the sweetest little meow come from that trap, and we knew," Barila recalled.
"Oh, we hugged each other, and we cried!" Jones said.
Last Saturday, John Green and his 11-year-old son drove up from Florida to reunite with Ms. Kitty. They brought flowers and champagne for the duo responsible for a holiday miracle.
"We thought that we had lost him for good," Green said. "When she called, we couldn't believe it. We had prayed for it and it happened. We thank them so deeply."
"The little boy, he didn't cry, but you could tell it was emotional," Jones said of the reunion that couldn't have happened without a little extra help.
Add Ms. Kitty to a long list of success stories courtesy of Transylvania Lost Pet Search. So far, more than 200 pets found since the group was established.
"The way we describe why we care so much is it's truly a labor of love. We love animals," said Jones, who also helps run a rescue group called Labor of Love Transport Rescue.
Because of their compassion, they're determined to make sure no pet slips through the cracks -- even in a place as slippery as Sliding Rock.
"It does give you hope for the world," Green said.