Russian Troops Stole a Cat From Bucha. It Reunited With Its Owners 80 Days Later

An 8-years-old ginger Maine Coon named Max has survived a month of Bucha occupation. Then it was stolen by russian troops, but, while in Belarus, the cat escaped and soon ended up with the local volunteers who, eventually, brought the pet back to its owners. Olena Kukuruzka, Odesa resident who has recently lived in Bucha, Kyiv region, and soon found temporary asylum in the Czech Republic, has shared with Dumskaya media the story of her cat’s adventures.

Together with her husband and her 18-month-old son, Olena moved to Bucha a year ago. They lived 3 km to the Hostomel airport, which the russian army tried to capture in the end of February. ‘When they started bombing us at night, I felt dumbstruck, sat on the bed hugging my son and unwilling to go anywhere. My husband convinced me to change my mind. We both agreed that he would give us a ride to Zhymotyr, and then come back for our belongings and cat Max’, a woman recalls. On reaching the Kyiv region border, they found out from their neighbours that the russian paratroopers had already landed in Hostomel, so they had nowhere to return to.

Twitter: This is cat Max from Bucha. Bloody russians have stolen it, but lost while getting away, somewhere near Homel. A month later, the owner, who has already fled to the Czech Republic with her child, got a call from Belarus, as the cat’s locket has all the contacts inside. Thanks to the people’s concern, the cat is already with its owner.

In the early March, Bucha was occupied. Olena found out from the neighbours that their house was occupied by the russian soldiers, who had left their armoured personnel carrier right outside and dug trenches alongside the fence. “Max always had bowls full of water and pet food, but it was still enough just for a couple of days. We called our neighbours asking to break the windows, but it was too late. An elderly neighbour didn’t get out of the city, so he told us what was going on right from the basement. In the first days, Max was spotted in the village – it was the only cat that was that ginger,” the woman tells.

Read also: Wash Me, if You Can: Ukrainians’ Homes Once Occupied by Russians

In the end of March, the Ukrainian military have liberated Bucha. Olena told us that the entire house was broken and looted. ‘The furniture was ruined, covered in curse words, personal things were grabbed out of the closet. Everything was piled up near the entrance, I guess they were about to steal it, but didn’t manage to. Our deminers have found a trip wire in the nursery’, says Olena, “We started searching for Max. I hoped that it was alive and taken away by the volunteers rescuing pets. For 38 days, I strongly believed it was alive. Without a sign of it, despite the news that there was a hell here in our house.” According to her, she contacted each foundation, volunteer centre and support group in Hostomel and Bucha.

A month ago, Olena got a Viber call from an unknown Belarus number. ‘There were your contacts on the pendant. We didn’t know whether we should call and how you would react to people from Belarus after everything that has happened’, said a girl on the line. She also sent Olena a cat’s photo and its collar with the pendant.

Turns out, Max was stolen by the russians. The cat travelled over 300 km on a russian armoured vehicle together with the home appliances looted from Bucha and Irpin. Somewhere near Homel the pet managed to escape and join the local residents. Later on, the Belarus volunteers helped to make Max a new vet passport and microchip required to bring the pet abroad, and gave it to the Polish volunteers at the border. Now the Maine Coon has reunited with its owners in the Czech Republic.

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