Family cat missing after fires
The recent Knysna fires have been filling the news with tragic stories of deaths, great losses and terrible destruction. The repercussions were just as severe.
When having to evacuate their home, most people would take things that are most dear to them and easy to carry. In the case of Knysna Terrace guesthouse owner Maureen Barnard, this was her laptop, cellphone, handbag – and the 13-year-old family cat Musu.
“My mom phoned me at 18:00 on Wednesday. She was frantic. They were being evacuated from their fully booked guesthouse where they also lived – a house full of all their belongings, things that money can never replace. I told her to take the cat first,” their daughter, Antoinette Nicolaou, told the George Herald.
By this time Barnard was already outside with a hysterical Musu. “She was frightened. Screaming and scratching. We had no choice but to put her in a police van while our guests were evacuating. We had no time to grab her carrier or any other belongings,” Barnard said. “We lost everything.” Once the guests were evacuated Barnard went back to fetch Musu, but the policeman already drove away.
“Since that evening we have been trying to find Musu and the policeman. When we finally got hold of the policeman, who is from George, he said there was no cat in his van. We can now only assume that someone had opened the vehicle’s door and she jumped out,” she said. “In the meantime, my parents’ guesthouse is burned down. The devastation of losing everything, and even more so not knowing where our beloved cat is, is unbearable at times. You move between hope and heartache several times a day.” Musu was last seen outside Ar’Deco guesthouse in Old Cape Road, Knysna, on Thursday 15 June.
The family has not stopped looking for her. “We have put her picture and story on various Facebook forums for missing animals. We have hired people with years of experience working with cats, arranged a mass prayer and even contacted a psychic who works with the police to find missing persons.
“We will not stop looking until we find her. We will not give up on her.”
Several animal welfare organisations from across the Garden Route assisted in finding and relocating pets after the fire.
* If you have seen Musu, or know where she might be, please phone 082-447-7767.
Knysna Terrace guesthouse was one of the many buildings in Knysna destroyed by the raging fire on June 7. Musu, the owners’ 13-year-old cat, went missing during their evacuation from the guesthouse. Her family has not stopped searching for her.