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Cat thought to have died in the California fires last year is reunited with its family

Cat thought to have died in California fires reunited with his family cat-happy
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It was an emotional day when Dexter, a black cat was reunited with its family. They thought he had died in the horrendous California fires.

By Dawn Parrish

Published on the 11/03/2019, 16:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:51

It was certainly a tear-jerking moment when Dexter, a very lucky black cat was handed over to his owners, Paul and Sandra Ritchie. During the deadly fires in Paradise, California last November, the Ritchies had to quickly evacuate their home as the fires were spreading closer. They managed to scoop up their three other cats, but in the panic and hurry, couldn’t locate their black cat, Dexter.

Cat presumed to have died in the California fires

As the fire rampaged through their home, the family had to vacate the area and presumed that Dexter had perished in the blaze. The horrific fires claimed the lives of 88 humans and many pets. Even to date, many animals are still missing, with upwards of a thousand cats still not located.

Dexter the black cat, belonging to the Ritchie family, certainly had a guardian angel. He somehow managed to escape from the burning home and survived for around 103 days by himself. He was spotted and picked up by Field Haven Feline Rescue Center, during their searches of the devastated landscape. Luckily, the cat was microchipped and the rescuers were able to contact Paul and Sandra and tell them the good news.  

Lucky cat is reunited with its family

As the Ritchies have since located to Defiance, Missouri, Dexter had to be flown out to them for a great reunion. They waited patiently at the airport for him to arrive, delivered in the safe hands of his rescuers, the Field Haven Feline Rescue Center. One of their volunteers, Leslie Zaletel, handed over the cat who they thought had died in the California fires, to his joyful owners. Sandra Ritchie couldn’t help but sob as she held her beloved cat for the first time in around five months.

Here is hoping that many more pets that have been displaced during the California fires are reunited with their owners very soon.


Dexter is getting ready to go back to his family in St. Louis. #CampFire #CampFireCats Alley Cat Allies

Posted by FieldHaven Feline Center on Friday, March 8, 2019