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Joplin Tornado: Woman Finds Cat Alive in Home's Debris 16 Days Later

The moment of joy is captured as Terrla Cruse finds the cat she thought was lost forever, on the day she made her final visit to the debris piled site where her home once stood.

Terrla Cruse, husband J.E., and the family dog all made it to safety in the cellar of their home one minute before a deadly, destructive tornado struck Joplin MO on May 22. The family’s two cats were not so lucky. Afterward, the house was destroyed, one cat had died, and 13 year old Laverne was missing. After a couple of visits to the Joplin Humane society’s tornado pets clearinghouse facility met with no luck the family assumed they would never see their other cat again.

This Tuesday, June 7, Terrla and her sister made one final trip to the debris pile where the Cruse home once stood. 5 minutes after Terrla’s sister in law raised the quetion on the phone – What would you do if you heard meowing? – the two sisters heard meows. After initially thinking that a neighbor’s cat was nearby they realized the sounds were coming from the rubble. They searched a while and, when the meowing stopped, feared they had stepped on the wrong spot and crushed the trapped cat. Terrla is quoted in the Joplin Globe saying  “I said a little prayer and said ‘please meow one more time’” and few minutes later they heard the cat meow again and Laverne was discovered under some debris.

Laverne has been to the vet and other than being hungry and dehydrated she is fine.

What does this mean to the woman who lost almost everything, then found her missing cat?  The pictures, taken by her sister Suzy, tell that more than words ever could.

Sources, Joplin Globe, KOAM7 TV. Photos Suzy Hoskins, Terrla’s sister.




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48 comments

  • June 9, 2011 8:05 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Photo Cache

    Thank heavens.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 8:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Helen Maguire

    That’s the best pic ever!!!! poor cat looks so thin, hurray for happy endings,

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 8:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Kathy Miller Bigenho

    miracles do happen, so happy that kitty was found alive and well after all the devastation and trauma, the expression on the ladies face speaks volumns.

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    June 9, 2011 8:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Yolanda Lira Isaacs

    that is so awesome!!!!!! YAY for Laverne!!!!!! =)

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    June 9, 2011 8:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sonia Black

    God bless her little heart! I am so happy for you. I know my cats are my babies and couldn’t imagine going through what you have.

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    June 9, 2011 8:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Heather

    Brought tears to my eyes. Sorry about the loss of one of your cats and your house. I’m sure finding her helps some.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 8:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Suzanne Hazuka

    Great story!! Thanks so much for posting this and am so happy that she found her sweet little Laverne!! She looks so very happy and Laverne is very lucky that her mommy was so persistent!!

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    June 9, 2011 8:17 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marianella Loyd

    I can imagine how she felt… whenever I hear the tornado sirens the first thing i do is get my kitties and mouse and lock them in the basement… God bless her and the kitty with a happy life together!!!

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    June 9, 2011 8:19 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Carole A. McIntyre

    This makes me so happy. Thank you for posting this.

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    June 9, 2011 8:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Cleo Porter

    I read your story and cried with joy that you found Laverne but cried at your loss for your other kitty. I’m a kitty momma of 5 and live in Arkansas where all those storms/tornadoes came through and worried most about my babies too. I’m so happy for you to be reunited with Laverne and hope for many more years together!

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  • June 9, 2011 8:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Lisa Bober

    How wonderful! I’m so glad the kitty is ok!

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    June 9, 2011 8:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sherry Morgenweck

    those pics brought happy tears to my eyes! hurray for Laverne and her Mommy!!!!

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    June 9, 2011 8:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Cec Dennis-Lelean

    Never, ever give up :)

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    June 9, 2011 8:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Cec Dennis-Lelean

    Never, ever give up :)

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    June 9, 2011 8:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Tammy

    Praise the Lord in Heaven above~! LOVE LOVE LOVE the look on her face, ABSOLUTE PURE DELIGHT~! I’d be in tears of joy, in fact I was when my cat decided to come home after running out the door and being gone for 5 days~! Tears of pure joy~!
    I do hope she takes him/her to the vet though, that’s along time, dehyrdration, etc…….. poor thing, looks okay and I hope she/he sure is~!

