Madeline Earns Her Keep
One day life was normal, the next day Madeline had no idea how her world had exploded or what to do about it. She was just a cat whose life was literally turned upside down in a deadly, mile wide tornado that ravaged 70 square miles of southwest Georgia and nothing was ever going to be the same. Left homeless, abandoned, traumatized and scared, she did what cats do, she hid but she also made the best of the situation, as animals do, and began her new life amidst what looked like a war zone. The abandoned cats of Paradise Village were now living among tons and tons of twisted steel and metal, mobile homes turned upside down, some stacked three high on top of each other and steel frames bent into U shapes. This was the new landscape for all the cats and it must have been confusing to them all to come back to find nothing familiar. Upon returning, they walked upon 100-year-old newly horizontal pine trees that had crushed mobile homes into halves. They wandered acre after acre of devastation, debris, fallen trees and unstable metal rectangles weighing thousands of pounds that perched precariously and threatened to give way at any moment. They were surrounded by danger and this was now their living quarters.
There was no one to explain to them what had happened or to make them feel safe. During this time most of the search and rescue officials didn’t know the hidden survivors were there. Eyes only, watching the workers, ready to flee from more threats and running from frightening sounds of chain saws and people they didn’t know who were trying to find survivors. Life was now uncertain, but Madeline was in luck as were all the other cats of the mobile home park. We don’t know how many of the cats that had been living there didn’t make it through the horror of this extreme tornado, but these four-legged survivors had a guardian angel. It turns out that they had two! For two weeks during the search and recovery phase the county animal control officer, Tamara Goff Piercy took care of them daily. She established feeding stations with food and water for them to find and fill their hungry and thirsty bellies. They began to become accustomed to her Animal Control truck riding through each day, searching for animals in need and they began to come out when they recognized the "food wagon.” Yet others not so trusting still hid until they could be certain they were safe and unseen and then dared to come out after she and other’s left for the day. After things normalized and rescue efforts finally ceased, she asked the local nonprofit TNR (trap-neuter-return) organization CatNappers for help in caretaking for so many cats. She knew something had to be done to help all of them, or there would be the consequences of many unplanned cats when almost none of them were altered or vaccinated. Kittens in a place like that would be a horror that didn’t need to happen. She knew that CatNappers would take care of all the cats needs and do everything possible to help them.
After CatNappers came in to help, they were all spayed or neutered and the most social were removed No owners had come forward to claim them, so something had to be done. Several of these cats were adopted and one of the first was Madeline. As with many of the cats there, she had personality, was very social and certainly needed a new home as the mobile home park wasn’t safe or habitable. She was fostered for a while to determine her personality, level of socialization and health and was quickly able to find her new forever home. Madeline’s first trip to her new home was quite matter of fact. When the carrier door opened, she didn’t cower, she wasn’t confused, she simply assessed the situation around her and made her move. She walked out of the carrier heading out to explore the new surroundings. She walked up to the dogs and gave them a thorough sniff, continued her walk observing everything around her and came back as if saying, “This is fine, I’ll be happy here and you may go!”. And so, she stayed, settled in happily and never looked back.
A little over a year later she was able to thank her new "forever" family in a very special way. Around Three am one morning Madeline began pacing the bed and growling, recognizing things weren't right she continued her actions until her person woke up and began to check the house and saw someone with a light shining into the window. They were able to stop an attempted burglary by calling the police and setting off the alarm, scaring the would-be burglar away. Remember the dog Madeline sniffed when she first went to inspect her new home? He slept through the entire thing and never knew Madeline stood in for him and did his job! Go Madeline! She was much rewarded with extra treats and if she’d never earned her place before she certainly has now! Her owners think she’s amazing, and they couldn’t be more right!
You can read more about the cats of Paradise Village on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Paradise-Village-Cats-Albany-GA-Tornado-Survivors-1856706547903053/ Many of these kitties are still in need of homes or fosters. You can contact CatNappers through their Facebook page or website. www.thecatnappers.org