SANTA BARBARA, CA -- A Montecito family is overjoyed after being reunited with their beloved cat that was missing for 475 days.
The last time the Strogoffs saw Diamond was one day before the Montecito Mudslide destroyed their property and surrounding neighborhood reported KEYT.
Noelle Strogoff's 10-year-old son, Alexander, was in disbelief seeing his beloved cat Diamond for the first time after more than a year!
"He just kept saying 'no way! No way! Oh my gosh, no way,'" said Strogoff.
The Strogoffs evacuated just before the devastating Montecito mudslide destroyed their neighborhood, forcing them to leave their two cats at home.
"I had no idea what happened was going to happen, and assumed they would be fine. When we got back we couldn't find them," Strogoff said.
One year later, the family was finally able to move back home, but were still longing for their pets. Then, one day when Noelle was talking to a worker who was helping her with some renovations, when she by chance mentioned her cat Diamond.
"He said, 'oh that's too bad. What does the cat look like,' and I told him, and he said 'oh my gosh, I think I've been feeding her,'" she described. "20 minutes later I'm following him to his home and there's the cat totally fine."
Diamond, who turns three in July, had been surviving on food from kind-hearted neighbors and had been roaming the neighborhood for more than a year and a half.
Strogoffs two younger children had a similar reaction when she surprised them.
"Mommy, you made me so happy. I love Diamond," one of the children said.
They all love Diamond because she is so calm and plays with the kids like a dog. The family also says Diamond is proof we should never give up hope.
"Don't give up. Keep looking. Just talking to people and expressing what it is you are looking for," Strogoff said.
Missing cat returns home 475 days after Montecito Mudslide