The Stockham family thought they’d buried Thomas the cat over six weeks ago, so it’s understandable they were shocked and thrilled to get the call that their beloved kitty wasn’t six feet under after all.
KPIX reports that the Stockhams lost their home on Sky Farm Drive to the North Bay wildfires in October, and they were certain they’d lost their pet cat too. Thomas had been with the family for nearly 13 years as teenage daughter Lea’s furry companion.
With the fires encroaching upon their neighborhood on Oct. 9, Dani Stockham had urged her daughters to get up and out quickly. But when the family evacuated the house, Lea says she unable to safely secure Thomas.
“It was really devastating when I couldn’t grab him. He had just like started clawing at me and slipped right out of my arms,” she said.
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Sadly, when the Stockham family returned to their house three days later, it was destroyed. They also found a cat’s body.
“It was gray and white and you could just see fur on the back of the head,” said Dani. “There was no doubt that it was Thomas.”
Positive their pet had passed away, the family held a small funeral for the feline, even printing up programs. That’s why their surprise and joy was palpable upon learning the cat had been found alive 45 days later.
As it turns out, Thomas had survived the fire and was eyed by a Good Samaritan wandering about a quarter of a mile from the Stockham’s former house. The rescuer, Shannon Jay, set a food trap and caught the cat, had his microchip tracked and lo and behold, it was Thomas. Avid, the microchipping company, emailed Boyd Stockham.
“Initially we thought it was some kind of cruel scam,” Dani told PressDemocrat.com. But she and her husband Boyd called Avid and soon confirmed the thin, but unharmed cat was indeed Thomas.
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Now reunited with his family, they may never know just how their pet endured the wildfires and many weeks of homelessness. Whether it was a miracle or the old adage about cats having nine lives, the Stockhams are simply grateful to cuddle with their fur baby again.
“It was like honestly the best day I’ve had since the fire, like it was the greatest day ever,” said Lea.
The Stockhams do not know whose cat they buried, but they do have a message for fire victims still searching for their pets: “There is hope.”