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16-year-old cat survives Tennessee tornado while owner was out of town

MADISON, Tenn. (WKRN) — An elderly cat survived a devastating tornado in Tennessee over the weekend and will be reunited with its owner, who was out of town during the storm.

The feline, named Sandy, was found curled up in some bedding near a home in Madison, a Nashville suburb where three people were killed Saturday afternoon in the tornado.

Nashville resident Erica Williams said she was scrolling through Facebook on Sunday when she stumbled upon her friend’s livestream, which showed the storm damage in Madison.

Williams said she noticed an animal in the rubble and zoomed in.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is a little kitty cat!’” she told Nexstar’s WKRN.

She sent messages to her friend, Ricky Sessum, who initially didn’t see the cat. After going back to the home where he filmed his live video, Sessum located the sandy-colored cat and brought it inside his truck.

Williams said Sessum told her the cat was alive but “barely breathing.” So she immediately went to help.

“I just dropped everything I was doing and went out to Madison,” Williams said. “He sent me the location, and I picked up the cat.”

Williams took the cat to Livewell Animal Urgent Care, where the veterinary staff thanked her for spotting the feline.

She was also able to get in touch with the owner, Abi Wells, who said she was in Pigeon Forge and unaware her home had been destroyed in the storm. Williams said Wells was headed home Monday and would pick up Sandy when she got back into town.

“I’m just meant to help people, animals, anything,” said Williams, who is a volunteer for Hands on Nashville, a non-profit that is helping with storm recovery efforts.

“I’m always wanting to help in some way,” she continued. “Just seeing [the cat] curled up…it was just curled in this little ball on this blanket just waiting for its family to come home. And I’m just like, ‘It just needs love and care.’ I didn’t even know if its family was alive. I had a lot of crying yesterday. I just love animals, especially cats.”

Animals, she added, are just “God’s greatest gift to the world.”

Williams found out from the owner that Sandy is 16 years old and has been with his owner his whole life. At the vet clinic, Williams said the staff told her Sandy has some neurological issues affecting his balance, but he is stable and receiving treatment.

Livewell has a Good Samaritan account set up for any animal in need, and those who want to help Sandy or other animals needing care due to the tornado can call the clinic and donate.

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