10-year-old Bella Salvino was emotional after finding a lost cat, Alfred, that she’d only ever seen on a ‘missing cat’ poster. She found the cat hiding in a storm drain. (Photos submitted)

Nanaimo girl made it her mission to find the cat on the ‘missing’ poster

10-year-old Bella Salvino, on her bike, locates lost cat

A 10-year-old Nanaimo girl, motivated by a ‘missing cat’ poster, took up the search herself and helped bring a lost pet home.

Bella Salvino, an École Hammond Bay student, got on her bike this past weekend, formed a search party of one, and located a cat – one she’d never seen before, except on a poster – that had been lost for two and a half weeks.

The family came home one night last week to find a missing cat poster on their front door, and it affected Bella so much that she put the poster up on her wall.

“She was just beside herself, she was having a hard time going to sleep, she couldn’t get him off her mind,” said her mother, Jacqueline. “She definitely has a kinship with animals, but this is the first time she’s ever gone to this extent. There was something about this story, this poster, that moved her.”

Bella said she put up the poster to remind her to try to find the cat, Alfred.

“To be determined to do something, you have to remember it constantly and every day, get a little closer to actually doing anything you want to do,” she said.

A few days later, on the weekend, she was able to take up the search. She rode her bike around the neighbourhood where the cat was lost, set out cat treats and peered into crevices. Pretty soon, a black and white cat emerged from a storm drain.

“That’s how I saw him, but then I don’t think he wanted to come out because I started freaking out because I was so excited,” Bella said.

She pedalled home as fast as she could, except for the last little hill by her home that’s a bit too steep for cycling.

“She was running up it with her bike, all out of breath and in tears,” Jacqueline said.

Mother and daughter returned to the storm drain and offered cat treats first, but it was wet food that finally helped them coax Alfred out of the culvert. He was a little suspicious at first, Bella said, but then “he ate it up immediately” and was secured in a cat carrier.

It was about that time that the cat’s owner, Britni Campbell, received a static-y phone call while camping at Gordon Bay at Cowichan Lake. Eventually she found cell service, identified Alfred from photos, and arranged for her boyfriend to come pick up her cat.

story continues below

Campbell only recently adopted the cat from a neighbour of her mother’s, in Maple Ridge. She said Alfred loves to have his chin scratched and is a “friendly guy,” but cautious. Campbell had spent several evenings searching, putting up posters, going door-to-door and calling out.

“I was starting to lose hope,” she said.

Instead, she got her cat back and has now also had a chance to meet Bella, whom Campbell called “a hero in my eyes.” The girl refused any reward, asking only for a hug and a picture of Alfred, and walked around the neighbourhood with Campbell and her boyfriend this week, helping them take down the missing cat posters that started it all.

“I couldn’t believe that a little girl would take it upon herself to go out and search for a cat that wasn’t even hers…” Campbell said. “For someone that young to have that much of a heart, it’s good to know that we’ve got hope.”

READ ALSO: Escaped pheasant caught at Nanaimo mall after a week-long chase

READ ALSO: Nanaimo cat returned to owner after it was missing for three years



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Student artwork on display in ‘Well Lit’ installation

Thoughtful Place Design, 49th Parallel, and Festival of Lights came together to showcase student art

Ladysmith set to star in new Syfy series: Resident Alien

Ladysmith will play the role of Patience, Colorado in the series

Ladysmith wins ‘Brownie’ Reach Out award for communication of Waterfront Plan

The Town of Ladysmith has received national recognition for the successful public… Continue reading

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital raising funds for new surgical suite

The new suite will reduce endoscopy wait times for residents from Ladysmith to Bowser

Belair Street development ready for next steps following public hearing

Fred Green’s Belair Street development cleared another hurdle at a Town of Ladysmith public hearing

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read