Cat travels 7,000 MILES to reunite with her 10-year-old owner thanks to strangers from 5 different countries
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON STATE: The Ukraine war has made people face many losses. This includes property loss and being parted from their loved ones. A similar thing happened when the family of Agnessa, a 10-year-old girl, had to take refuge in Romania. When they left their home in Ukraine, they had to leave everything behind, including Agnessa's beloved cat Arsenii. However, when a flight attendant learned about their story, she walked the 'extra mile' to get the cat reunited with her owner who "missed hugging her cat." As the word spread, more and more people got involved and the cat was able to travel 7,000 miles to reunite with her owner.
KRON 4 reported the story of how Agnessa and her family flee their hometown Odesa and had to leave their dear cat behind. "There was no room for any animal we have,” said Maria Bezhenar, Agnessa’s mother. After a few weeks, the family was allowed to move to the United States, and thus their family moved to San Francisco. After a brief interaction with them, the flight attendant decided to stay in touch with the family and that is how the grand reunion plan was eventually birthed.
The flight attendant Dee Harnish when talking to Maria Bezhenar said, "I once left Germany and I know what it’s like to go to another country and not know anyone or anywhere and I just felt this sense of connection with her." They used to talk often as they were in touch.
One day when Dee Harnish was talking to Maria about "how is America treating" her, Harnish mentioned, "Yes, everything is good. Except my youngest daughter wants to go home. She cries every day because she’s missing her cat." She added, "She missed sleeping with her cat and she missed hugging him, she missed everything about the cat because she had grown up with him."
This was all Harnish needed to know to decide what she had to do next. She shared the story with Caroline Viola, a flight attendant who worked towards rescuing animals, and asked her if she could help in any way. This sounded a little bizarre to Viola as she remembers thinking, "And all I could think of was ‘My God, we got a war-torn country here, and you want me to get a cat out of Ukraine?"
While Viola was in Hawaii, she contacted Angelica Chavez-Etchechury, an animal rescuer in Houston. Angelica said that the biggest problem was to get the cat out of Ukraine, after which getting Arsenii "back in Agnessa's arms was a piece of cake." Maria Bezhenar's brother-in-law who was looking after the cat in Ukraine mentioned the requirements of getting the cat "vaccinated, microchipped, and a passport" who then rode with the cat on his bike and across the Ukraine border to Moldova.
The cat was then taken by a driver who took to cat to a family living in Bucharest where it spent about a month. Meanwhile, Agnessa was told about the possibility of Arsenii reuniting with her. Her mother Maria told that it may or may not happen but the little girl believed with all her heart that a miracle was possible.
Mimi Kate, another animal rescuer cut down her trip to get the cat in Bucharest. However the cat's Ukrainian origin did not allow Arsenii to board a flight to Romania. Then a tuk-tuk driver volunteered to help with the documents and the cat finally made his way to Athens, then Montreal, then Mimi’s home in Seattle. The family was waiting at SFO as they were informed about Arsenii's arrival and this is how a cat traveled 7,000 miles from Ukraine to reunite with her owner!