WISCONSIN – Patty Johnston was just out visiting relatives Aug. 10 when she heard her Sheboygan Falls apartment building had caught fire — and her very first thought was of her cat.
“My biggest concern was the cat. I knew everything was probably going to be destroyed, but I just wanted my cat,” she explained. “The first thing I did when (firefighters) took me up there was scream for him. Usually when I call him he comes, but he never came out.”
Johnston’s apartment was one of a total of eight that were damaged during a fire at the apartment complex on Happy Lane.
Johnston, who is 77, had received the cat, an apricot tabby named Charlie, from her daughter 10 months ago.
“The reason I love that cat,” she stated, “is because my husband passed away two and a half years ago and I needed someone to come and greet me when I open the door. That’s what the cat does.”
Almost an entire week after the fire, crews working in the building made a discovery in Johnston’s apartment.
“They called and said ‘your cat is sitting on your bed waiting for you,’ ” Johnston stated.
Johnston, who has been staying in a hotel since the fire, picked up the cat and immediately took it over to a local veterinarian to be checked out.
Charlie was in very rough shape.
“A lot of his hair was singed — and his little paws,” Johnston stated. “He was dehydrated and hadn’t eaten. They didn’t know if he would make it through the night.”
Charlie remained in the animal clinic on Calumet Drive in Sheboygan for several days and made fast progress. Johnston said he still seems a little traumatized but is making progress every day.
“Every day he’s getting a little better and his eyes are clearer,” she noted.
The hotel where Johnston is staying does not allow cats, so 5-year-old Charlie will be temporarily staying with Johnston’s daughter until she can find a new apartment.
“I’m pretty darn excited every time I go see him,” Johnston concludes: “I can’t wait to get settled in somewhere so we can resume somewhat of a normal life.”