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      June 9, 2011 8:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Tammy

      Oops, saw that Laverne did get to a vet and was just dehyrdrated and hungry, at age 13, poor baby must have been pretty terrified~!

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    June 9, 2011 8:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Pam Keltz

    Her expressions are absolutely priceless….you can see the gleem in her eyes. I’m so sorry that the other kitty didn’t make it. :(

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    June 9, 2011 8:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Pam Keltz

    Her expressions are absolutely priceless….you can see the gleem in her eyes. I’m so sorry that the other kitty didn’t make it. :(

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    June 9, 2011 8:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Vandita Diwakar

    :’)

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    June 9, 2011 8:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Vandita Diwakar

    :’)

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 9:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Joyce Yoho

    What a great story. Thanks for posting it.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 9:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Joyce Yoho

    What a great story. Thanks for posting it.

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    June 9, 2011 9:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Kerry

    Wonderful photos, made me cry, Our thoughts are with you even as far away as Melbourne Australia.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 9:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Delores Hamilton

    Such an amazing story.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 9:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Delores Hamilton

    Such an amazing story.

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    June 9, 2011 9:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marie Martin Anders

    happy tears for me, too!

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    June 9, 2011 9:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marie Martin Anders

    happy tears for me, too!

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    June 9, 2011 9:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chiara Nocchi Hatch

    So wonderful!!:)

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    June 9, 2011 9:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chiara Nocchi Hatch

    So wonderful!!:)

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    June 9, 2011 9:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Gina Prinkey-Bowles

    Absolutely heart touching!

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    June 9, 2011 9:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Gina Prinkey-Bowles

    Absolutely heart touching!

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    June 9, 2011 9:16 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Donna

    Oh I bet Laverne was more happy to see her Momma than her Momma was to see her!!!! God took you there on that day just to find her and bring her home to you!!! I’m sorry for your the loss of your other cat and your home but finding Laverne has to mean the world to you!!!! God Bless ALL!!!

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    June 9, 2011 9:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
    David Gomez

    Thanks for your site. I love the heartwarming stories and videos that are shared on this site.

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    June 9, 2011 9:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
    David Gomez

    Thanks for your site. I love the heartwarming stories and videos that are shared on this site.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 9:27 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Ron Leikam

    It is so nice to hear such stories come in the wake of tragedy.

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    June 9, 2011 10:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Cory Sisk

    I love these kinds of stories! Bless them!

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 10:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Autumn Magee

    Im so happy for her!

    Reply
  • June 9, 2011 10:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Lydia Edwards Adams

    So happyyyy!! Yayy!!!

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    June 10, 2011 2:03 amPosted 3 years ago
    Jan Gregg-Kelm

    How wonderful!

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    June 10, 2011 8:05 amPosted 3 years ago
    doreen

    absolutely bloody brilliant!!

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    June 10, 2011 1:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Tonya M. Huber

    what a miracle!

    Reply
  • June 12, 2011 6:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
    cate

    So FANTASTIC!!! and what lovely happy pics!

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    June 16, 2011 1:13 amPosted 3 years ago
    sandy

    these kind of storys are touch and to the heart it makes me want to cry i am so glad she has her cat..

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    June 16, 2011 8:28 amPosted 3 years ago
    Linda

    ….tears of joy….

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    July 28, 2011 2:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Crystal

    This brought tears to my eyes, I don’t know what I would do without my cat. She has been here with me though everything and loves me no matter what. I feel so happy for both her and her cat and their reunion.

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    August 3, 2011 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Beth

    God bless them! That’s an amazing story that brought tears to my eyes for sure. Pets just bring so much joy in our lives – what a shame the cats couldn’t make it to the basement, but then, they don’t like to come when called! So glad her cat survived the trauma. I am sure the cat will stick pretty close to them from now on.

    Reply
  • December 28, 2011 10:30 amPosted 2 years ago
    peggy

    ohhh im sooo glad for mom & kitty! soo reliveved for kitty!!!! :) !THK GOD!!!!

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    May 22, 2012 12:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Río M.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your home. At least Laverne was reunited w/ you against all odds, & I hope that brought some consolation. God bless people like you & your moggy!

    Reply

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