Catastrophe Cat, by Mary Small

Drenched to the skin, Tia was clinging like a mad creature to the branches of a broken tree. One minute she was there, the next she was gone, a small Siamese cat swept up and whirled away with the wind.

On Christmas Eve in 1974, a ferocious cyclone devastated Darwin, in the Northern Territory. Sixty-five people were killed, many more injured, and 30 000 had to be evacuated from the decimated city. This is the story of a little Siamese cat, Tia, who disappears in the fury of the cyclone.

Having lived through the horror of Cyclone Tracy, life for Leisa can never be the same. Her family home has been destroyed and her precious cat, Tia, has disappeared. Lesia has to leave Darwin with her family, evacuated to Melbourne, where she continues to fret for her cat. It is six months before she returns to Darwin. Is it possible that Tia will be waiting?

Catastrophe Cat is a historical novel which combines the facts of the cyclone, a significant piece of Australian history, with the story of the missing cat, a fictionalised storyline based on a real cat which went missing during the cyclone. Kids will learn from the factual base of the story, but will also enjoy the story of the missing cat, which has a satisfactory resolution.

Suitable for readers aged 10-12.

Catastrophe Cat, by Mary Small
UWA Press, 2004