This is the story of a cat named Sassy, her owner Michelle, and the team of cat lovers who went above and beyond to reunite the two once they were tragically separated during a trip.
Michelle and Sassy were on their way from Georgia to Michigan on August 3 to take care of Michelle’s mother. They hadn’t gone far when they made a pit stop around noon in Tifton, Georgia when Sassy got very scared, slipped out of her halter and ran away. Michelle searched for hours while crying buckets of tears and eventually made the difficult decision to continue her trip.
Those who searched so diligently to find Sassy posted all over Facebook in an effort to get Sassy back to her Mum, with no luck. Mitch Aultman, who was part of the search and rescue team, describes what it took to capture the elusive runaway kitty.
“I saw a plea on FB around 4 or 5pm and left to go to Tifton which is over an hour away. I found people gathered from the town that she was lost in, they were in the back with traps. I brought some of my own. We are not a rescue, I didn’t know any of them that were there on Friday.
They are just individuals who do TNR like me (except I have a nonprofit to do it.) We knew traps would be the only way to get her in that environment. It was horrible in many ways. I stayed until 11:30 that first night and saw only babies and other cats that need help badly.
I was going to go back the next day, but Gale Hopkins (who I am familiar with…Miss Kitty’s Feline Sanctuary in Thomasville) let me know she was going on Thursday and I decided to stay home because she, Brittany, Jill and Joy along with one of my friends Cherie, would be enough there for that day. I didn’t feel we needed that many people as the area was not searchable and we didn’t want to drive her deeper IF she was even still there.
I was going to go back on Friday because I thought it would just work out better to span out the time and the people. Cherie let me know about 8:30 PM Thursday evening that as they were giving up they heard a trap snap, and were ecstatic that it was Sassy.
I was sorry I missed the capture but extremely relieved that she was in the trap. That could have turned into a really bad situation. She was right on the Interstate and the heat, the noise, all of it was simply miserable. Bless her, she’s got to have some trauma over this.
She had probably never gone so long without a meal and had to be hungry enough to venture out and saved herself. In all, it was 17 days she was away from her Mom. Cherie was her foster during this time. She has experience with animals because she fosters for and helps Cynrick Wildlife Rehab.”
None of us are in rescue as such, I do find dropped off cats I try to rehome, usually unsuccessfully. We all saw the pleas for help on our areas lost and found the Facebook page and loving cats as we do couldn’t let her stay in that situation if we could help it. We were willing to do what it takes.”
That’s when Imagine Home, a not-for-profit 501c3 community of cat lovers who help save homeless cats, decided to help. Part of their mission involves cat transport, so they knew if Sassy could be found, she could be sent to Michigan to be reunited with Michelle.
As you can see from the above photo, it takes strategic planning to pull off a successful transport, and Imagine Home has once again pulled off the perfect reunion.
Those responsible for Sassy’s safe rescue were Brittany Sefcik, Joy Funderburke, Cherie Cason, Jill leFever Robbins and Jeff Robbins, Gale Hopkins and Mitch Aultman.
For more amazing rescue stories, check out the Imagine Home page on Facebook. While you’re at it, check out this driver transport map for Imagine Home. Awesome job everyone!
I apologize for not having the names of those who participated in the transport. Becki did a double leg and kept Sassy overnight. Anyone who was a part of this amazing reunion, please feel free to leave a comment telling of your adventure.