They say if it’s meant to be, it will be no matter how long it takes and one cat lost after Hurricane Michael but found in Evansville after two years proves the expression true. Hurricane Michael is on record as the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Although it had initially been classified under Category 4 at 155 mph, it was found to have an intensity of 160 mph thus was upgraded to Category 5. The effects were devastating; over three-quarters of homes in Mexico Beach were flattened, and one couple in Panama City lost their cat but miraculously got reunited. Here’s more regarding the happy reunion as we enlighten you on preparing your pets for natural disasters.
Sinatra Gets Lost
Robin Vaughn and her wife Angela Brown moved to Panama City six years ago. Their love for animals made them adopt dogs and cats, one of whom was Sinatra. When they took him to the vet for neutering, the vet forgot to microchip the feline, yet all along, the couple thought their cat was microchipped. It took Hurricane Michael for them to find out that their beloved Sinatra could not be easily traced if he ever got lost. Before the hurricane hit Panama City, the lovebirds did not evacuate because they were told to allow other people to leave the area. Therefore, they waited, and a couple of hours before Hurricane Michael struck the area, Vaughn and Brown knew they were in for a rough time. Their rented house was destroyed, and they remained trapped inside for days until some good Samaritans helped them get out by cutting through the trees.
According to Tri-State Homepage, Vaughn and her wife traveled to Kentucky and Indiana to be with family; a trip that took 30 hours. On arrival in Madisonville, Kentucky, Vaughn fell ill and had to be hospitalized. On the other hand, their landlord in Florida wanted them back in Panama City immediately so they could remove their possessions. Therefore, Brown left alone for Florida leaving their pets with her daughter, Meghan Krietemeyer, who lived in Evansville. One day when Brown’s daughter opened the door, Sinatra’s curiosity got the best of him, so he went out. Since he was not familiar with the new neighborhood, making it back home proved a challenge for the cat. Worse still, Krietemeyer’s house sold, and she had to move, so even if Sinatra would eventually find his way back home, there would be no one to welcome him.
Never Giving up Hope of Finding Sinatra
As loving pet parents, Vaughn and Brown took the task of searching for Sinatra. They put up flyers, and everyone helped in the search not only in Evansville but in Florida too, thinking that Sinatra had gone back to his familiar surroundings. Unfortunately, days turned into weeks and weeks into months, then years without any sighting. The lovebirds had to expand the search; therefore, they used social media, posting on Evansville’s Lost Pets Facebook page. She posted Sinatra’s pictures, and on several occasions, she had people claiming they had spotted Sinatra. Upon closer examination of every physical detail they knew of their cat, Vaughn and Brown would realize that the found cat was not theirs. The never-ending cycle of their hope being lifted then crashed went on, and it took a toll on the couple’s son, Wyatt Wetzel because Sinatra was his best friend.
Sinatra is Finally Found
Brown contacted the vet who had neutered Sinatra to get the microchip number, and it was at this point that she learned their furry friend had not been microchipped. The vet claimed that the neutering surgery was complicated, and he forgot to microchip the cat. According to Courier & Press, Linda Walker, an animal rescuer with Another Chance for Animals, was keen on the search for Sinatra. She found a stray cat resembling Sinatra about two miles from where Brown’s daughter used to live. Unfortunately, upon a closer look, the cat was female, so Walker was sure it was not Sinatra. However, after contacting Brown and even sharing detailed pictures of the feline, the cat owner asked Walker to keep the cat until she and her wife could visit, which Walker gladly did.
When Vaughn and Brown went to Evansville for Christmas, they visited Walker and met the cat she had found. While the good news was that it looked exactly like their lost Sinatra, the bad news was that it was female, and even a vet confirmed the gender. Still, Brown could not ignore the nagging feeling that the stray cat was indeed Sinatra, so she went to the Florida vet who had neutered Sinatra. On checking the records, the vet had disclosed that the male cat would be easily mistaken for a female because he had undescended testicles. That was all the confirmation that Brown needed. In March 2021, Brown and Vaughn drove to Evansville to take their pet back home. Sinatra acted as if he had never left home, and his memories of his pet siblings and usual routine were still fresh. Therefore, he went straight to the top of the washing machine, where he knew his food would be awaiting his arrival. Vaughn wishes he could talk and share the experience of what he had been through for the two years he was away from home. It is safe to conclude it was not a pleasant one, given how the once plump cat had become skinny. Having learned his lesson about wandering away from his humans, Sinatra never lets them get out of his sight.
Tips to Prepare Pets for Natural Disasters
One Green Planet advises that the number one way of preparing pets for natural disasters is by microchipping them. If the vet had done so, the back and forth trips that Vaughn and Brown had to make would be unnecessary since Sinatra’s identity would have been quickly known. You could also have an emergency kit ready for your pet; it should be equipped with all the supplies you would need if you find yourself unable to access the store or vet. Additionally, inform loved ones and neighbors that you have pets so that if you are not around, someone will take care of them during evacuation.