February 26, 2016 – In late October last year, a family of five children, their mother and their cat, fled Mosul in Iraq to escape ISIS. They left behind their grandfather and six other cats. After safely reaching Turkey, they made the perilous journey across the sea to the Greek island of Lesbos in a rubber dinghy – a trip that cost them more than $US6,000.

Kunkush the cat had been carried in a small basket all the way from Mosul. But on landing in Lesbos, the distinctive looking long-haired white cat with yellow eyes leapt out of the basket and ran into rocks on the beach. Despite searches and help from locals and volunteers, Kunkush wasn’t found. His heartbroken family had to leave the island without him.

But in the middle of November, Kunkush was spotted in the fishing village of  Skala Sikaminia. Locals, who had been feeding him, knew of his story and had named him RC,  short for ‘refugee cat’. Two volunteers working with migrants on the island, Amy Shrodes and Ashley Anderson, decided to try to reunite the cat with his family. 
“Having been involved with many pet reunions in the United States after a large tornado in central Oklahoma, I know how much hope means to a person has nothing else left. I felt strongly that if this family took such a huge effort to bring him with them… it wouldn’t be right to not give them a chance to at least know he’s okay, and even take him back if they’re in a place where they can,” said Amy. She contacted Oklahoman Michelle Nhin who created a Twitter account and Facebook page for the cat, and a GoFundMe campaign.
 
After many trips over several months to one of the few veterinary practices on the island, Dias, as the cat was now called after the god Zeus, was given a clean bill of health to travel (he had been vaccinated, micro-chipped and neutered). Through social media, Amy had found Dias a foster family in Berlin. It was known his real family was somewhere in Europe, so it was decided that Germany was a good place to send him to until they were found. 
 
On January 4 Amy left Lesbos with Dias to travel to Germany. Dias met his foster parents the following day and settled in his new home. It was agreed that the search for his real family would continue until January 2017. If his family was not located by then, the foster parents would adopt Dias.
 
Flyers were made with translations in Farsi, English and Arabic and posted to the ‘Reunite Dias’ Facebook page. The flyer reached over 43,200 Facebook users and many supporters printed copies to distribute in their local communities.
On February 12 contact was made with the cat’s real family through Facebook. With evidence from family photos, their account of the events that led to the cat escaping and name recognition, it was confirmed on February 14 that the cat’s real family had been found. They were reunited in the family’s new home in Norway on February 18. Kunkush’s family asked not to be identified by name. For more updates on Kunkush you can connect with him on Facebook here.
Main Photo by Doug Kuntz: Kunkush reunited with his ‘humum’ 
Kunkush in Mosul
Polly Stewart
I'm the founder of MyPawsomePet.com.

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