It was a glimmer of hope for the Thompson family as their cherished cat was found alive following the destruction of their California home in a mudslide.
Lindsey and Woody Thompson of Montecito left goodbye notes for each other in case one of them did not survive the Jan. 9 mudslide that left at least 20 people dead and destroyed more than 100 homes.
The couple was airlifted by helicopter from their home on Oak Grove Road, but their cat, Koshka, was left behind.
In a video uploaded by Santa Barbara County Animal Services, the Thompsons wept with relief as they were reunited with their beloved pet six days later.
"Thank you so much. We needed something like this to happen for our family,” Lindsey Thompson said.
After they were rescued, the couple called animal services to see if anyone could find their pet, but the area was not yet safe to search.
Animal services wrote on their Facebook post they "consulted with a nearby fire team who was unable to see Koshka but could see her muddy paw prints."
The property searched daily for Koshka until Jan. 15, when Animal Services Officer Pennon and his partner Lauren from the ASPCA found the feline covered in mud.
"We knew that she was alive and we knew that she was smart and she would find a safe spot to be and she did," Woody Thompson said.
"They called her the 'paw print kitty' and she lived, and I just can't thank you enough," his wife added. "We needed this. Thank you. You're our heroes."