This story is part of the Believe in Wonders series, from Wondercide, about rescued animals who have miraculously survived and thrived.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy’s tropical-force winds spanned over 1,000 miles and impacted eight countries from the Caribbean to Canada including the U.S. Areas in New York and New Jersey were truly devastated as battering winds and crushing waves caused an enormous amount of property damage and many lives were lost.
As the years pass by, it’s easy for many people to forget the enormity of the storm, but one New York family remembers Hurricane Sandy when they look at their happy and healthy 10-year-old cat who was rescued from that superstorm, who they lovingly named “Sandy.”
One scared little kitten thrown into the storm
As Hurricane Sandy was about to wreak havoc on the New York City area, however, a small kitten, just weeks old, was hiding from it all in a storm-soaked pillowcase that minutes earlier had been thrown onto the sidewalk from a passing car.
It’s hard to imagine how the little kitty was feeling, first from being violently catapulted from a moving vehicle and then finding itself surrounded by a swirling storm, with rain and wind lashing down on her. There’s no doubt she would have perished if left outside for too long, as winds up to 100 mph rattled nearby homes and other structures.
But thanks to the swift actions of an 11-year-old boy and his friend, the little kitten would live to see another day.
An unexpected find
The youngster, Aidan, had been on a playdate with his friend, when both heard a car speeding past, and a group of teenagers yelling out the window.
Curious to know what all the ruckus was about, the pair went outside, and to their surprise, discovered what at first looked like an empty white bag.
“We thought that it was a bunch of old clothes that someone was throwing away,” recalled Aidan, then a sixth grader. But on closer inspection, they could see that something was moving inside.
Peeling back the top of the pillowcase, they discovered a tiny little kitten, whimpering and scared. The first thing they did was to bring her inside. Since there were other pets in the household, it was decided that Aidan would take the stray. He and his sister had been longing for a pet anyway, so it seemed like a pretty good idea.
Bringing the rescued kitten to her new home
When Sandy arrived in her new home, she wasn’t in great shape, recalls Aidan’s mom, Colette. “When we examined her closely, we discovered that she was covered in a mix of fleas and dirt, making her natural sandy-covered coat look gray.” Colette said.
“One of the first things we did was to run out (yes, in the middle of the storm!) and buy flea and tick cleansing shampoo. Next, we gently introduced her to warm water so that we could get the fleas out of her hair. It took a while, but we eventually managed to remove them.”
Wrapped in towels, the family waited for her to acclimate to her surroundings and for her coat to dry. Within a couple of hours, they could tell that she was feeling better, and she was looking better, too.
It was then that the children decided to name her “Sandy” not only because she was rescued on the eve of New York’s worst hurricane, but because once nice and clean, she was quite beautiful, and they felt her name reflected that It would also be a reminder of the way she found her way to them.
Settling in and growing with the family
After a few days and a visit to the vet for a thorough examination and to get her shots, it was evident that Sandy was there to stay and was acclimating quite well.
“We didn’t put her into a cat carrier as we felt that might be too traumatic for her,” Colette recalled.
“Since she fit into a coat-sized pocket at the time, my son decided that was probably the safest place for her during the short ride to the vet’s office. Amazingly, she stayed there!”
As the days and months passed, Sandy took a liking to certain objects around the house and to Colette’s daughter’s room, in particular, where she would knead on the pillows on her bed and sit next to her textbooks while she was studying.
The emotional effects of the superstorm on Sandy
But there were times during those early days when she was also a bit skittish, and understandably so. She had just been through one traumatic experience.
Even to this day, Sandy shies away from attention. “It takes her a while to become comfortable with humans she’s not familiar with, and she can be unfriendly toward children who tend to get very excited when they know we have a cat,” Colette explained.
“Sandy is overall a very happy cat, though, keeping to herself a lot of the time and avoiding Milo, the other cat in the house and the more rambunctious of the two,” added Colette. “In fact, when Sandy is in the mood, she loves a good back or chin rub!”
Sandy’s day-to-day life these days
The now 10-year-old Sandy — considered middle-aged in human years — has slowed up quite a bit and spends much of her time sleeping. She’s often snoozing on top of a large suitcase in the bedroom closet, a new favorite hiding spot.
Sharing the house with the younger Milo, a feisty little Calico, can be annoying for Sandy, Colette said. “I would say that she tolerates Milo, who is a few years younger and has a very different personality,” she added.
But they do get into fights from time to time and despite Sandy’s calm demeanor, Colette said there’s an element to her quiet personality that says, “don’t mess with me.” After all, she knows how to persist.
Sandy’s Faves & Pet Peeves
Favorite toy? Hair ties that Sandy frequently finds and leaves in her food dish.
“Purrfect” moment? Drinking water from the dripping faucet in the bathroom sink and then afterward, rubbing her face up against the medicine cabinet while getting a back massage at the same time!
Favorite activity? After sleeping, whacking around hair ties.
Favorite spot? Hopping into an open drawer full of stuff.
Pet peeve? Getting her nails cut — unless it can be done while she’s sleeping!
Favorite Wondercide product? Wondercide Flea & Tick Shampoo.
Favorite nightly ritual? Spending hours on the windowsill just staring into the darkness.