During Hurricane Ike, Texas Went to the Cats

By Yul

No one knows if Shackle, the 11-year-old lioness, thanked God for saving one of her nine lives during Hurricane Ike on September 15-16. But she took a fancy to His altar at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Beach, Texas, after spending the night there with a bunch of humans.

Did Shackle find religion? (Photo - Tony Gutierrez, AP)

Did Shackle find religion? (Photo - Tony Gutierrez, AP)

Shackle and her owner, Michael Ray Kujawa, were trying to drive to higher ground when they got caught in rising floodwaters on the Bolivar Peninsula. The media reported that Shackle was a zoo animal, but a commenter in the Dallas News who claimed to know the cat said Shackle is actually a pet, tame enough for occasional outings at the beach.

That would certainly explain her pious behavior in church. After humans helped Shackle calmly wade into First Baptist, they apparently had second thoughts and locked her in a sanctuary. At one point, the water inside the church got waist-deep, but they said Shackle remained cool as a cucumber.

Makes you wonder if maybe Shackle should have locked them up for their own safety.

When the worst was over, they let Shackle out and fed her roast pork so she wouldn’t try snacking on People Chow before the National Guard arrived with supplies. The only time they were reminded who’s still Queen of the Jungle was when Shackle allegedly snarled at some Guardsmen who were gawking at her from the choir loft.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, a tiger escaped from an exotic pets center was wandering around. Last word was that no one’s trying too hard to catch him because they think he’s hungry.

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6 Responses to During Hurricane Ike, Texas Went to the Cats

  1. Deb says:

    Hadn’t heard this story, thanks for sharing. Man and beast can coexist together, in any conditions.

  2. catsworking says:

    If Shackle has been a regular at the beach, she probably thought all that water was no big deal. Who knows? Maybe she’ll show up again at that church one Sunday to be baptized!

  3. Debra Z says:

    My cousin owns the lion and he raised her from a cub. He also owns the tiger that had escaped. He raised the tiger as well. The last I heard, all of them were being rescued.

  4. catsworking says:

    Debra, thanks so much for writing! Shackle seems like such a nice cat, we felt sure she was more than a mere “zoo animal.” We’ve also been worried about the stray tiger and hoped no news was good news (as opposed to “Escaped Tiger Shot.”) If you read previous posts here about an unfortunate tiger named Tatiana in San Francisco, you’d know why we’re concerned.

    Very glad to hear that someone is looking out for them and they have a better home than a zoo.

  5. Joanaroo says:

    Very glad Shackle and the tiger were fine after the hurricane! How are you and the cats doing there in VA, Karen? The flooding isn’t to reach here as the rain amount is lower, but the Jersey and Maryland coast are having alot of damage and I’ve seen alot of flood footage from North Carolina and Virginia on the Weather Channel.

  6. catsworking says:

    Joanaroo, I just spent 2 days in DC getting windblown and rained on, and when I got home to VA, it was even WORSE here. There’s flooding along the coast. Fortunately, my house sits on a hill so the water just runs down the backyard. They’re not calling for much more rain here and it should have passed by the weekend.

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