Friday, March 1, 2024

Missing Cat Reunited with Owner Nearly a Month After Disappearing in Alaska Flooding

Leo, a black and white cat, has been reunited with his family nearly a month after he went missing after a historic glacial flooding swept away his home.

According to media reports, the cat’s owners, Elizabeth Wilkins, and her partner, were in Oregon mountain biking when they learned that their two-story home in Juneau, Alaska, was swept into a nearby river. Just a few days prior, their family and friends had sent videos and called, warning them that their home was in danger due to the flood.

Three days later, they went back to Juneu to sort out their temporary living arrangements. They also began to look for their kitty, Leo. Despite calling his name and leaving kibble for him in the chicken coop, however, there was no sight of their big-eyed black and white cat.

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Elizabeth Wilkins with her black-and-white cat Leo in Juneau, Alaska

Their cat, Leo, was lost and they could only assume the worst. To their pleasant surprise, however, the feline was recently found alive and well in a nearby neighborhood.

Leo and Wilkins were later reunited after residents of the neighborhood came together to track the cat, sharing pictures and updates of him on Facebook. One of Wilkin’s friends eventually recognized Leo as the stray cat that another resident posted on the site.

Wilkins immediately went to the area where the ‘stray cat’ was seen and started to call out his name. Within minutes, he ran out to greet her.

Leo’s parents, who both work as teachers, had rescued the kitty back during the pandemic in 2020.

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Leo walking in the snow after being reunited with his owners

In early August, Alaska saw an unprecedented level of flooding, due to Mendenhall Glacier, a 3000-year-old glacier that has flooded every year since 2011. This is due to a major release of water from Suicide Basin, a dammed lake, that eroded the river bank. Compared to last year, however, the water levels were higher by nearly three feet.

Because of this, Alaskan officials issued an emergency statement, Not long afterward, the flooding made its way across the riverbed, blocking roadways damaging property, and destroying at least two homes in the area.

Despite the rough terrain in Alaska at the time, Leo managed to make it on its own for nearly 30 days. According to Wilkins, she had always believed that “he would escape and be okay somewhere” as he’s a smart kitty. Since the reunion, Wilkins has taken Leo, who is both an indoor and outdoor cat, to the vet and was told that he is in good health, albeit a little skinnier than before.

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Leo was in good health despite being on his own in the streets for nearly a month

Wilkin believes he survived on the streets on his own by eating cans of tuna and killing mice.

And just like their resilient kitty, some of their other belongings have also been finding their way back to them. According to Wilkins, some of their pictures and clothes were found in someone’s yard down the river.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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