VIDEO: Cat assumed dead in North Bay Firestorm found wandering near park

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SANTA ROSA (KRON) — A North Bay family thought their beloved family pet perished in the fires but then discovered he had been alive all this time wandering nearby parks.

On Wednesday, KRON4 sat down with the teen who was reunited with her best friend.

“It was devastating because this was like my first animal, and I was like…it’s like he was part of the family…it’s like leaving a part of your family to like die,” Lea Stockham said.

Fifteen-year-old Lea Stockham and her family had only minutes to get out of their Santa Rosa house when the North Bay fire swept through.

She tried to grab Thomas her cat, which she got as a present when she was 2 years old–but he panicked and ran off.

“He is like super special to me,” Stockham said. “I’ve had him my whole life, like I’ve never not had him.”

When they returned home, their house was burned down and they found Thomas dead–or so they thought.

“My dad walked up there and found a cat body that was the same gray and black marking as Thomas, so we thought it was Thomas…I could not stop crying,” Stockham said.

Soon after they had a memorial for him with friends and family, they even made decorated invites.

Then, 45 days later, a Good Samaritan found Thomas wandering near a park, had the cat’s microchip analyzed, and made sure Thomas got back to his family.

“All that bad that had happened, one good thing happened,” Stockham said.

Thomas is doing fine. He survived on his own in the wild for 45 days.

Lea wants other pet owners who are still missing their animals from the fire to have hope…cats are resilient.

Some of them do have nine lives.

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