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Cat Lost in Debris Flow Reunites with Montecito Family

Diamond Was Fed by a Kindly Stranger for More Than a Year

Photo: Courtesy Diamond

Sixteen months after she went missing during the Montecito debris flow ― 475 days, to be exact ― Diamond the cat has been miraculously reunited with her family. 

Photo: CourtesyHuguette

Noelle Strogoff had evacuated with her husband and their three children the day before the disaster, but in the rush to leave couldn’t round up their two cats in time. When they checked on their heavily damaged house a few days later, the cats were gone. A year later, when they were finally able to move back in, the pets were still nowhere to be found. 

Then, last Monday, Strogoff told KEYT she was talking with a worker power-washing her deck and mentioned how much her kids missed the cats. The worker said he’d been feeding a skinny stray cat in his neighborhood for about a year. He showed Strogoff a picture, and, sure enough, it was Diamond. “Twenty minutes later, I was following him to his home, and there’s Diamond, totally fine,” said Strogoff. The children were elated. “No way, no way,” 10-year-old Alexander said softly over and over.

The Strogoffs are still holding out hope that the family’s other cat, Huguette, may one day return. The Humane Society asks anyone who spots a pet that appears to be without a home to take a picture and share it on Facebook and with their office.

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