Sonoma students and cats share fire experiences

A cat with ears singed from the recent fires visits students at Flowery Elementary School on Wednesday, 20 December. (Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune)


When a child, or anyone for that matter, goes through a traumatic experience, it can really help to talk about it.

Earlier this month, local students still rattled by their experiences during the October fires got a chance to commiserate with some furry friends who were also recovering from the fires.

During the October Sulphur Springs Fire, three kitties with injuries were reported to Lake County Animal Control. LEAP (Lake Evacuation and Animal Protection) trained volunteers were sent to the reported address where they found the three cats cowering under a claw foot bathtub. All three kitties were taken immediately to the Lake County Animal Control Medical facility where they were treated for burns to their faces, ears and paws. All three are males and appear to be brothers, according to Pets Lifeline Director Nancy King.

Animal Control staff determined that the injuries were extensive but treatable and began a treatment regimen that continued nearly five weeks due to the severity of the injuries. The wounds began healing, though surgical repair was necessary for the ears and some facial injuries.

The three were all named after the animal control officers who saved them.

It was discovered that these kitties were community cats, but their caretaker’s property was lost, and the injuries would now limit their ability to live as “outdoor cats” so Pets Lifeline agreed to take them in as soon as they could be released from medical care. On Nov. 17, the three arrived at Pets Lifeline in Sonoma where they continued their healing process and will eventually be available for adoption to loving homes.

“They are as sweet as they come which is a testament to the exceptional care and compassion they received while in their care,” said King.

Mary Green of Pets Lifeline took two of the cats to the Sonoma Charter School earlier this month and said that the kids reaction was amazing.

“They all started telling the cats their own stories about what happened to them during the fires,” said Green. “For some, it was likely the first time they’ve had an opportunity to talk about it.”

Green and King arranged to brings the cats to Flowery Elementary on Dec. 20 during the Boys & Girls Clubs’ after-school program.

“It has been amazing to see these students interact with the burn kitties and we think the process is helping both to recover,” said Green.

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