Heartwarming Rescue: Lost Cat Reunited with Owner After 32 Days
Photo Cred: Pexels

A heartwarming airport rescue story is giving us all the feels after determined rescuers went to great lengths to find and reunite a lost cat with her owner after an arduous 32-day search.


Western Cape, South Africa (10 July 2023) – After 32 days, a lost cat named Shanti was finally reunited with her owner thanks to the relentless efforts of dedicated rescuers.

The heartwarming rescue is giving us all the feels.

It all began on June 7th when Cecelia, the Chairperson of Foster Furry Rescue (FFR), heard about Shanti, a lost cat in need of rescue. Despite never having met Shanti or her owner Sharon, Cecelia felt an undeniable calling to assist in this delicate mission—a call that only fellow rescuers truly understand.

Rescuing a cat from an airport is no easy feat, as Cecelia and FFR’s Foster Mom Beverley soon discovered. Gaining access to every corner of the airport required a blend of written and verbal permissions from airport security. The search began in the Airlink Cargo area, driven by an initial lead, only to lead them on a wild chase to the opposite end of the airport! Determined to bring Shanti home, FFR offered a reward of R1,000, which was generously matched by long-time supporter Celia Fenn.

Shanti had gone missing on June 1st and had already been on the run for a week after escaping from her carrier during a flight from PE to CPT.

Numerous compassionate individuals and companies rallied to find Shanti, including Airlink Cargo, SAA Technical, SAA Hanger, Cape Town Flying Club, Foxtrot 3, and Robin Coss Aviation hangers. Cecelia and Beverley guided this collaborative effort every step of the way.

Heartwarming Rescue: Lost Cat Reunited with Owner After 32 Days
Needle in a haystack | Photo Cred: Alison May | Supplied

Flyers were printed and a heartfelt voice note from Shanti’s worried mom played over the airport’s loudspeakers. Various traps were set up at different locations and on different days, baited with pilchards, Whiskas, and even KFC in a desperate attempt to entice Shanti into safety. FFR closely collaborated with Deer Heart Connections, and with their assistance, all traps were eventually relocated to the Flying Club based on new information.

Whether you believe in animal communicators or think of them as fanciful notions, there was something miraculous that happened when the team were contacted by one.

Some of the insights shared during this operation could have come from any airport in the world: “A large metal hangar, courier vans, reflector strips on clothing, rats, metal trolleys.” Other revelations, perhaps through divine intervention, led Cecelia and Beverley to a specific area: “A particular machine that emanates heat even when turned off (providing warmth for Shanti), the scent of human food, the stench of rotting rubbish, the colour yellow associated with a large object/container, a beep sound, and smoke or steam.” Cecelia noted, “The sound of the generator was crucial; it was unique to that specific area and gave us hope that we were on the right track.”

Hope soared when the first sighting of Shanti was reported, but each new day brought empty traps and dashed expectations. Braving rain, bitter cold, endless hours of searching, constant communication, public relations efforts, daily trap-setting tutorials for airport security, and the emotional toll of fearing that Shanti might succumb to hypothermia, the FFR volunteers soldiered on. Their resilience and determination against mounting odds were awe-inspiring.

Then, on June 20th, the one place they had not been able to access suddenly opened its doors—an abandoned hangar equipped with cameras. Shanti was spotted once again, filling the rescuers with renewed hope. Traps were swiftly set once more. After embarking on 11 round trips to the airport from Noordhoek, covering an impressive distance of 1,056 km and spending 60 hours in search efforts, new access was granted, and traps were relocated.

Finally, on that fateful day, Shanti was caught in a room where human food was heated in a microwave, alongside a trusty kettle.

Shanti spent a week at FFR’s Gabriel home, where she received thorough veterinary care. Dehydrated and significantly weakened, she required extensive rehabilitation. FFR made sure she had a cat harness, a proper carrier, nutritious food, and flea treatment. On July 2nd, Cecelia embarked on a drive to Hermanus, accompanied by tears of joy. The moment arrived when Shanti was joyously reunited with her ecstatic mom, Sharon, after being missing for an agonizing 32 days.

“Cecelia couldn’t have accomplished this miraculous rescue without the unwavering support of FFR’s incredible donors, who collectively raised an astounding R17,000 to cover expenses. Special thanks go to Ingrid, Celia, Gaia, Pieter, Samantha, the Gabriel Fund Donors, FFR volunteers Beverley, Richard, and Denise, as well as the countless amazing individuals at Cape Town Airport, including Aadila, Anele, Saleem, Mdingi, Mlisa, Thapelo, Moain, Sakhie, Magdaline, Ryan, Bernett, and Albè of Deer Heart Connection. It truly takes an entire community to rescue a lost cat!”

In a world often filled with negative news, this heartwarming story reminds us that compassion and perseverance can accomplish extraordinary things. It serves as a testament to the power of unity and the enduring spirit of kindness. May Shanti’s incredible journey inspire us all to go the extra mile and make a positive impact in the lives of others, both human and furry.

Heartwarming Rescue: Lost Cat Reunited with Owner After 32 Days
Home at last!!! | Photo Cred: Alison May | Supplied
Heartwarming Rescue: Lost Cat Reunited with Owner After 32 Days
Home at last!!! | Photo Cred: Alison May | Supplied

Sources: Alison May | Story Submitted 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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