WACKERBAUER, HARRIS, MISS KITTY
Joe Brunksac  /  Special to MSNBC.com file
Donna Wackerbauer, left, watches as the late Bill Harris cradles Miss Kitty during the pair’s reunion in a Hattiesburg, Miss., hospital Sept. 9.
msnbc.com
updated 11/28/2005 4:40:17 PM ET 2005-11-28T21:40:17

Miss Kitty is heading for a new home in Canada.

Following the untimely death last week of her owner, Bill Harris, the “miracle cat” that he credited with helping to save him from drowning during Hurricane Katrina is going to be leaving Louisiana soon for points far north with Donna Wackerbauer, an animal rescue volunteer who was instrumental in reuniting Harris and Miss Kitty after the storm.

Wackerbauer also will be taking two other cats and a dog she inherited during her three-month stint saving four-legged, feathered and scaled victims of the storm in the Slidell, La., area as a member of the Noah’s Wish animal rescue organization.

The other newcomers are “Funk,” a cat named after the license plate of the truck where he was found wedged between the tailgate and the bumper; “Cullion,” a kitten with congenital birth defects who arrived with “a big laceration on his skull”; and “Boudoin,” a dachshund cross-breed who was found in a debris pile.

The new arrivals will bring Wackerbauer’s menagerie at her 5.8-acre farm in Summerland, British Columbia, to a total of six cats and three dogs.

“I’ve had 26 foster cats, plus mine, at one time, so we’ll make do,” she said Sunday as she made preparations to depart Slidell. “It’s part of the whole rescue thing.”

Horace Troullier, the Slidell animal control officer who was the other half of the team that found Miss Kitty, also expressed interest in caring for the famous feline. But Wackerbauer said she won out since his home was wrecked by Katrina and he’s still living in the city mechanic’s shop while waiting to move into a FEMA trailer.

Wackerbauer, who plans to run a boarding and grooming service for dogs and cats from her newly purchased farm, said the death of Harris, 63, last week made for a sad ending to what was otherwise an enriching experience.

“To me, it reinstills the sense of community, that people have the ability to overcome,” she said. “… I wish other people could come down and witness what we’ve seen, because it would make then so much more appreciative of what they have.”

Meanwhile, family friends were planning a private interment for Harris at a family plot in Shreveport, La. ( Click here to read Harris' obituary.)

And Noah’s Wish is working on plans to permanently commemorate the saga of Harris and Miss Kitty in Slidell.

The Placerville, Calif.-based organization has pledged $1 million to Slidell to enable the city to build a new state-of-the-art animal shelter and an accompanying dog park that will include “some form of tribute” to Harris and his cat of good fortune, said Patricia Jones, a spokeswoman for the organization.

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