FLORIDA Janice Dimitriou actually remembers the exact day and time her short-haired tabby cat disappeared.
On Sept. 17 at about 9 p.m. ET, Turbo fell out a hotel room window and ran into the North Carolina woods the night before his humans were supposed to return to Collier County after evacuating Florida for Hurricane Irma.
“He’d been through a lot,” Dimitriou stated. “He was out of his element. He didn’t fall far, but he was terrified and took off in the night in a strange place.”
Dimitriou and her husband then spent an extra two days in the town of Highlands looking for their cat. They went ahead and put up laminated signs with Turbo’s picture and called local veterinary offices, the ASPCA and a radio station to ask people to keep their eyes peeled for a gray-haired cat with light eyes. They then walked the neighborhood where they had been staying and talked to neighbors.
After two whole days with no luck, they returned to their home in Pelican Bay.
“I was despondent,” Dimitriou stated. “He’s not an outdoor cat. He never liked to go outside. He must have been terrified.”
A bit more than three months later, the Dimitrious got a call they had been hoping for but hadn’t entirely expected.
Jim Grove, a Sarasota, Fla., man who was spending Christmas and New Year’s with his husband at their second home over in Highlands, N.C., called the couple and said he believed he spotted Turbo.
“I started seeing this cat wandering our neighborhood,” Grove stated. “It was unusual to see a cat out there by itself in the dead of winter. I went out to the front step and called out to it, but it ran into the woods across the street.”
He then asked his neighbors about the cat, and they all said it appeared to be homeless. The neighbors explained that they had tried to feed him, but he always ran.
Back on Dec. 28, Grove and his husband went to downtown Highlands and saw a “lost cat” sign in a store window. Grove thought he recognized the kitty in the photo as the one he saw wandering his neighborhood.
According to the sign, the cat disappeared three months prior from a bed and breakfast which is across the highway from the mountain on which their home was built.
“I thought the cat may have found a way to cross the highway and go up the mountain,” Grove stated.
Grove’s husband didn’t want Grove to get the owners’ hopes up at all, however, he knew he had to call. He kept in touch with Dimitriou and set up a trap in hopes of capturing the cat.
Just a few days later, Grove sent Dimitriou a text message with a photo of the cat when it turned up on the walkway of their front porch. She sent a message back exclaiming, “OMG. That is Turbo.”
The Dimitrious had returned from spending their Christmas visiting family in Chicago and weren’t looking forward to returning to the cold, but they wanted their cat back.
The couple then drove 11 hours back to North Carolina with their other cat, Pumpkin.
Back on Jan. 2, they trapped Turbo with the help of Grove and a professional trapper.
“He hissed, showed his teeth and lunged at me,” Dimitriou stated. “He was in survival mode. We took him to a vet up there to have him treated for fleas.”
Dimitriou went on to say that was the only treatment Turbo needed.
“It felt like a miracle that he survived that long,” Dimitriou stated. “Almost three-and-a-half months in that weather. He survived 15-inch snowfall.”
The vet then gave Turbo some tranquilizers for the drive home, and about two weeks later, Dimitriou said he’s getting better.
“He’s very shy and not 100% trusting, but he’s getting back to being the way we remember him,” she stated.
Dimitriou is very grateful to the people in Highlands who kept an eye out for Turbo and left food and water out for him over the last several months and she’s especially grateful to Grove.
“Every day, I’d say an affirmation and visualize that he’d be back home,” Dimitriou concludes, “It’s such a wonderful thing that it came to fruition. There are good intentions and good people out there”.
Just – AMAZING!