Florida’s oceanic East coast is threatened yearly by mother nature with tropical storms and possible hurricanes. Residents are acutely aware of the need for emergency preparations. And what of those families with pets as well? The most heartbreaking thing to happen wouldn’t be to lose all your belongings. But what if a beloved fur-baby escaping during these terrifying moments as well? Regrettably, this is exactly what happened to Perry Martin, a local Fort Pierce man in 2004, during Hurricane Jeanne. Jeanne was the deadliest hurricane during the 2004 season. And the 12th deadliest Atlantic hurricane ever! But what was more amazing that his “ghost” cat returned–14 years later!
The resilient ginger “ghost” cat, was a former stray who’d clearly learned how to survive on the streets.
Martin was chosen by a stray orange tabby kitty in 2002 that, as they tend to do, just showed up one day. He brought the street cat to the vet, got him cleaned up, vaccinated and micro-chipped. He knew right then and there the cat wouldn’t be returning back outside. So he named him Thomas Jr., T2 for short, and took him into his home.
With the tragic events of Hurricane Jeanne, T2 escaped during the aftermath of the storm, devastating his family. Martin filed a report with the local Humane Society in the hopes T2 would be found, but he never received a call. He feared the worst and even his vet eventually listed the feline as deceased.
In early 2018 Martin, now a retiree that helps train service dogs, received a very unexpected call from the local Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.
An orange tabby, very skinny and full of fleas, had been brought in to the shelter. However, as miracles would have it, the shabby feline had surprisingly been found to have a microchip! Although the microchip’s information was approximately 16 YEARS out of date, the shelter had stopped at nothing in their attempts at tracking down the original owner…which led them to Perry. T2 had been found alive!
When Perry was reunited with T2, he recalled that although the feline looked a bit older, he knew exactly who the cat was.
He believes that T2 was taken in by someone and cared for over the years.
Happily, T2 is now back at his furever home with Perry. Although the 18 year old survivor is a bit sluggish in his old age, he’s doing very well eating, drinking and moving around. He even has a new friend, Sassy, a golden retriever that Martin is training that he can spend his days with relaxing for as long as his tale continues.
This unbelievable journey is why it is SO VERY IMPORTANT to have your cats micro-chipped. Always update the contact information and if you find a stray cat, bring it to the vet to have them check for a microchip! This is especially crucial to do before a storm season is upon your region.
Please check with your local veterinarian office, shelter or humane society for discounted microchip services and protect your pets like you would any other member of your family! Stay safe and be prepared =)