Survivors Have Something to Be Thankful For

Abe the Miracle Cat Survives in the Ashes


When I saw on my Facebook that Eric Kenney and his partner James Miller had lost everything in the Freeway Complex fire…except one of their two beautiful cats, miraculously surviving after being trapped in the burnt out shell of their former home for more than a day, I was horrified.

I quickly began messaging Eric to see what we could do to help. I shared the photos he posted on my page, sent emails, and began forwarding the information about Abe and how he was continuing to fight for his life while being treated for smoke inhalation and related complications. I called and emailed my fellow board members of ECCO, the leadership of the Orange County Young Democrats, and others including Heather Pritchard (ellinoriane), who I knew had blogged on Daily Kos about beloved pets and had a strong audience.

Living Room

It didn’t take much urging to get everyone involved in helping Eric and James raise money to care for the one cat we knew had survived, Abe. Soon through everyone’s efforts, sympathetic people from all over the country had begun contributing to a special paypal account  or directly to the animal hospital. More than $2500 was raised in the first few days. Other friends gathered clothing, and soon I was handling inquiries from people responding to various calls for assistance and directing them to our two friends in need. All the while, Eric and James were also grieving for their missing Adam…

A Second Miracle


Eric and James told me that they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our physical and virtual communities. They continued to comb the shelter websites for their second cat, Adam, an 8-and-a-half year old male and all they could find was an eerily similar looking photo of a 3 year old female. It wasn’t until they had a converstaion with a former neighbor while they were looking through the rubble that they found out that one of their cats HAD been rescued. Adam survived, and he was misidentified as the younger female.

Apparently, Adam has a set of lungs. His loud meowing (described as screaming) was heard by the firefighters after they had put out the fire. They broke down the door and pulled Adam out. Abe may have been unconscious and was not found or heard at that time.

Medical Bills for Abe Continue to Mount

Please read Eric’s account of their ordeal and the Adam and Abe whose survival defied the odds at the Daily Kos: TheOtherOne1979’s diary. There you can continue to read updates about Adam and Abe’s saga, as well as how their very grateful parents are doing.  I understand that the medical bills are roughly $750-$1000/day for Abe, who has had to live in a special oxygen chamber while on an IV drip with a number of meds being administered to help him fight his way back to health.

Those of you who helped, please add a few more dollars if you can. Those of you who haven’t had the opportunity yet, take a moment and give thanks for whatever you’re doing, wherever you are spending your Thanksgiving holiday, and be grateful that you are not considering how to replace everything you’ve ever owned. Be very thankful you’re not trying to figure out how to pay for the medical bills for the only thing that survived the devastation, your beloved pets (insurance covers their belongings, but apparently not their cats…something wrong with that, but that’s another story). Keep our friends in your hearts tomorrow while you give thanks.

James and Eric have expressed their gratitude that their family has survived…in Eric’s words, “Everything else can be replaced.”

As of today, our community has raised $5500 towards Abe’s medical costs but the bill continues to mount. Plus they have to pay $18 a day for Adam’s room and board (they can’t have Adam stay with them at their temporary hotel residence). The good news is that Abe will soon be moved to a pet hotel, he’s off his IV, will have one more lung xray to be sure everything’s ok, and then he’ll be off to join Adam.

I just spoke to James and he said that if the money raised exceeds their vet bills, they will donate the rest to a group that provides oxygen masks to fire fighting agencies that fit all sorts of animals.

“We’ve read that firefighters often lose pets on scene from smoke inhalation because they cannot get a mask to fit them.” Miller explained. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Please add a little prayer of thanks for two beautiful creatures (Adam and Abe) who continue to brighten the lives of the two nicest guys I know…

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  2 comments for “Survivors Have Something to Be Thankful For

  1. Thanks for the cat story
    November 28, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Any Democratic news? What hapened to Robin?

  2. November 28, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hi there, so glad you were able to help so much!

    I too posted on my blog (twice) and sent to every rescuer I know… which is a bunch: Even out local library cat donated:)

    Thanks for helping them, and the firefighter mask IS a wonderful idea.

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