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Missing Cat Turns Up Three Years after California Disaster


This Dec. 31, 2020 photo provided by Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County shows Patches who had been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, and believed killed along with her owner in the Montecito debris flow disaster.
Missing Cat Turns Up Three Years After California Disaster
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A cat that many believed was killed along with its owner in a huge mudslide has been found three years later. A mudslide is a large mass of wet earth that suddenly and quickly moves down the side of a mountain. The natural disaster happened in January 2018 in the American state of California.

The Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County says someone brought the cat to the organization last month. The animal’s name is Patches. A microchip exam confirmed her identity.

Patches had been missing since January 9, 2018. On that day, a rainstorm near the area of a large wildfire sent a mudslide through hillside neighborhoods of Montecito, about 140 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.

The mudslide killed 23 people, including the cat’s owner Josie Gower. The destruction of the mudslide was so terrible that the bodies of two victims were never found.

The ASAP shelter says Patches was found less than 400 meters from where her Montecito home used to be.

This Dec. 31, 2020 photo provided by Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County shows Patches who had been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, and believed killed along with her owner in the Montecito debris flow disaster is seen at the Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Patches a calico was brought in as a stray last month and a microchip scan revealed her identity. (Jillian Title/Animal Shelter Assistance Program via AP)
This Dec. 31, 2020 photo provided by Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County shows Patches who had been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, and believed killed along with her owner in the Montecito debris flow disaster is seen at the Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Patches a calico was brought in as a stray last month and a microchip scan revealed her identity. (Jillian Title/Animal Shelter Assistance Program via AP)

She was reunited with Gower’s partner, Norm Borgatello, on December 31.

“Though we don’t know exactly what she’s been doing with her life for the past three years, we can see that both Patches and Norm are thrilled to be reunited,” the shelter said in a Facebook post.

Last week, a live online ceremony was held to remember the 23 victims on the third anniversary of the mudslide. The deadly event has come to be known as the “1/9 Debris Flow.”

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English based on a report from the Associated Press. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in This Story

reunitedv. brought together again especially after having been apart for a long time

thrilledadj. extremely pleased and excited

debrisn. the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed

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