Lost Katrina kitty reunited with owner in Atlanta
Published: February 23, 2006 | 3608th good news item since 2003
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Tristan Carter thought she lost everything – her home, a grandfather, two dogs, a housecat and a rabbit.
But she was wrong about losing her cat – “Cupcake” came back, after 6 months of living as a stray in her hurricane-ravaged neighborhood. On Wednesday, animal rescue volunteers reunited the lithe, 7-pound black cat with Carter, who now lives in Atlanta.
“I lost a grandfather in the hurricane. To find a little kitty survived 6 months, that’s great,” said Carter, holding Cupcake close and thanking the rescuers who found her. In turn, Cupcake happily squeaked and, at least once, reached her head up to give Carter a kitty kiss with her nose.
For nearly a half year after the hurricane, the tiny cat lived on her own, never straying far from Carter’s destroyed home and surviving all dangers – stray dogs, parasites and starvation.
She lived off of food dropped off daily in her neighborhood by volunteers from Animal Rescue New Orleans. Finally, on Feb. 12, rescuers captured her in a humane animal trap.
Best Friends Animal Society, the group that arranged the reunion, has rescued more than 1,200 former pets living as strays in New Orleans and has been working to reunite them with their owners. Those efforts will conclude Feb. 28, according to a statement from the society.
A veterinarian treated Cupcake for worms and fleas that she acquired while living as a stray, and volunteers worked to find her owner.
Cupcake wore a collar with rabies tags and rescuers hoped to quickly link her with her owner. But volunteer Shelley Thayer could not find a person who matched the tag’s name and address. A phone number on the tag was disconnected.
But after using professional Internet-based searching services, Thayer matched Carter with the tag’s address. The people-finding service provided Thayer with Carter’s phone number.
Carter said animal rescue volunteers called her last week while she was filling up her car at a gas station. Her family had given up any hope of finding their pets – in November, they returned to their former home and searched for the pets without success.
Although superstition links black cats with bad luck, Carter said she knows this cannot be true.
“God works in mysterious ways. She is a gift, she is here to let us know there is hope,” Carter said. “She’s our good luck charm.”