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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic impacted on the Malahat near Goldstream Park

Reported crash in northbound lane of highway

Barbecue thief leaves hat behind at Victoria residence

Anyone who recognizes the hat is asked to call VicPD or Crime Stoppers

COVID-19: Saanich police respond to calls about skatepark gathering, group volleyball game

‘Some people are still not taking this seriously,’ officer says

VIDEO: Sooke teachers are ‘feeling good,’ show it off in song and dance for students

Edward Milne Community School staff rock out at end of planning week

Oak Bay driver flees on foot after collision on Beach Drive

Officers caught the driver shortly after

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Most Read