Fire survivor: Cat rises from ashes after living ‘in ruins’
Having lost her house and worldly possessions from the past 40 years in the Peregian Beach fires last September, 90-year-old Pam Murphy’s main concern was for her missing cat Daisy.
The devoted owner of two felines just made it out with little else but the clothes she was wearing as a fire storm raged through Plover St.
Pam was able to save her precious furball Ellie, but her other cat Daisy appeared to have used up all her nine lives.
But Pam never thought all was lost as she moved in to live with friends nearby in Peregian.
“I used to go over and leave food out and I wasn’t sure if she was getting it or if it was her or what,” Pam said.
However, in a huge lift for Pam’s spirits, the missing-in-action Daisy finally appeared phoenix-like out of the ashes physically in one piece, but highly traumatised.
“We did happen to see her about a month after the fire, she was eating the food but so were the brush turkeys and the goannas too,” Pam said
“She was sort of living in the ruins of the house.
“The wildlife people gave me cages to catch her, but we could never catch her, we caught goannas, but we knew she was around by then.”
Pam believes Daisy was so shaken by her fiery ordeal she would not go near any humans.
“And then she decided all of a sudden ‘oh perhaps I know her’ and eventually I could manage to pat her and once I could get her, I took her straight down to the vet,” she said.
“He said she’s very good considering, she wasn’t burnt or had cut feet on the glass or anything.
“She lived in the house next door which was a holiday house and she stayed there and I put a chair there for her.”
Pam said when her house rebuild started, it was time to put Daisy in a Doonan cattery to avoid her being stressed out by the construction site.
“She’s been in there now nearly seven months,” she said.
Despite Pam’s concerns about how this long confinement might impact her, the word from the Vacation Cat Resort is she and Ellie are doing just fine, with the two socialising and sharing the same food bowl again.
Ellie was reintroduced to Daisy slowly at the cattery a few weeks back to help her adjust for her new home reunion.
Pam will soon be moving back into a similar rebuild of her old home which went up after the raging bushfire broke out at Peregian Springs, fanned by strong winds.
“I get the keys next Wednesday, but I can’t get back in until all the furniture arrives which will be the next week,” Pam said.
“I’m looking forward to it immensely, it will be lovely to be in my own house again and just have some of my original furniture around.”
Pam’s delighted with the restoration work of some of her badly damaged furniture pieces and has been shopping for other household replacements.
“We managed to save the plans of the original house that didn’t get burnt for some strange reason,” she said.
Pam said she recently attended the Peregian Beach community one-year anniversary dinner to raise funds for the local fire brigade and loved talking to all her wellwishers.
Remarkably, she has not been too affected by reliving that perilous night.
“I think I’ve got over it now,” Pam said.
“In the beginning when it happened, I thought ‘well it’s happened, what can I do about it? Absolutely nothing, I’ll just have to grin and bear it’.
“That’s when I decided to rebuild and keep on living here.”
Pam said everyone in Peregian these days seemed to know her.
“Everyone wants to stop and talk, and everyone’s been lovely and kind,” she said.
“It’s amazing how wonderful everyone has been.”
Pam’s last word on her fire experience were: “There’s no point in getting down in the dumps is there? I’ve always been positive and think, ‘well I have to start afresh that’s all I can do now’.”