John Amis  /  AP
Tristan Carter, whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, holds her cat, Cupcake, after they were reunited in Atlanta, on Feb. 22.
updated 2/23/2006 10:55:31 AM ET 2006-02-23T15:55:31

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Tristan Carter thought she had lost everything — her home, a grandfather, two dogs, a cat and a rabbit.

But Cupcake the cat was alive and well after six months of living as a stray in her hurricane-ravaged neighborhood. On Wednesday, animal rescue volunteers reunited the lithe, 7-pound black cat with Carter, who now lives in Atlanta.

“I lost a grandfather in the hurricane. To find a little kitty survived six months, that’s great,” said Carter, holding Cupcake close and thanking the rescuers who found her.

Animal rescue groups have rescued more than 1,200 former pets living as strays in New Orleans and have been working to reunite them with their owners, according to Best Friends Animal Society, the group that arranged the reunion.

Cupcake wore a collar with rabies tags and rescuers hoped to quickly link her with her owner. But volunteer Shelley Thayer could not find a person who matched the tag’s name and address. A phone number on the tag was disconnected.

But after using professional Internet-based searching services, Thayer matched Carter with the tag’s address. The people-finding service provided Thayer with Carter’s phone number.

Carter says her family had given up any hope of finding their pets. In November, they returned to their former home and searched without success.

“God works in mysterious ways. She is a gift, she is here to let us know there is hope,” Carter said. “She’s our good luck charm.”

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