"If cats actually have nine lives, he probably used up about eight of them in that nine-day period," said relieved owner Hoot Gibson
Madix the cat, who was found in the rubble of Gibson's Mayfield, Ky. office building nine days after a tornado
Credit: Sonny "Hoot" Gibson via AP

Nine days after a deadly tornado ripped through Mayfield, Kentucky, a cat was miraculously found alive beneath the rubble.

On Sunday, Madix the cat was found by his owner Sonny "Hoot" Gibson, whose three-story office building in downtown Mayfield was destroyed by the tornado, the Associated Press reported.

While Gibson and his family assisted with cleanup after the deadly storm, they gave up hope of finding the black office cat after a few days, per WTVF. Over the weekend, the rental business owner was back at the building when he heard a faint meow.

"Out of the blue, I heard that meow. When I heard it, and I said his name, and I heard it faintly again, I knew it was him," he told the news channel. "My knees got so weak, my chest almost got tight. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to have a heart attack here.' I was blown away."

Teaming up with two employees to sift through the wreckage, the trio found the cat, uninjured, in a pocket under the rocks. Gibson took Madix home, where he quickly ate "three bowls of food and drank a whole bowl of water," per WTVF. A vet gave Madix a clean bill of health, and the miraculous cat is settling into his new life as a house cat, the Associated Press reported.

Mayfield Consumer Products
Credit: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

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

A severe storm system on Dec. 10 took a devastating toll on parts of the South and Midwest. In addition to Mayfield, tornadoes hit other parts of Kentucky.

The tornado outbreak impacted six states — including Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee — and tragically killed at least 89 people, 77 of whom were in Kentucky, making it the state's deadliest storm ever.