CTA & You

Holiday Miracle: Family Cat That Bolted in North Bay Fire Returns

Reunited with Santa Rosa Teacher After 67 days
Andy the cat bolted in the Santa Rosa October wildfires but is back now.
Andy the cat bolted in the Santa Rosa October wildfires but is back now.

What are the odds? It’s a holiday miracle of sorts that has Santa Rosa teacher Zoe Miller and her family in better spirits in the aftermath of losing their home in the North Bay October wildfires.

After 67 days of wondering if they would ever see their beloved cat Andy again, the Miller family and their feisty feline were reunited Dec. 14, thanks to some good people who are helping North Bay fire victims track down their lost pets. “It was an amazing feeling,” says Zoe. “Our family’s back together.”

“It was an amazing feeling,” says Zoe. “Our family’s back together.”

The cat bolted as a wall of flame approached the Miller’s Carriage Lane house in the Wikiup neighborhood around 1 a.m. Oct. 9. The family quickly and safely fled together: Zoe, her husband Roy, sons Duncan, 13, and Nicholas, 10, and the dogs Zeina and Mahla.

Zoe, a teacher at Piner High School in Santa Rosa, described that terrifying night in this Oct. 27 CTA video that also reveals her dedication to her students – one of the few things she grabbed as she fled the inferno was ungraded students’ homework. Read here about CTA members stepping up in the wake of the fires to help North Bay students and communities heal.

Zoe is stunned that Andy the cat is none the worse for wear, despite two months on the lam in a wooded area where animal predators lurk. “I’m amazed she is still living. We have coyotes. We have foxes.”

She had joined the hundreds of Sonoma County residents using social media to post pictures of their lost pets, hoping against hope. Then, late the night of Dec. 13, the family learned that a rescue group had humanely trapped their cat near Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa, about two miles away from their charred house. The microchip embedded in Andy led to the joyous family reunion the next day.

Santa Rosa teacher Zoe Miller is grateful the family cat Andy has returned.
Santa Rosa teacher Zoe Miller is grateful the family cat Andy has returned.

Andy now prowls the safe confines of the Windsor home the family is renting as they cope with the stress and emotional toll of rebuilding their destroyed house. This happy ending is helping restore the family’s faith in a better future, Zoe says. “It’s a great Christmas present. The kids are so happy.”

“It’s a great Christmas present. The kids are so happy.”

Zoe’s sons Duncan and Nicholas are overjoyed that Andy is back safe and sound.
Zoe’s sons Duncan and Nicholas are overjoyed that Andy is back safe and sound.

One comment

  1. Thank you for this article. However, you only covered half of the story. There is a large contingent of volunteers helping to catch, identify and reunite these furry family members. Many from the fire zone, and many others working in the background from all over North America to match found pictures with lost pictures. I am proud to be one of these, although my role is a bit different. During my vast amounts of down time from my job as a RSP teacher in Sacramento County (insert laughter here) I have been working with the finders in Santa Rosa, when the animals have chips but the information hasn’t been updated. I utilize a database to track other contact information or family members for them. We have been successful with this many times including an animal that the owners had thought died and they had buried, only to find that he was still alive weeks later.

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