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Feline face of 49 Fire dies

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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A cat’s valiant fight to stay alive after being badly burned in the 49 Fire has ended on a sad note. Taken to the Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic Aug. 30 after being found at the North Auburn fire site by a sheriff’s deputy, the cat died Sunday of pneumonia. Mike Winters, Placer County Animal Services program manager, said Tuesday that the cat’s death saved his division from making a difficult decision on whether to euthanize the feline. Blinded and burned, its paws red and raw from walking on red-hot embers to escape a fire that destroyed 63 houses, the cat was featured as a mystery feline in Thursday’s Auburn Journal. Its owner had not come forward to claim the tabby. By Friday, owners Susan Shapiro and Dan Geffen had identified their pet, Socks. But the cat had remained at the veterinary clinic through the weekend in an effort to fight off an infection that had lodged in its lungs. The feline had spent two days on oxygen because of smoke inhalation after first being found. The animal hospital and county had funded treatment for the burned cat and no charges were passed on to the injured cat’s owners. Two other cats with burned paws were also treated and able to return to their care-givers. In all, the shelter had taken in 50 animals, including 28 cats and 13 dogs. By Tuesday afternoon, all but three dogs had been reunited with owners, Winters said.