KITTY’S CYCLONE TALE
Boatie recalls the amazing story of her cats’ survival on a boat during TC Debbie
ONE year ago last week a frail and confused tabby was found at Shute Harbour after its floating home slipped its moorings and was forced ashore by the cyclonic winds of Cyclone Debbie.
A second cat that rode out the storm on a 36-foot yacht was later pulled from the wreckage and delivered into the loving hands of his owner, Ruth Muller.
Their survival is nothing short of miraculous.
Especially considering that Sharkie and Amber never got along.
Ms Muller recalls an instance before the cyclone when Amber took a swipe at Sharkie who was catapulted over the side and into the ocean.
Later rescued with the help of friendly neighbour and a fishing net, Ms Muller said “If Sharkie could talk and tell us what he has been through the story would be amazing”.
As Cyclone Debbie approached the Whitsundays, the two cats became stuck on the boat.
It became too rough to retrieve them once Ms Muller had left her yacht on the Sunday before Debbie hit.
“They stayed onboard and there was plenty of food but when it crashed... the boat ended up upside down and smashed to smithereens,” she said.
“You have no idea what the inside of my boat looked like after the cyclone.
“Everything inside got mangled, the timber work, everything. And if I had have been on it I don’t know what would have happened.
“I am actually amazed the cats survived.”
Enter Facebook user, Coralee Katsadoros, who came across Sharkie the cat by the side of the road at Shute Harbour and posted an online alert.
Through the power of social media Ms Muller was identified as the owner but couldn’t take delivery of Sharkie as she had been forced into the emergency cyclone shelter at the Whitsunday PCYC.
It was a month before Ms Muller, Sharkie and Amber were back together under the one roof in Cannonvale.
But it wasn’t long before the intrepid Sharkie took off and amazingly managed to find his way back to the family who owned him before Ms Muller.
“He just turned up at their door step as if he had lived there all his life,” she said.
Cyclone Debbie brought a seven-year cruising life aboard Safari 5 to an abrupt end for Ms Muller, Sharkie and Amber and, though all lives were spared, the cyclone’s legacy could not be forgotten.
“After the cyclone I got really really sick,” she said.
“The paramedics couldn't take me to hospital because it was chockers so they took me down to the medical centre that had just opened in Centro.
“I had the most revolting cough. And can you imagine sleeping in a big room (at the PCYC cyclone shelter) and coughing your lungs out?
“I had to move my bed out of the dormitory around the corner and away from everyone else so I didn’t keep them awake at night.”
Twelve months on from the cyclone Ms Muller said she was grateful she and her cats survived the storm but she did “miss the boat”.
But when asked if Ms Muller would buy another boat to live on, without too much hesitation the 72-year-old answered “no”.
Ruth Muller’s yacht Safari 5 waiting to be broken up at Edge’s Boatyard this week.