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"Flame" The Coal Seam Fire Cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
From the Glenwood Post Independent(Glenwood Springs, Colorado):

“Flame†is a short-haired black cat at the moment, but Dr. Judi Leake thinks longer hair might have saved the cat in the Coal Seam Fire.
“We’ve found some longer hairs, and think this is a long-hair cat,†the veterinarian explained as she stroked the recently named Flame. “She was burned all over. Had she been a short hair cat, I think it (the fire) would have burned her skin.â€
Dr. Leake owns Red Hill Animal Health Center in Carbondale. She said Carbondale teenager T.J. Graf brought in Flame after a firefighter found her in the burned-out part of Robin Hood Trailer Park, four days after the fire.
Leake said she’s no fire expert, but she speculates the fire flashed over the cat.
Flame was in pretty bad shape when she was found. Her paw pads were burned red and raw. Her ear tips were burned to the skin, her whiskers were burned off, and the corneas in her eyes were damaged. Flame was also dehydrated and in pain.
“She was in trouble,†Leake said. “If she’d been out another night, she’d have been in serious shape.â€
Flame arrived at Red Hill at about 7:30 p.m. on June 12. Leake put her on fluids, pain medication and antibiotics. She also bandaged Flame’s white paws. Leake said Graf was first going to take Flame to the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter at Spring Valley, but it was closed.
“I said, ‘Bring her to the clinic,’†Leake said.
The next morning, Graf suggested Flame be taken up to the shelter, but Leake vetoed the idea in a friendly way.
“I said ‘No.’ We want to contribute something. Plus she needed nonstop veterinary care, which we were happy to give,†Leake said.
Now, Flame moves about easily in her cage.
Flame’s paw bandages came off on Thursday, and she could go home Monday — if her owner can be found.
If not, here’s a little more about Flame, who in a previous life might have answered to Joni (as in Mitchell), Nashville (as in the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Nashville Catsâ€), or Watch Me Eat.
“She eats when you watch her ... or put a finger in her bowl,†Leake said, as she moved around bits of dried food and Flame nibbled.
Leake and Flame are getting along pretty well. “She’s so sweet,†Leake said as Flame arched her back and stretched.
Leake said Flame is about a year old, or maybe 18 months, and isn’t a feral cat. For one thing, Flame uses her litter box, “And she’s way too sweet to be a feral,†Leake said.
Flame is expected to make a full recovery, although it will take a few months for her whiskers to completely grow back.
“She needs her whiskers back, but they’ve grown some already,†Leake said.
Rubbing Flame’s tummy, Leake said she isn’t sure how much weight Flame put on in her 10 days of relative inactivity.
“But look at this stomach,†Leake said proudly. “She’s plumping out here.â€
post #2 of 10
What a heartwarming story.

:angel2: Everyone is entitled to their own guardian angel.

G. and Whiskers
post #3 of 10
Cats are amazing critters. You go Flame girl!
post #4 of 10
How sweet!! I'm glad they were able to help her.
post #5 of 10
Glad to hear Flame is well taken care of. I wonder if her owners will ever find her?
post #6 of 10
I am SO glad Flame survived this!!!!

My husbands sister and her hubby had a horrible fire about a month ago at their home, and their cat didn't get burned, thank god, but he suffered smoke inhilation, they had a picture of the house on fire, and the fireman giving the cat oxygen on the front page of their newspaper after it happened. The cat (Buddy) is okay though.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
*UPDATE*!!!! (From the Post-Independent once again)

Flame, the black cat who barely survived in the Coal Seam Fire, is ready to start life No. 2 with his rightful owner.
Dr. Judi Leake said the owner didn’t leave his name when he picked up his cat, but he’s a middle-aged man who was happy and grateful to get Flame back.
“He said he’d lost everything, but that he can work more hours and buy more furniture, but not another cat,†Leake said. “He had a really good energy and spirit.â€
Flame was so named after firefighters found him in the debris at Robin Hood Trailer Park in West Glenwood three days after the Coal Seam Fire erupted.
Carbondale teenager T.J. Graf was helping firefighters at the trailer park when some kids pointed out Flame.
“He couldn’t open his eyes,†Graf said. “He was in pretty bad shape.â€
Graf brought Flame to Leake’s Red Hill Animal Health Center in Carbondale, where he was treated for severe burns to his ear tips and paws, plus dehydration. “If he’d been out another night, he’d have been real trouble,†Leake said.
The road for Flame from Carbondale to her owner then took a zig-zag, with a missed connection along the way.
Leake said the owner called her clinic soon after the fire, but was told the cat was a female, due to some misunderstandings in the office.
After a newspaper article about Flame appeared with a picture in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on June 21, the owner called again. By then, the folks at Red Hill were on the same page as to Flame’s gender.
On Monday, the owner’s girlfriend and another woman came to Red Hill to make sure the cat was Flame. “It was definitely their cat,†Leake said.
Later in the day, the owner appeared. “He was crying, he was so happy,†Leake said.
Employees at Red Hill gave Flame his name after was first brought in. It’s a name he’ll keep, after a fashion.
“His real name is Sylvester ... but now it’s Sylvester the Flame,†Leake said.
Although Sylvester the Flame is now with his owner, there was never much doubt he’d end up with a home. “Three or four people called to adopt him,†Leake said.

post #8 of 10
Hearing this just brightened up my day! Thanks for the update Jin.
post #9 of 10
I love happy endings!

Glad it turned out well.
post #10 of 10
That's a wonderful story. Thanks, Jin for brightening my day! I'm so grateful that Sylvester, the Flame and his owner are together! They're both winners.
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