|A Survival Story|
His story was shared around the country. Six days after a deadly F-5 tornado blasted through Moore, Okla., Jo and Geoff Humann found their beloved cat, Egor, alive among the rubble of what had been their home for the past 12 years. The photo of Jo holding Egor was featured with the story in the Dallas Morning News.
"I had warned family and friends who were helping us search for Egor and pick through the remains of our home that we might find a dead cat because we had not seen Egor since the tornado hit on May 20," explains Jo.
Geoff grew up in Moore and in 2003, the family watched a tornado go ½ mile north of their home. This time, they weren't so lucky.
"Geoff went to pick up our 9 year old son, Garret, from school that day," recalls Jo. "He saw Garret's school get hit. After he found Garret, they came back to find our home destroyed. Our dogs—two miniature schnauzers and an English bulldog—rode out the storm in their kennel. It's amazing that the dogs were not harmed at all. But Egor was nowhere to be found."
Every time the family came to the house, Garret would call Egor's name.
"We searched days and days," says Jo. "Justin, a boy scout from Dallas who came with friends to help us look for Egor, first saw him in his litter box and thought the cat was dead. Egor was under a very solid oak table. The recliner had been pushed up against it and had protected him. Then I saw his tail move. I was so excited!"
After his ordeal, Egor was understandably scared and ran deeper into the rubble.
"We were on our hands and knees trying to get to Egor," smiles Jo. "When we finally were able to grab him, he was in shock and he cried a little bit. He seemed okay but I wanted to be sure so we brought him over to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry's pet triage center."
It was at the triage center, set up at the Home Depot in Moore, that Jo and Egor met Dr. Danielle Dugat, assistant professor of small animal surgery at OSU's Veterinary Medical Hospital. Dugat and several other OSU veterinarians and veterinary technicians were volunteering to help in the aftermath of the violent storm.
"Some animals coming into the triage area were strays Good Samaritans had found wandering. Others, like Egor, were being brought in by worried owners," says Dugat. "At first sight, Egor looked okay. He was severely dehydrated and weak but still alert and looking around."
Dr. Dugat and her colleagues stabilized Egor at the triage center with fluids and brought Egor with them when they returned to Stillwater. Egor was admitted into the veterinary medical hospital for further care at no charge to the family.
Shortly after the tornados struck Oklahoma, Dr. Jean Sander, dean of OSU's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, made the decision to offer veterinary medical services at no charge to the owners. The OSU Animal Relief Fund was established to help offset the cost of the veterinary care that would be provided to the animal tornado victims.
"We took a urine sample and performed blood work," explains Dugat. "We also had our ophthalmologist, Dr. Margi Gilmour, perform an eye exam because of a small amount of discharge coming from his right eye. Egor had a light fever for two days, which could have been caused by upper respiratory issues from being out in the dust and the debris for six days. He wasn't eating well so we gave him an appetite stimulant which helped some. I think he just needs to be home with his family."
On May 31, Egor was reunited with his family.
"We are so happy to have Egor safe," smiles Jo. "We were able to walk away. You can replace material things."
Egor has lived with the Humanns since he was a kitten.
"He picked us," says Jo. "We went to an animal shelter and as I stopped at a cage, the adult cats would hiss at me. Egor was among a litter of kittens not even 6 weeks old. He was just crawling up the side of the cage meowing at me. We have had him all 13 years of his life."
"He's a survivor. The fact that it rained is one of the things that could have helped Egor pull through," adds Dugat.
"We appreciate so much all that OSU has done," says Jo. "This made us complete. We lost our home but our family is still intact."