October 4, 2023

By Mark Theissen | Related Press

ANCHORAGE, ALaska — A pair of Alaska academics wanted excellent news after they misplaced almost all their possessions when their home collapsed right into a river swollen by a glacial-outburst flood and their cat went lacking.

Elizabeth Wilkins was holding onto hope that if any animal would survive the home falling into the Mendenhall River on Aug. 5, it could be Leo, the couple’s resilient big-eyed, black-and-white cat who exhibits no worry of bears.

“I knew that he’s fairly sensible, and so I felt fairly assured that he would escape and be OK someplace,” she stated.

That religion paid off 26 days after the flood when Tonya Mead posted a posted of Leo to the Juneau Group Collective Fb web page. Wilkins instantly knew it was Leo, the “COVID kitten” they rescued in 2020. She rushed to satisfy Mead.

“I simply began strolling down the road calling for him, and he simply ran out and was like, ‘Oh hey, right here I’m, you recognize, like, the place have you ever been?’ ” she stated.

The river flooding was attributable to a significant launch of water from Suicide Basin, a Mendenhall Glacier -dammed lake in Juneau, that eroded the river financial institution.

Wilkens and her accomplice, Tom Schwartz, moved into the house shortly earlier than the flood hit, however they had been away on a mountain biking journey to Bend, Oregon.

Buddies referred to as and despatched movies, warning their home was at risk of being washed away.

Finally, a number of houses had been destroyed or partially destroyed, with others condemned or flooded. Not one of the destruction was as well-known as the home being rented by Wilkins and Schwartz, with video of it collapsing into the river going viral.

The couple returned to Juneau three days later to kind out new residing preparations and to search for Leo.

They returned to the positioning of the home, calling out Leo’s title and leaving meals for him within the hen coop.

By then, it appeared like everybody in Juneau was searching for him. There have been loads of sightings of Leo, however Wilkins stated it seems that there are simply many black-and-white unhoused cats in Juneau.

When he did flip up, he gave the impression to be in good well being.

“Leo was slightly thinner, however in any other case completely advantageous,” Wilkins stated. “He ate 4 cans of tuna and went exterior to kill a mouse. I think about that’s how he survived.”

She stated it’s superb to have Leo again, although he at the moment is staying with a buddy whereas they search for one other place to dwell.

“It’s tremendous joyful as a result of everybody of their neighborhood was searching for him, and it’s good to have some excellent news,” she stated.

And similar to Leo, a few of their different possessions are discovering their manner again to them, however not in pretty much as good of situation because the cat.

“Individuals have been discovering some issues, like a few of our garments and footage had been in 4 toes (1.22 meter) of silt in somebody’s yard down the Mendenhall River,” Wilkins stated.