Narelle Brown, 56, Melbourne, Vic
W￼hat on earth is that strange noise? I wondered.
I was watching TV in March this year and could hear something crackling. It’s probably one of the animals, I chuckled.
I had five cats, Blue Eyes, Duchess, Lucky, Moe and Bindi, and a pugalier puppy, Tash. Together, we were one big, happy family.
A volunteer foster carer for Lort Smith Animal Hospital, I was also looking after four kittens at the time. The noise could’ve been any one of them getting up to some mischief!
‘What are you lot doing?’ I called out, heading towards the kitchen.
Then I realised the crackling was coming from my freezer. As I opened the freezer door, there was a bang and flames burst out.
Oh my God, fire!
My first thought was my fur babies. I had to get them out.
Shaking, I put Tash on a leash and helped the four kittens into a carrier. Then I rushed them to my neighbours’ where I called the fire brigade.
Racing back for my other beloved pets, I stared at my home in horror. The whole place was going up in smoke. There was no way I could get back inside.
By the time the firemen arrived I was hysterical.
‘My cats are inside!’ I cried.
After what felt like an eternity, Blue Eyes was placed into my arms, followed by Duchess then Lucky. But Bindi and Moe were still trapped.
‘They probably ran away,’ a firey told me gently.
My gut told me otherwise. Peering through the lounge room window, I spotted a tail.
‘Get the carrier!’ I screamed.
Thankfully, this time the firemen emerged with Bindi and Moe. Overjoyed, I kissed each rescuer!
My five cats spent two nights in intensive care being treated for smoke inhalation, while I moved into emergency accommodation. I’d lost everything, so I had to use a litter box for a table!
‘I’m not letting you out of my sight,’ I told them.
Nine weeks on, we moved home. It turned out the fire had started when the freezer overheated. It could so easily have been a tragedy, but the important thing was my family was back together.
That’s my purrfect ending.
To become a volunteer foster carer like Narelle, visit lortsmith.com.
Originally published in that's life! Issue 43, 2016.