By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008 11:56 AM
GALVESTON, Tex., Sept. 13 -- Marjorie Anderson Henck, 67, heard a cry in the night: a feeble meow of a stray kitten.
She could hear it only because the eye of Hurricane Ike had passed over Galveston and the screaming storm had gone into a temporary hush.
Henck was alone but for her three cats, Smokey, Sandy and Big Bob. She had refused her son's entreaties to leave the island. He told her at four in the afternoon Friday to come with him -- "This is your last chance" -- but she refused. She had been through every hurricane since the unnamed storm of 1943. Her grandmother, Annie Apffel Anderson, born in 1888, had survived the killer storm of 1900.
So she rode it out. A mistake, she said Saturday morning with her hair still wet from fetching ditch water to flush her toilet.
"It was horrendous," she said. "I'm feeling rattled right now and I'm hungry."
But in the process of the night her household gained a new member: An orange kitten, maybe 6 weeks old, cowering under her bed. She heard it meowing in her backyard. It was sitting on a cushion that she had used as patio furniture. The cushion was floating like a raft in the water that flooded her backyard. She brought the kitten inside and tried to get it to eat.
"If it doesn't eat, it'll die," she said.
It showed no interest in a bowl of wet cat food.
The other three cats looked ready for a nap.