Cat Missing 28 Days Returns to Site of Home Burned by Wildfire

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Jason and Allison Miller with Tom
Photo, The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett


Tom is back with his family after a weeks long adventure that took him across a charred landscape as he returned to the site of his former home, which burned to the ground in a wildfire on June 11.

The Miller family, Jason and Allison and their daughter Lily, had 45 minutes to collect their four pets and anything else they could get their hands on before evacuating their Colorado Springs, CO home as the Black Forest wildfire advanced toward it on June 11 of this year.  The Millers took Tom the cat, their two dogs, and a turtle with them, getting everyone moved out before the fire completely destroyed the home.

Tom was unhappy staying with Allison’s parents following the evacuation, where the resident cat hissed at him and he was relegated to the basement.  It seemed like a good solution for him when friends said he could stay with them, in their barn.

“We thought he would be safe there for a while and in his element,” Jason Miller told The Gazette. Instead, Tom escaped and disappeared. “I wrote him off. The people who had the barn said there were a bunch of coyotes that lived in the area. And there were no trees for him to hide in.”

Allison had a feeling that Tom was alive, and she didn’t give up on seeing him again.

A friend, Sue Rademacher, put up fliers, and last Sunday a neighbor called and said Tom was under her shed. He had traveled 5 to 6 miles across a fire ravaged landscape to get there.

The Millers spent Sunday and Monday calling for Tom and shaking treat packets but he didn’t emerge or respond. Then, as the family was leaving on Monday, they heard a ‘mrroww,’ and Tom peeked out from under the shed. After another 10 minutes spent coaxing him, Tom came out and flopped down in front of his family.

Back with the family in their temporary rental home, Tom ate his fill and then took a solid nap. He lost weight during his month-long absence but is expected to fill back out to his normal weight soon.

Jason Miller told The Gazette that Tom’s determination to return to his home is inspirational, and said: “Just the fact that he made it for seven years, and then made it through the fire, and then struggled for a month traveling through the trees. It gives us a reason to sit back and smile.

“This is what matters. The connections. His journey brought us to tears and smiles. He did all he could to get back.”



Tom with Lily Miller
Photo, The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett



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