More than four months after she was thought lost in a massive condo fire, a house cat named Harmony has proven to be incredibly resilient, suggesting cats may in fact have more than one life.
Harmony was last seen by her owners in July 2014 before the blaze broke out at the South Hamptons condominium complex in southwest Edmonton.
The fire caused an estimated $10 million in damages and forced about 400 people out of their homes. Months later, the residents are still waiting to return home.
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“It’s almost like losing a child,” said Martin. “You don’t think that your pets are going to be that close to you but it was very heartbreaking.”
Hoping to help out, Kirby Seidler with the Safe Team animal rescue organization left water and food out for Harmony at the site of the fire just in case she survived.
Seidler also began putting up posters with Harmony’s picture around the neighbourhood and contacted the security and recovery companies involved in cleaning up the site.
But despite her efforts and months of searching, the cat remained missing – that is until Monday, when a demolition worker at the site of the burnt-out building found Harmony alive, huddled inside a section of wall for warmth.
“Today she was found in the walls of the third-floor unit that was below us,” Martin said, adding that she has no idea how Harmony survived the fire and so many months on her own.
“She obviously tried to survive all this time on her own and managed.”
‘Something out of a movie’
Because of Seidler’s earlier efforts to find the cat, the workers who found Harmony knew who to call when the cat was discovered.
“Total miracle she survived the fire. The vet said ‘This can't be real, after all this time she is found – this is something out of a movie,’" wrote Seidler in an email to CBC News.
After feeding her a good meal, Seidler returned the cat to Martin and her family.
“It was disbelief to see that she was there and she recognized me,” said Martin of her reunion with Harmony. “I started to cry right away.”
Harmony, who is understandably a bit skittish at present, is now back home and making up for lost meals.
And Martin says this is the best Christmas present she could ask for.
“She’s our family, she’s part of the family, so thank you! From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate it so much.”
As for Seidler, she remains modest about the role she and her organization played in getting Harmony home.
“We are so thankful she has been returned home safely and happy we were able to assist ... in getting her there,” she said.
Safe Team is a volunteer-based organization that has been rescuing animals from across the province since 2010.