Boatie recalls the amaz­ing story of her cats’ sur­vival on a boat dur­ing TC Deb­bie

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Peter Car­ruthers­ruthers@ whit­sun­day­

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.

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