They had almost given up hope.
But then last Wednesday a scrawnier-looking cat called Pebbles, belonging to the Brown family of Valley Heights, reappeared near their old home in Warrimoo, having disappeared during the bushfires 11 weeks ago.
It was a smoky day on October 24, and about a week after fires started in the Blue Mountains. The previous day the family, like most Mountains residents, had left the Mountains with predictions of worsening fire conditions. A skittish Pebbles came with the family that day, but the next day when they were safely at home, the two-year-old cat disappeared.
Damien and Vanessa Brown notified all vets in the surrounding areas who urged them not to give up hope, and they took to various Facebook pages, advertising their missing cat. They even stuck posters to electricity poles and lamp posts in the neighbourhood — much to son Cooper’s (5) dismay that no-one seemed to be gathered around them reading about his cat.
Cooper, who was responsible for feeding Pebbles and slept with the cat on his bed, took it particularly hard.
“He seriously missed her — out of the blue he’d say he missed Pebbles and when will she be back,” Mr Brown recalled.
Then, while the family was holidaying at Lake Conjola, they saw a post on the Blue Mountains Lost and Found Facebook page, asking if anyone was missing a grey cat. Excitedly, they got some more details and headed home.
Apparently Pebbles had been hanging around homes since Christmas close to where the family had lived in Warrimoo before they moved to Valley Heights in September.
And when a call came through from Blaxland Veterinary Clinic that they had an un-injured Pebbles after someone had brought her in to see if any microchip details were available, the entire family was ecstatic.
“We’re just happy that she’s back, because Cooper was very sad,” Mrs Brown said.
The family were grateful to everyone who helped get the information out there that Pebbles was missing, and to the people who brought her to the vets.
And they hoped their story would give others hope who had missing pets from the bushfires.
“Don’t give up hope, and advertise everywhere, join the lost and found sites,” Mrs Brown said.