Animal Rescue Volunteers Working to Find Hundreds of Lost Cats After California Wildfires

Animals - Inside Edition Staff

After catastrophic fires in northern California destroyed thousands of homes in October, hundreds of household cats remain missing, but a group of volunteers is making it their mission to bring them to their rightful owners. 

The animal rescue group has set up motion-activated surveillance cameras along with bowls of food to track felines who escaped the flames.

Jennifer Petruska leads the team, which monitors the footage and places traps where the cats are spotted.

A blurry image shows the black and white 8-year-old cat that they're looking for. They brought along its favorite snack, Cheetos, to lure the cat. 

Petruska targets the burned-out Santa Rosa area in hopes that Max the cat will take the bait.

She slipped the Cheetos into a cage and if Max shows up, the trap would swing shut. 

And that's what happened later, as Max was discovered and returned to her owners, who were overjoyed to see her. 

Dozens of cats have already been reunited with their owners.

Erin Randol's cat, Sally, is another one of the lucky ones. Her family's home burned to the ground and she feared she'd lost her cat forever. Then, Petruska called with good news.

“She sent a picture and for the first time, we knew for sure, we knew it was her,” Randol said. 

Sally got a bath on her first night home to wash the soot off her tiny body.

Randol says the once-fiercely independent cat now clings to her family.

But for hundreds of other cat owners, the search continues.

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