Family reunited with cat after losing home in California fire

Bubs is a five-month-old kitten who made a remarkably fast recovery, likely thanks to his age and good health.


The SPCA for Monterey County, California, was the site of a sweet reunion Monday morning.

A family who lost their home in the Carmel Fire was reunited with one of the cats they were forced to leave behind when they evacuated.

"We left with just the bare essentials and unfortunately not the cats, we couldn't get them," said Claire Nicholson.

Nicholson said the fire was coming down the mountain like a firewall and she had just enough time to gather paperwork before she and her daughter had to flee. Their home is a total loss, but the SPCA for Monterey County was able to locate all three of the Nicholsons' missing cats.

Beth Brookhouser with the SPCA for Monterey County said a firefighter initially found the animals and called the SPCA. Two of the cats were hiding in a burned-out van and one of them, Bubs, was badly burned.

Rescue teams were able to pick up Bubs and the cat he was hiding with, Mango, on the first attempt. A few days later they were able to find the third cat, Griz. Both Griz and Mango have been back with their family for a couple of weeks but Bubs needed extra time to heal.

The kitty had second-degree burns on all four of his paws.

"We have cared for burns of other types, on other parts of animal bodies, dogs and cats, but burned feet are difficult because the animals need to be able to walk," said SPCA veterinarian Elneda Connors.

Connors was able to clean and care for Bubs' paws but he wasn't able to go home right away. He needed daily bandage changes and check-ups with the doctor.

The Nicholsons initially found a temporary place to stay in Gilroy but have since moved back to the area. Now that the family is more settled they were able to pick up the last member of their household, a real joy in what has been an especially difficult time.

"There is nothing worse than losing everything you had and you know our hearts go out to everybody else who has lost their home," said Nicholson.

Bubs is a five-month-old kitten and Connors said he made a remarkably fast recovery likely thanks to his age and good health.

The SPCA for Monterey County sheltered 1,100 pets during the major wildfires this summer and still has 40 in its care.