Fire that ravaged a downtown Minneapolis apartment building spared its residents, but one inhabitant did not survive.

Cowkitty, a 12-year-old black and white cat, was carried out of the building in the arms of a firefighter Sunday afternoon as black smoke billowed above the 200 block of S. 9th Street.

"The firefighter brought her out with a tiny oxygen mask on, but it was too late," a sobbing Emma Johnson, Cowkitty's owner, said nearly a full day after the blaze severely damaged the three-story building that was built in 1888 and is one of the last surviving historical apartment buildings near downtown's central business district.

Johnson had just returned from a wedding on the North Shore "and the whole place was on fire. … I wish I would've gotten home an hour earlier."

Minneapolis firefighters are equipped with oxygen equipment sized for cats and dogs, said Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner. "We go through training [specifically] for … cats and dogs," Tyner said.

"They don't do very well in a fire," he said, when comparing pets to humans' ability to survive fires.

Cowkitty "was the coolest cat ever," Johnson recalled sadly. "She was born in a barn and was going to be shot as a kitten. … But instead, I took her home."