During Hurricane Ike, Texas Went to the Cats

September 18, 2008

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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