MAYFIELD, Ky. (WTVF) — A cat in Mayfield survived nine days without food and water after a series of devastating tornadoes ripped across Kentucky.
Maddox, a 9-year-old office cat, went missing after an EF4 tornado hit the city, causing widespread damage.
Sonny "Hoot" Gibson, who owns the business and Maddox, said he saw the catastrophic damage the night the storm hit, but was unable to get to the business on W. Broadway. The office building was destroyed by the tornado.
Gibson and his four children spent the days following the storm helping with cleanup. Gibson said he believes due to all the noise from the cleanup efforts, they couldn't hear Maddox meowing.
After two or three days, Gibson said he gave up hope, thinking it was impossible for the cat to have survived.
On December 19, more than a week after the tornado hit, Gibson said he was going through the rubble by himself, sitting near the area where his desk used to be when he heard a meow.
"Out of the blue, I heard that meow. When I heard it, and I said his name, and I heard it faintly again, I knew it was him," Gibson said. "My knees got so weak, my chest almost got tight. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I’m going to have a heart attack here.' I was blown away."
Gibson put a call out on Facebook for help sifting through the rubble to find Maddox. He and two of his employees searched through the debris, calling the cat's name. Maddox was eventually spotted in a pocket under the rubble unharmed, but scared and shaking.
Maddox was brought back to Gibson's home, where he ate three bowls of food and drank a whole bowl of water. He was given a checkup by a veterinarian, who said Maddox was in good health.
Gibson said many people in Mayfield have been uplifted by Maddox's story of survival. The cat spent his days sitting near the office entrance greeting customers and looking out the window.
"All the customers, they loved him," Gibson said. "A lot of people, they’d walk in the office, you know, over the last ten years and go, 'where’s Maddox?' and I’d say, 'Well he’s in the back,' or 'he’s sleeping somewhere.' He just lived a life of his own and now he’s living that life of his own at my house."
Gibson said Maddox is making himself at home in his house and is "back to his ornery self."