Lost Joplin Tornado Cat Finds Her Family 81 Days Later


Photo of author

By Karen Harrison Binette

JJ was home alone when her family’s house was destroyed in the deadly tornado that leveled much of Joplin MO on May 22. Thanks to a group of dedicated women who continue to search for lost cats, feed them, and watch the lost and found posts, JJ is back with her family, safe and happy once more.

JJ was reunited with her family on August 16 after a meeting was arranged so that petmom Jodi Wundelin-Macaulay could make a positive identification of the cat that rescuers thought they had pinpointed as being JJ. Everyone felt hopeful of the match and had difficulty waiting until early evening when Ms. Macaulay was able to come and see the cat, at which point joy and relief broke out, and hope was strengthened. The joy and relief are petty obvious reactions to be shared by both rescuers and the reunited. Why hope? Every time another cat or dog is reunited with their family hope is renewed that it can happen again.

As we noted when we posted that Ducky had been reunited with his petmom a few weeks ago, tornado cats are known to be hiding and living in the damaged zone. People diligently put out food and water for them, and in certain instances undertake trapping operations. It has been determined that most displaced cats seem to be staying fairly close to “home”, or the spot where home once was. Families who have had to leave Joplin after they lost their homes cannot search on a daily basis, so the work of the volunteers and the community at large is of immeasurable value in keeping lost pets alive and getting them back to their families.

A lady from JJ’s street had been putting out food for both JJ and the woman’s own cat, who was also recently brought back home. In another great rescue tale, the other cat was lured out of hiding by that cat’s best friend, the family dog . The woman who’d been feeding JJ recognized her picture on a lost and found board, then two rescue team members were able to catch JJ and bring her to safety. At that point the ID match was checked and verified so she could be restored to her family.

One rescuer describes JJ as being very sweet, soft and beautiful, even after three months alone, outside in the elements.

Petmom Jodi says “She was the only one home during the tornado and we thought she was lost forever. It made our day. It gave us the Hope we needed to keep going on.” The family, who lost thei home, is just now getting a new home, so JJ has come back at a particulaly meaningful moment.

Jodi goes on to say, “She looks pretty good considering, but she does need to be fattened back up. She leapt for the kids. It’s amazing how fast she settled in. She remembers us and is a very happy kitty. We have had her 10 years and now she won’t let the kids out of her sight.”

With a statement that sums up what it means for many disaster survivors who’ve lost all their belongings and then find a beloved pet,  Jodi simply says “Well we’ll never be back home but we’re together”.

JJ, back with her children

About Author

25 thoughts on “Lost Joplin Tornado Cat Finds Her Family 81 Days Later”

  1. Praise Jesus again~! YOu ladies ROCK~! and I soooo would help you if I lived there…. kitties are special`! JJ’s family must be delighted. God bless you ladies……….. indeed and KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK`! You must be so thrilled when this happens, what a reward~! :*)

  2. Bless Jesus!! God’s special blessings to precious JJ, his family and the lovely ladies!! 🙂

  3. I am glad that the Joplin animals are finding their way home. Thank you to the good people helping them. Such a nice story. Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks for keeping the hopes alive for these tornado victims! JJ, glad you are home again! Please pray for those of us in the eastern US. Irene may be coming for an unwanted visit….

  5. I had a cat missing one time for 2 weeks. Went out everyday looking, knowing he was too smart to get lost.Post his pic all thru the area. He had a habit of getting into utility vehicles, and checking things out. A neighbor told me she had heard a cat crying at night, and had left food out for it. There was a house behind her’s empty. I went searching there, and I could hear a cat crying in the basement. Windows were high up where I couldnt see in, but I stacked up some rocks so I could reach one of the windows covered up. I was able to rip off the plastic and I called my cats name and snapped my fingers. A game we use to play where he would jump for me. When I did it he jumped thru the window and into my arms. You will never know the joy I felt. People had been working on the house and evidently didnt know he was in the basment, and had closed up the window. His name was Kenya and I had him for atleast another 6 yrs before he died. I will always remember the joy I felt that day. Never ever give up.

Leave a Comment