Fact Check

Cats Living in WTC Rubble

Were a mother cat and kittens found living beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center?

Published Oct 22, 2001

Claim:   A mother cat and kittens were found living in the basement of a restaurant beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Status:   Undetermined.

Origins:   Tales of miraculous survivals are especially popular in the face of disaster (as exemplified by rumors about the unburned Bible in the Pentagon and the "fall guy" who rode bits of a collapsing World Trade Center tower to safety from 82 floors up), as are examples of the renewal of life amongst scenes of death and destruction. Both of those scenarios are featured in the story of a cat who had recently given birth to three kittens and was discovered living in a carton of napkins in the basement of a restaurant beneath the rubble of what used to be the World Trade Center.


Cat and kittens

story of feline fortitude has been reported by a few local news outlets such as Minnesota's WCCO and Denver's
9News. We have marked this story as "undetermined" for now because none of the news accounts provides enough detail to demonstrate that the mother cat was actually found beneath the WTC and that she had been there ever since September 11 rather than wandering in sometime afterwards.

A verified tale of a New York cat using up one of its nine lives is the account of Precious, a 8-year-old white
Himalayan-Persian who resided in a building on Liberty Street, about a block away from Ground Zero. Precious' owners, Steve and D.J. Kerr, were away from home on September 11 unable to enter the building upon their return because it was too badly damaged, and they feared the worst for Precious. Eighteen days later, however, animal rescuers responding to reports of a meowing cat found Precious shivering and scared in a dark corner of the roof of the 12-story building, coaxed her down, and reunited her with the Kerrs. Precious was dirty and dehydrated, and her eyes were injured, but otherwise she was in good shape for a cat that had gone without food and care for nearly three weeks.

Last updated:   8 March 2008


  Sources Sources:

    Fenner, Austin and Tamer El-Ghobashy.   "Precious Moment of Thanks."

    [New York] Daily News.   1 October 2001   (p. 26).

    Reid, Tim.   "Cat Survives in New York Rubble."

    The [London] Times.   3 October 2001   (p. 26).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

Article Tags

Read More

a Member

Your membership is the foundation of our sustainability and resilience.


Ad-Free Browsing on Snopes.com
Members-Only Newsletter
Cancel Anytime