Maui Fire Cat Arrives at FieldHaven
Mamoa, a Maui Fire Cat, Arriving at Sacramento Airport Tonight
Nearly two months ago, the Lahaina wildfire broke out on Maui, destroying more than 2,000 buildings which included 86% of the residential area. Mamoa, a five-year-old male cat, not only survived the fires but continued to live in the burn zone for almost a month. Tonight, he arrives in Sacramento, with the goal of finding his very own home right here in northern California—the scene of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date, the Camp Fire. Interestingly, Mamoa was born right around the time of the Camp Fire, back in 2018.
As you know, I’ve been in Maui assisting with the rescue and recovery of the fire cats since early September. I’m working alongside other organizations, including Maui Humane Society and Neighborhood Cats, another FieldHaven team member, and several volunteers, including Dr. Kate Hurley and Dr. Denae Wagner of the U.C. Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.
Mamoa was described as feral when trapped in the fire zone in early September. When he arrived at the Maui Humane Society annex recovery center a couple of weeks later, I immediately pegged him as a big softie who was not actually feral, but rather, recovering from the trauma he had endured during and after the fire.
Mamoa was initially known as L557. We don’t name cats who arrive at the recovery center because we don’t want to confuse them – after all, they likely have real names. And L557 fit my type—big cheeks, quiet and lazy—which is why I fell for him when we first met. I was right, as he soon showed his very social, relaxed side.
I hoped there was someone out there who knew him and cared for him, but not one person inquired about him. Then, there was a vague comment on an online post featuring his picture, and a woman named Diane came into the recovery center.
She turned her phone to me, displaying the profile picture of L557 on Facebook. She said, “We called this cat Mamoa, and he was often in our backyard in Lahaina. I think he’s here.” She, and her husband, had a misty-eyed reunion with Mamoa, sharing photos before and after the fire. In place of his sparkling white fur which he so meticulously kept clean, was a nearly solid grey cat. Remarkably, not even a whisker was singed, despite their neighborhood being completely obliterated.
Diana had nowhere to take him back to, so she signed him over to Maui Humane Society, providing the path for him to move forward for adoption. I officially adopted him, giving me the ability to bring him to FieldHaven, where we will find him just the right home with a family who will cherish him as much as his Maui one did.
The BEST news? Mamoa is currently on his way to FieldHaven, flying “kitty class” with Dr. Hurley and Dr. Wagner. They will meet a FieldHaven foster family at the Sacramento International Airport tonight, so stay tuned for more on his adventure!