This is Alyssa Hueser, and like so many others affected by the fires that swept through Fort McMurray, Alberta, last summer, she had to make some tough choices. Alyssa Hueser Hueser was at work when the evacuation order came in for her neighbourhood on May 3. "By the time I got home my neighborhood was pretty much already up in flames," she told BuzzFeed Canada. "As soon as I opened the door my dog came running, I grabbed my kids, and my cats took off the other way." Alyssa Hueser With no time to spare, Hueser and her family had to leave without the cats, Ellie and Minnie."Obviously my kids were more important than the cats," she said. Hueser had no idea if the two cats would be able to survive on their own, but she didn't lose hope. Alyssa Hueser On June 4, the first day residents were allowed back into the city, Hueser and her family went out with cat food and treats, hoping to find Ellie and Minnie. Despite traipsing through creeks and bushes, there was no sign of either of them. Then, only July 5, a miracle. "I got a phone call from animal control saying hey, I think we have your cat," said Hueser. "And we have a surprise for you, she has six kittens!" Alyssa Hueser It turns out Ellie had been staying in a shed downtown, and both she and her litter were in good health. Then a few months later, another surprise — Minnie had been found, too. Alyssa Hueser Along with three more kittens. Alyssa Hueser "I was like, oh my Jesus, are you serious?" said Hueser."At one point we had six cats here, my dog, and my kids. It was a full blown zoo." Hueser raised the kittens before giving them away to fellow Fort McMurray residents who had lost their cats in the fire. Alyssa Hueser "It really made me happy because one of the ladies I gave two of them away to, she lost two of her cats," said Huser. "We grew quite a friendship as well. I get pictures all the time of the cats."They did keep one of Ellie's kittens, however, naming it "Phoenix" after the company that water bombed Fort McMurray as the fires raged. "I think I got really lucky — really, really lucky," said Hueser. Alyssa Hueser "I’m just very grateful." h/t Global News Can’t get enough cats? Sign up for BuzzFeed’s “This Week in Cats” newsletter and you’ll get all the cutest kitty news every Friday! If you can't see the signup box above, just go here to sign up for BuzzFeed's "This Week in Cats" newsletter!