British Columbia

6-year-old wildfire evacuee reunited with her missing 'best friend'

A B.C. family can't believe they were reunited with their "miracle" cat, Ivy, which went missing when 100 Mile House was evacuated.

Ivy was missing for nearly 2 weeks as wildfires raged near 100 Mile House

Kinzey, 6, is reunited with her cat. (Shannon Kowal)

When Shannon Kowal was evacuated from her home in 100 Mile House, B.C., because of the wildfires, she knew she couldn't take anything. 

But for her six-year-old daughter, Kinzey, the only thing that mattered was her cat, Ivy. 

Knowing they couldn't take all their four dogs and two cats, Kowal left Ivy with a relative who didn't need to evacuate.

But the cat somehow went missing.  

"She's my daughter's best friend ... we've had cats before, but Kinzey and Ivy share a really special bond," she said.

"And I was really upset, because my kids have already been through so much during the last two weeks."

Given that it had been missing for two weeks, Kowal knew it was a long shot they would find the cat, which is pure white except for a little black heart on her nose.

She works at the local SPCA and says the colour of Ivy's fur would have made it challenging for the cat to hide from predators. 

Kinzey and Ivy share a special bond, says Shannon Kowal. (Shannon Kowal)

But seeing how crushed Kinzey was, she put out a plea on Facebook. 

Within 24 hours, Kowal said, she got a message saying someone had seen a white cat near a forested area, a fair distance from where Ivy had gone missing.

But Kowal's brother took Kinzey and her sister out there anyway.   

"When she got out of the car, literally Kinzey called her cat just one time and the cat ran out of the bush and jumped into her arms."

Watch the moment Kinzey and Ivy were reunited

Kowal and her family couldn't believe their luck, and Kinzey was over the moon to be back with her "miracle kitty." 

The cat, whose pristine fur was somewhat stained by the smoke and dirt, is now snowy again. And the sisters spent all of yesterday building a fort for the cat to sleep in. 

"I almost cried, and for the cat to be home and safe ... we got all of our family back together."

Ivy's snowy-white coat was stained from living in the bush for two weeks. (Shannon Kowal)

With files from Jordan Tucker