Shell-shocked cat reunited with family 11 months after Knysna fire

18 May 2018 - 14:04 By Petru Saal
Kietsie before she went missing during last year's Knysna fires, when the family fled to George. Now she's home.
Kietsie before she went missing during last year's Knysna fires, when the family fled to George. Now she's home.
Image: Supplied

Shell-shocked‚ missing a tooth and a lot thinner‚ a cat that went missing when its family fled the devastating fires in Knysna 11 months ago has been reunited with his owner.

Kietsie is finally home.

When the fires broke out in the coastal town on June 7‚ Nina de Beer packed and left her home.

“Very early that day I decided to start packing. I was warned that the fire might come our way‚” she said. “I wasn’t going to wait it out so I started to pack. We went to my ex’s house: three rats‚ two dogs‚ two cats‚ three children‚ myself and my partner.”

The family then moved to the Knysna Yacht Club‚ because they were told it was the safest place to be. As the fires engulfed the town‚ they went to nearby Sedgefield.

“At midnight we went to Sedgefield because it was starting to burn everywhere in Knysna. Two days later the fires started to approach Sedgefield so we had to go again.

“We went to George to stay at a family member’s house. This is where Kietsie went missing.”

De Beer and her family searched high and low for the missing feline. Months passed. “I put up posters everywhere I could think of‚ at the vet and at shops. Everywhere I could. I put some of the pamphlets in post boxes in neighbourhoods. Everywhere imaginable. I searched on various Facebook pages whether someone had spotted Kietsie but nothing.”

The breakthrough came when De Beer was tagged in a Facebook post about a stray cat in George that had a striking resemblance to Kietsie.

“The lady had spotted him for two months in the area. She had managed to take him in‚ caring for and feeding him.”

On Thursday‚ De Beer was reunited with Kietsie. She described it as a very emotional moment. “You are so desperate. You do anything to get your animal back. I felt so bad over the months that I lost him. I started to give up that I would ever find him but the animal communicator said I should continue [to send] love and positive thoughts to him.

“It was so traumatic seeing him again. You expect the same animal but he is so shell-shocked. He lost so much weight and lost a tooth also in these 11 months. It will take a long time for him to get back to his normal self again. But I am very happy that he is back home.”