A lost cat is back at home with its family in California this week, six years after he went missing in a firestorm.
Lost cat reunited with family after 6 years apart
According to The Press Democrat, Ozzie was an indoor tabby cat from Santa Rosa, California. Cat mom Patrician Duane adopted him in 2013, when he was only a kitten. She raised him, along with a litter mate, at her home on Adobe Canyon Road in Kenwood.
Then, the 2017 North Bay firestorm erupted in Santa Rosa. Amidst the evacuation chaos, Ozzie disappeared.
After the turmoil died down, Duane “walked all over and left word with neighbors, but as the months went by, I just resolved myself that there was no way he could be alive.”
Duane didn’t believe he could survive in the wild. That’s because Ozzie only had four teeth at the time, a result of extractions due to severe gum disease.
Somehow, despite being nearly toothless, Ozzie survived on the streets. Random residents fed him as he wandered through east Santa Rosa. Though much time passed, Ozzie didn’t actually wander far from home.
After six years, someone turned Ozzie into Forgotten Felines, a rescue in Sonoma County. Staff scanned him for a microchip and contacted Duane. The cat mom was “shocked” and “couldn’t get there fast enough,” she said. “I held him and petted him, and he started purring, and he talked to me the whole way home.”
Ozzie returned home and is now “transitioning back to a life of comfort and love,” according to the news outlet.
“It’s unbelievable,” Duane said of Ozzie’s reappearance. “He’s been through a second fire. He’s been through rains, freezing cold, any number of elements out there. And he’s pretty damn good, and I think he knows he’s home.”
How to keep your cat safe during a natural disaster
Keeping your cat safe during a natural disaster, especially when faced with the need to evacuate your home, requires careful planning and preparation. First, always microchip your pets and keep your registration information current. Also, ensure your cat has a collar with an ID tag with your contact information. Next, prepare an emergency kit for your cat that includes essential supplies such as food, water, medications, and a familiar blanket or toy. Keep a sturdy carrier readily accessible for quick evacuation. If an evacuation is imminent, secure your cat in the carrier and bring them with you.
If you are unable to take your cat, find a safe, enclosed room with food, water, and bedding, and leave a sign indicating the presence of a pet inside. Stay informed about local shelters or pet-friendly hotels where you can seek temporary accommodation. It’s crucial to follow any evacuation orders promptly to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your feline companion during natural disasters like firestorms.