Woman Nearly Falls Into River in Order to Rescue Stray Kitten

This story is a finalist in the Fur-Ever Family Photo & Story Contest. Voting runs through December 31. Three grand prize winners will each receive $500 in cash and $2,000 in cash and supplies for their favorite shelter. See all the entrants and finalists here!

It began on a high traffic bridge over the Fox River on a Labor Day weekend. My husband was driving us to a dance with fireworks left over from the rained-out 4th of July. While waiting for a light to turn left to go over the bridge, we saw a tiny grey and white kitten bravely crossing the street where the bridge started. Its little eyes locked with mine just before a big semi-trailer ran right over it. I then glimpsed the male semi-driver’s eyes, which were big with fright in thinking he’d just run over a poor little kitten.

I hoped he looked back to see that the kitten had safely stopped right between the huge tires. As traffic continued, the kitten ran over to the other side where the riverbank rose sharply up to thick brush. As my husband and I drove over the bridge, I made him stop right in the middle as he turned left, blocking the two lanes of traffic. Since this was a major highway with only this one bridge and traffic was heavy due to the dance, my husband got angry when I jumped out and meowed to the kitten.

PHOTO: VICTORIA TODD-BARTH

I told it to stay where it was and I would be right back to rescue it. I meowed once more, and it meowed back, so I knew it was safely hidden in the brush. This area was on the edge of the country with many predators, least of all traffic and eagles. Then my husband would not come right back, as he said we were going to the dance. I made a deal with him to stop back later on our way home. He agreed thinking there was no way it would still be there, or we could find it in all that brush.

Five hours later, in the middle of the night, we finally stopped to look. Since I heard it meow five hours before, I went right to the area where I had heard it. I meowed again, and it popped right out. I made the mistake of allowing it to smell me and it got frightened and darted right back into the brush. So, I meowed again, and this time when it came out, I grabbed it in one hand, holding it way up while I almost fell down the bank into the river.

PHOTO: VICTORIA TODD-BARTH

My husband was amazed I both found it so quickly and held it so high so it wouldn’t get wet when he thought for sure I was going into the river. Because of this, he immediately became attached, too. The next week, the vet told me what I was hoping for, that she was a girl and would have gold eyes when her inflamed blue eyes turned color. She was only 5-weeks-old, had tummy worms, ear mites that needed flushing and drops for a week thereafter, and eye drops for her eyes. But she was a girl, which was what I always wanted back when trying for my own human daughter (I couldn’t have children). And she fit right in with her two older brothers, who were grey tabbies, too.

In the last fifteen years, she has now become an older sister to another girl we found right outside our doorstep two years ago. If it weren’t for her always listening and understanding me, her new sister would have been dumped at a kill shelter, labeled “she couldn’t get along with other cats”. In fact, she has always been my therapy kitty, never failing to make me feel better, even more so than my medications. Her name Foxy Lady came from the Fox River, where I found her and almost fell in.

PHOTO: VICTORIA TODD-BARTH

This story was submitted by Victoria Todd-Barth, in support of Neenah Animal Shelter. To see other Fur-Ever Family Photo & Story Contest submissions, click here!

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