WHEN seven-year-old Zahara Reeves's cat Maisey went missing during the floods 18 months ago, her parents feared the worst for their daughter's four-legged friend.
To spare their three children the difficult details, Sandra and Daniel Reeves instead told them Maisey must have gone to play somewhere else - and it turned out their white lie was not a lie at all when the soggy moggy was found alive and well last month.
"(Zahara) was still talking about Maisey days before we found her and was wondering where she was," Mrs Reeves said.
"We said, 'she's gone to play somewhere else'. I thought the reality was a bit more harsh and I didn't want to tell her."
The Reeves family had only just moved to Bundaberg and were staying with family at Belle Eden when Maisey went missing.
The family searched high and low for Maisey, patrolling the streets, putting up signs and contacting animal shelters.
"Everyone was devastated," Mrs Reeves's mother, Trish Farmer, said.
"I had this really sad feeling about this cat and would go looking for her all the time."
And the searching paid off last month when she spotted the feline in a drain.
"I said to the girls, 'there's a cat that looks like Maisey'. And the girls said, 'it's Maisey, it's Maisey'," Mrs Farmer said.
"The two girls ran toward her and picked her up and she was purring her heart out.
"So she went missing when it was raining and we found her when it was raining."
Mrs Reeves said Maisey, who is desexed and microchipped, went through a phantom pregnancy when she first came home, causing the family to worry they had brought home the wrong cat.
"But we had a look at photos and the markings are exactly the same," she said.
"She looked skinny but not deprived, so we're not sure if someone was feeding her."
Mrs Reeves said Maisey still had the same old habits from before she went missing.
"I'm really pleased for the kids," she said.
"She was Zahara's second birthday present.
"She finally finished her adventure and decided to come home."