Cat Found Unscathed in Rubble of Business in Mayfield, Kentucky, 9 Days After Tornado Raged

A cat was found unharmed in the rubble of a Mayfield business 9 days after a tornado ravaged the town in Kentucky.

Sonny "Hoot" Gibson thought he heard a faint meow when standing in the rubble of his office building, causing him to believe it was his office cat, Madix.

"I thought I heard a meow, and I thought my mind's playing tricks on me so I hollered his name out, and he meowed again," Gibson said.

He said he attempted to search for the black cat with yellow eyes that would greet customers at his rental business, but gave up after a few days.

"I don't know how anything could've survived not just the tornado but the destruction that came along with it," he said.

The tornado that came through the town was classified as an EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale by the National Weather Service, according to The Courier-Journal. That is the second-worst classification on the scale for tornadoes. As of Dec. 20, the death toll is 76, said Governor Andy Beshear, WZTV reported.

Paducah NWS Lead Forecaster Gregory Meffert said the tornado was a high-end EF4, with winds around 11 miles per hour below the 200 miles per hour needed for an EF5, according to The Courier-Journal.

Cleanup is underway with volunteers. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen assisted, volunteering with Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief organization, WLKY reported.

Many lack transportation, power and other basic necessities, according to WPSD-TV.

Gibson called some employees to help him search for Madix when he couldn't immediately find the cat, which he eventually found below the rubble in a hole.

Cat, Rubble, Discovery, Mayfield Tornado,
This photo provided by Sonny "Hoot" Gibson shows Madix the cat, who was found in the rubble of Gibson's Mayfield, Kentucky, office building nine days after a tornado devastated much of the town. Sonny "Hoot" Gibson via AP

"It was just an incredible feeling to put him in my arms," Gibson said. "If cats actually have nine lives, he probably used up about eight of them in that nine-day period."

Other than being very hungry and thirsty, Madix was unscathed. Gibson said he took Madix home, where he will live out the rest of his days as a house cat.

Gibson said the story of Madix the survivor is becoming popular around the town of Mayfield, where a long-track tornado demolished huge parts of the community.

"It's a blessing for people to hear the story so they can take that and realize that great things can come out of terrible situations. If it's uplifting to one person, then Madix has served his purpose on this planet."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mayfield Tornado, Town Destroyed
The tornado that ripped through Mayfield, Kentucky, was classified as an EF4 and just a shade weaker than an EF5. Shown above is a destroyed home in Mayfield, on Dec. 16, 2021, six days after the tornado struck. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images