Dexter the Cat reunited with family after Camp Fire, all the way in Missouri

FieldHaven Feline Center estimates at least 1000 cats are still needing to be trapped and reunited with their owners. They share the story of Dexter the cat, and his reunification.

Posted: Mar. 9, 2019 11:21 AM
Updated: Mar. 9, 2019 11:41 AM

PARADISE, Calif. - A tiny Camp Fire survivor is back home following an emotional reunion with its grateful humans. Dexter the cat's home though, is now in Missouri.

That is where Paul and Sandra Ritchie moved after losing their home in Paradise. Missouri is where they were reunited Friday with their beloved pet, Dexter.

Reporter Angela Greenwood caught the reunion on video. Amongst tears and alot of hugs Paul and Sandra Ritchie embraced their cat, lost for four months. They were certain they would never see Dexter again. 

As of Friday, Dexter is back in their arms after flying from Sacramento to St. Louis.  The Ritchie's spoke to Greenwood over the phone Thursday as they anxiously waited for Dexter's arrival.

"It's gonna be unbelievable. I think I'm gonna just stand there and cry and want to hug him.," they said.

The couple lost their home in November's Camp Fire and in the rush to evacuate could only find three of their four cats. Dexter was still inside the home, but at some point managed to escape.

The FieldHaven Feline Center in Lincoln helped bring Dexter back to his family, which was pretty easy thanks to a microchip.

Leslie Zalatel was the rescuer who trapped Dexter in the burn zone. "He was found about a mile away from his home," she said. She was with Dexter on his flight to Missouri Friday.

Surviving the Camp Fire, and then living 102 days alone in the burn zone was quite an ordeal.

"I never thought I'd see Dexter again," his family exclaimed.  

Dexter the cat may have used up a couple of lives on this journey.

Now the Camp Fire cat survivor starts a new one -- joining his owners and three feline siblings in their new home in Missouri. 

200 cats rescued  from the Camp Fire by the organization in Lincoln are still waiting to be reunited with their families.

It is estimated that there could still be up to a thousand cats waiting to be rescued from the Camp Fire.

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