Monday Miracle
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Refugee Cat: Kunkush Crossed a Continent to Rejoin His Family

This Turkish Van traveled from Iraq to Norway via Greece and Germany for his family reunion.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Feb 29th 2016


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This week’s Monday Miracle is a cat who’s a reluctant world traveler. His name is Kunkush, and he’s a fine-looking Turkish Van who has now clocked up quite the collection of passport stamps, being that he’s journeyed from Iraq to Norway via many ports of call in Europe on a route to being reunited with his human family of refugees.

Here’s how he did it.

Last year, Kunkush’s human family of a mom and her five kids were forced to flee their home in Mosul in Iraq after the city was taken over by Islamic State militants.

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Image via GoFundMe.

Naturally, they decided to bring the cat along as they set out on a journey to a new home in Steinkjer, Norway (a city that is allegedly home to the country’s oldest punk rocker, a dude named Laffen).

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Image via GoFundMe.

The journey was proceeding as planned, with Kunkush happily traveling in a basket, until the family crossed to the island of Lesbos in Greece on a rubber boat. When they arrived at shore, Kunkush hopped out — probably from a mix of being frightened and wondering just what in the world was going on.

After searching for Kunkush for a number of hours, his distraught human family had to move on to a registration camp and continue their journey to safety and a new Nordic home.

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Image via Facebook.

You know what’s coming next: A week later, residents in a small fishing village on the island discovered Kunkush. They looked after his welfare (and blessed him with the temporary new name of Dias). A visit to a vet also showed that he was generally in good shape, if a little shaken up.

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Image via GoFundMe.

The people took steps to track down Kunkush’s family, with social media playing a key role as a Facebook page was set up to spread the word.

At this point, Kunkush was whisked off to Berlin, where a foster home had been secured for him. Rescuers believed the foster family would look after Kunkush for a year while the search for his original family continued — and then the foster family would adopt him if it came to that.

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Image via GoFundMe.

Four months after Kunkush originally hopped out of his basket, an update broke on Facebook:

“We bring you exciting breaking news this Valentine’s Day. On Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, Dias’ family has been located in Norway. We’ve received confirmation in the form of photos as well as the family’s historical account. His real name is Kunkush, and the cat is very responsive to the name.”

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Image via Facebook.

At this point, Kunkush grabbed his passport again and prepared to fly to Norway to finally be reunited with his family.

The reunion was captured on film in a pretty tear-jerking fashion — watch the footage below to see Kunkush’s mom emote, “Kunkush, my life, my darling!” as he’s finally back with his family again.

You can continue to follow Kunkush’s story on his Facebook page, while donations are still being taken via his GoFundMe campaign.

Read more Monday Miracles on Catster: 

About the author: Phillip Mlynar writes about cats, music, food, and sometimes a mix of all three. He considers himself the world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats.