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Cupcake the kitty reunited with owner who lost everything to Katrina

by Judi McLeod
Friday, February 24, 2006

Until Hurricane Katrina blew her way, “Cupcake” was handled as tenderly at home as the confection she was named for.

For this tiny black cat, who lost her cupcake status to become a stray, survival must not have come easy. Forced to forage in her hurricane-ravaged neighbourhood without family or friend, Cupcake had to dodge hungry stray dogs, parasites and starvation.

Even in the face of all that, the lonely Katrina kitty somehow knew enough to stay close to home.

With all the animals in the area, she lived off food dropped off daily by volunteers from Animal Rescue New Orleans.

Animal rescue groups have rescued more than 1,200 former pets living as strays in New Orleans and have enjoyed remarkable success in reuniting many of them with their owners.

Cupcake couldn't have known that owner Tristan Carter thought she lost everything to Katrina-her home, a grandfather, two dogs, a housecat and a rabbit.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) reunited the tiny 7-pound black cat with Carter, who had moved on to Atlanta.

No trouble was too much for BFAS, who knew someone, somewhere was missing the feline.

Cupcake was still wearing a collar with rabies tags, and rescuers, who were finally able to coax her into a humane animal trap, had high hopes of finding the pet's owner. But volunteer Shelley Thayer could not find a human match for the tag's name and address. Worries escalated when a phone number on the tag proved to be disconnected.

Not wanting to give up, Thayer turned next to professional Internet-based searching services. The people-finding service came up with Carter's post-Katrina phone number.

The good news of Cupcake's survival reached Carter while she was filling up her car at a gas station. The family, who had returned to their former home to search for their pets in November, had to return home without success.

The scene that saw Carter and kitty reunited warms the heart: “I lost a grandfather in the hurricane. To find a little kitty survived 6 months, that's great,” she said holding Cupcake at last, while thanking the rescuers who found her.

Cupcake happily purred and melted all human hearts when she reached her head up to give Carter a kitty kiss with her nose.

The love and loyalty of animals everywhere was a joyous reminder with the return of one little Cupcake.

“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.”

A reminder that Pet ID Tags are the most important part of getting a lost pet back to its owner. Be sure to use a tag that allows for more than one number ....get them today at