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Twister Appears

On Thursday, May 8th 1998 several tornadoes blew through the Winston-Salem, Clemmons area. Clemmons was hit particularly hard. A Level F3 damaged many homes. Fortunately our home received no damage.

The next morning after I arrived at work someone mentioned that an animal was stuck in the shrubs outside. I went out in the rain to investigate and heard a kittenís mew. The bushes are extremely thick very tangled. I couldnít even see the little guy. I tried to part the shrubs but it was very difficult so I forced my way between them and saw these teeny tiny blue eyes looking at me. I tried to reach him but he was too far in and appeared to be stuck. The little guy was hissing and spitting between these pitiful mews. He was trying to put up a very brave front despite weighing probably 9 oz. I was able to part the bushes enough for him to drop out. He tried to run and fell from this ledge into more bushes. I jumped down but he scurried back into the bushes.

I am terrified of spiders and these bushes are full of them and I was dressed in office clothes and it was still raining I was drawing a few onlookers but only one other person would help. The kitten now is even more terrified and really hissing. I try to get him trapped in a box my friend brought out but I wasnít quick enough. He took off and started to run up under our building right toward a drain. I knew I if I couldnít get him into the box and he continued towards the drain I would have to grab him and he would probably bite me. He kept getting closer and closer to the drain so I grabbed and he did bite. Hissing and spitting I had this little guy in my hand his tiny mouth clenched down on a finger and claws dug into the other hand and this bravest GRRR coming from his little throat. I put him in the box and took him in out of the rain.

Both he and I looked liked drown rats. He was little but my finger was bleeding, just a little, but I knew because of the major problem with rabies he would have to be isolated. I called my vet but they had received major damage and were evacuating all their animals as were the other two vet's offices in Clemmons. I tried several other locations and there were filled up from the office that had damage or from the pets of people who had lost their homes. I tried our local No Kill shelter but was unable to locate anyone. I then called AARF, a local rescue, I emailed and left voice mail but never heard from them. I am sure they all had more than they could handle because of the storm. I did all this while still dripping wet in the office with a bleeding finger.

My friend that helped earlier went out to get some cat food and the little guy just dived into it. I took a chance and tried to pet him. He let me but did GRRR! while I stroked him and he never stopped eating. He did seem much calmer. I started calling him Twister because I figured that he must have blown in from somewhere because there are no homes near the office. Another co-worker said when she checked the building right after the tornado she heard him in the bushes. I canít believe that someone could have left this tiny baby out in the cold and rain all night. It thundered and stormed all night. What a terrifying night Twister survived!

I called my Dr. because it had been years since I had had a tetanus shot. My Doctor wanted me to come right in and get a tetanus shot and antibiotics. So with no other choice of what to do with Twister and my Drs. office said they have to report any animal bite, animal control was called. When the officer came he took the info about the bite and then picked up the kitten. It was so tiny. He hissed once then settled into the officer's hand. We looked him over and he looked healthy although very tiny and young, still with blue eyes. I guessed about 4 weeks maybe even younger but didnít seem too thin for his age.

Then the officer gave me the most horrible news. I knew Twister would have to be isolated for ten days but I figured he would then be put up for adoption. But that was not the case. When the ten days was up he would be destroyed. Not because of the threat of rabies but because he had bitten someone and would be classified as a dangerous animal. All 9oz of him a dangerous animal...come on! I couldnít believe it but that is the law. I started crying and asked how this could be prevented. The only way was if I came in and claimed him as mine and paid the isolation fee. I told the officer no way would I let this little guy be destroyed, so to put me down as his owner. But now what to do with him? I had 10 days to try to find him a home. Keeping Twister myself was out of the question since I have a very ill 17 year old cat at home.

My daughter was graduating from college in 10 days and I had 11 people coming to stay at my house before we went to Chapel Hill for graduation. I posted this story in a panic on Acme Catís Window Bulletin Board that I am frequently on. It was Friday and I did not have internet access at home so over the weekend I called all my friends, tried co-workers, AARF again and the shelter. Either they were too full or had too many cats etc. etc. I did find someone that if all else failed she would put him in her barn. It would be fed but nothing else, not an option I wanted to go with. I was beside myself.

On Monday morning depressed feeling I had somehow failed this little guy. Because if I had been smarter I might have been able to get to him without him biting me and then he would have had a chance. I double checked everyone I knew and having found no one to take him I went to work and checked the Board and I had a message from one of the regulars, Stacy, wonderful Stacy. She read the story and took action. Over the weekend while I didnít have access to the internet she set the wheels in motion. She put me in contact with her friend, Vicki, in Chapel Hill that is connected with the Second Chance Pet Adoptions. Vicki is the other wonderful dedicated person. She agreed to help me save Twister. I couldnít believe it!! I actually had a chance to do something! Twister had a chance a SECOND CHANCE. As it turns out my daughter was graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill the very next weekend. So Vicki and I set up a time to meet and borrow a cage to keep Twister in until I could get back to Chapel Hill. I canít say enough about Vicki! She just opened up her heart to little Twister and was determined that we could save him.

I went to visit Twister at the animal control facility on Thursday and he seemed fine. I wanted to make sure they knew I was coming back to claim him. I wasnít able to touch him because he was still in rabies isolation but they let me talk to him through the cage and he was such a sweetie. It was all I could do not to touch him. He mewed at me and reached his little paw through the cage to try to get me to pet him. I knew then that he wasnít feral and that he liked people He was just scared the day I grabbed him. I know who ever is lucky enough to adopt Twister is getting a special little guy to have survived a tornado, trapped in bushes for over 12 hours cold, scared, wet and hungry but still fighting.

Graduation over and Twisters 10 days of "jail" time is done. My Mom and Dad are still visiting and they go with me to the shelter to retrieve Twister. I have to lie to get her back. They wonít let me have her unless they think she is mine I can not tell them she is going to a shelter out of the county to be adopted. I am lying through my teeth to save this little oneís life. I think they, the shelter workers, know something fishy is up but they donít question much. They then tell me I have to return with her when she is old enough to get her rabies shot. Now what to do. Well as fate would have it. I lied again and said actually it was my motherís cat and she lived in another city so I couldnít bring her back. I didnít know what to do I am not an expert at lying. Well that almost stopped the whole process, I was sweating bullets. But the kind lady felt we did have the best interest of the kitten at heart and let us take her. Whew!

I now have Twister back from Animal Control after "HER" 10 days of isolation. Animal control told me Twister was a boy but she is a little girl. She is a beautiful, Wonderful Kitten. So personable she settled right in and is extremely friendly after all she has been through. She is in a large kennel in my un-airconditioned garage not the best place, but the only option I have. We spent a lot of time out there trying to socialize her so she will have a good chance at adoption. She loves to snuggle and cuddle under my chin and bat at my hair. She loves soft pompoms and chases after them and even retrieves them when I throw them. She loves her stuffed animal, it is like her security blanket. Whenever she is in her cage she snuggles up to it. She loves to run and climb and she just purrs all the time. She is having so much fun she doesnít know what to do first.

My old kitty, is 17 and was one I rescued as a kitten. My daughter, then 7 years old, said he was so sweet because he knew what a scary life it was without people and he was so happy that we found him and he was sweet because he was happy to be with people. I think Twister is going to be the same she is a wonderful baby. She survived so much horror. I can only imagine how scared this tiny baby was all night huddled in the storm alone, cold, wet, hungry, and terrified. I had a hard time parting with her. If my old Spotty was in better health I never would have.