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Cat missing for 8 months has the 'Midland Floods' to thank for finding its way home

Olive the cat escaped during the Midland floods last spring. She was reunited with her owner on Jan. 4, with help from the 'Midland Floods' - Jeremy & Ashley Flood.

MIDLAND, Mich. — The year 2020 certainly threw a lot at the state of Michigan, but few cities within the Mitten can claim to have had it harder more than Midland. 

In May, two dams along the Tittabawassee River collapsed following a record rainfall, causing floodwaters to gush into downtown Midland and surrounding communities, inundating homes and businesses, while forcing more than 10,000 people to evacuate.

The historic event prompted a state of emergency declaration from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

A lot was lost in the catastrophe, including many people's pets.

A woman whose cat escaped during the Midland floods, found its way back home 8 months later, thanks, ironically, to the 'Midland Floods' - Ashley & Jeremy Flood, who just happened to be home at the right time.

"In April, the lease was up at out old house and we began the process of moving," said Dina Harrison, who is the proud owner of a dog and 5 cats, including one named Olive. "While we moved, I asked a friend in Midland to watch my animals."

Dina says soon after she dropped off the animals in Midland, the flooding began, and her friend was one of the thousands who were told to evacuate.

"I got a text from her saying, 'I don't know how to tell you this, but while we were evacuating, Olive escaped,'" said Dina. "Initially I thought she'd come back because Olive was an inside-outside cat and always had wanderlust.

"I had a microchip implanted in Olive so if she was found and turned in, I would be identified as her owner."

Dina says she waited a couple days, then decided to use social media and contact area pet rescues, to hopefully locate Olive.

"I was crying and freaking out," said Dina. "I put photos of Olive on Facebook, hoping friends would share the post."

All of her efforts proved to be futile. 

As the seasons changed from summer all the way to winter, Dina says she hadn't completely given up on finding Olive, but she had started accepting that it was time to move on.

At no point did Dina ever think Olive was swept away by the surging flood waters.

"If something terrible happened to her, I feel like deep down inside, I would have known," said Dina. "I just figured she graced somebody else with her presence and I just prayed she was doing well."

Olive was doing better than well. 

On Saturday, January 2, Ashley and Jeremy Flood were inside their Midland home when they say they heard a cat meowing by their porch door.

Credit: Ashley Flood
While Ashley & Jeremy Flood were settled inside their Midland home, they heard meowing outside their porch door. Olive the cat had survived.
Credit: Ashley Flood
While Ashley & Jeremy Flood were settled inside their Midland home, they heard meowing outside their porch door. Olive the cat had survived.
Credit: Ashley Flood
While Ashley & Jeremy Flood were settled inside their Midland home, they heard meowing outside their porch door. Olive the cat had survived.

"We went to the door and there was a cat standing there," said Ashley. "We figured it was a stray and would eventually go away or back home, but an hour later, we heard meowing again."

Ashley says the cat was very friendly, looked well fed and her coat was fairly clean.

"After we went to bed, the cat didn't leave and the meowing kept waking me up," Ashley said.

The next day, the Floods decided to bring the cat inside.

"She was shivering and couldn't put her paws on the ground," said Ashley. "She spent Sunday night inside our house."

The next day, the Floods decided to take the cat to the Humane Society of Midland County where they hoped staff members could reunite with her owner.

"They took the cat and immediately scanned her for a microchip," said Ashley. "Sure enough, they found one, and then reached out to the owner."

It was early evening on January 4 while Dina was in the process of making dinner when she saw an email land in her inbox. 

"It said, 'Olive has been found,'" said Dina. "I called the humane society and asked them if they could stay open so I can come get her."

Dina says she and her fiancée raced out of the house, got in their car, and began making their way toward reuniting with Olive.

"I was shaking the whole way there," said Dina. "I was in shock."

 When Dina arrived, Olive seemed to recognize her immediately.

"She let me pick her up and she started purring," said Dina. "Now she's back with me after 8 months."

Olive was lost in the Midland floods and ironically found by the 'Midland Floods.'

"The Floods saving the cat from the floods," said Jeremy Flood. "I guess it was meant to be."

"Now I have a pretty good outlook on the floods in Midland," added Dina.

The Irony surrounding Olive's return goes one step further than the Flood family's help. The day she was reunited with Dina (Jan. 4, 2021) also happened to be Olive's third birthday.

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