True Cat Stories

from the Associated Press New York printed in the Edmonton Journal 31 March 1996

Cat braves fire five times for kittens

Like any other mother, this one was willing to walk through fire for her children. She carried her five four-week old babies one by one from a burning building in East New York, and ended up in the emergency room. Mother­­a domestic short haired cat named Scarlet­­and her kittens were resting in an oxygen tent Saturday.
Firefighter David Giannelli found the feline family when he responded to a garage fire. The fire broke out in a vacant building Friday morning. While they were working,the firefighters could hear kittens crying, Giannelli said.
When the fire was out, he found two kittens near the side of the building and three more across the street. "What she did was she ran in and out of that building five times, got them all out, and then started moving them one by one across the street," he said.
Giannelli said the cat's face, paws and eyes were severely burned. He put her and her kittens in a box and went back to work. Later, when he was off duty, he brought them to an animal shelter. Giannelli said even though her eyes were burned shut, the cat made a head count, touching each kitten with her nose, as if making sure they were all with her.
"She's a wonderful, gentle animal who did a courageous thing," said Marge Stein, manager of adoption services at the North Shore Animal League. "It shows with all creatures, animals or people, there's no way of measuring a mother's love."
Named Scarlet because small patches of red can be seen through her singed fur, the cat and her brood are doing fairly well, but are not out of the woods yet, Stein said. There have already been about 200 queries for adoption and donations.

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