One of the most celebrated survivors of October’s Tubbs fire, an 8-year-old silver Persian cat named Midori, looked remarkably fit and calm Sunday at the 30th annual Call of The Wild Cat Show in Santa Rosa, making her first public appearance since the disaster.
Midori’s owner, Sally Daniels, a longtime professional breeder of purebred Persian cats, was in Hawaii visiting family when fire destroyed her Wikiup home, killing 19 of her 20 cats and leaving Midori the sole survivor.
“We think she crashed through a window to save herself,” Daniels said. “There was broken glass and she had a cut on her belly.”
That feat, as well surviving several surgeries during a monthlong stay at UC Davis, earned Midori the title “Miracle Fire Kitty.” That’s also the name of her Facebook page, which currently has nearly 200 followers.
Despite losing three toes to her burns and suffering scars to her belly and her left eyelid, Midori has survived with her thick white fur intact.
“She’s so beautiful,” said Ronni Sweeney of Rohnert Park, one of many who stopped by Midori’s cage Sunday at the cat show. “I love her personality.”
Not all of the thousand or so cat lovers attending the Sonoma County Fairgrounds the second and final day of the cat show had heard of Midori in advance, but the poised and patient feline drew a steady stream of sympathetic visitors.
Midori’s treatments, which are ongoing, have been expensive, costing as much $1,900 for one foot operation, Daniels said. Donations have come from a UC Davis fund established to aid animals injured the in North Bay wildfires, Persian and Himalayan Cat Rescue and individual cat lovers.
Visitors to the cat show also contributed, said Kathleen Lawton, Call of the Wild Cat Fanciers secretary, but the total wasn’t available Sunday.
Daniels, 71, is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, diagnosed in the weeks preceding the fire.
With their home gone, she and her husband Richard have realized they can’t afford to rebuild in Sonoma County and plan to move next month to a house they’ve bought in Cameron Park west of Placerville.
After three decades as a cat breeder under the business name Shaded Knoll, Daniels also has decided to retire.
“I don’t need to do that anymore,” she said. “It’s too hard starting our lives over and doing that, too. I’ll just have a few pet kitties.”
As founder and president of Call of the Wild Cat Fanciers, she didn’t want to miss the weekend cat show and thought it was important for supporters to see how well Midori is recovering.
“She’s a champion,” Daniels said.
“You can see it in her face.”
While Midori was the star of the cat show Sunday, she wasn’t the only cat, with breeds including Abyssinian and Bengal on display, and cats available for purchase or adoption.
And for those dedicated to keeping their pets happy and comfortable, there was a full line of cat-related merchandise on sale at the Call of the Wild Cat Fanciers’ annual fundraiser, from toys to cat beds to cat-owner accessories like feline-themed tote bags and shirts.