Cats have a pretty well-earned reputation for being able to take care of themselves, with or without human assistance. But it’s an entirely different matter in a disaster zone.
For most of November, wildfires raged through Northern California’s Butte County, wiping some towns off the map entirely. Among the most well known of those is Paradise, where animals and humans alike scrambled for shelter among the charred ruins. Some residents are still sleeping in the only shelter available, their cars, and animals are still being found secreted away beneath the blackened skeletons of abandoned vehicles.
Shannon Jay, a National Park Service officer, and videographer Douglas Thron have rescued nearly a dozen cats in the weeks since the fire broke out. They’re on their own, and their mission is to find and rescue animals, provide whatever medical care and shelter they need until they can be reunited with their owners.
Doug describes it as similar to “going into a battlefield. Their paws are burned, those poor little cats. Seeing a cat get reunited, well, sometimes that’s the only thing the owner has left.”
Doug recently filmed the video below, which shows Shannon working for more than an hour to retrieve a terrified cat from the burned-out chassis of an old pickup truck. She wants to trust these strange humans, you can tell by the high pitch of her cries. But she’s injured and traumatized from her ordeal.
He works relentlessly to jack up the chassis, then piles concrete blocks on top of each other, creating enough space for him to slide under. By the time he reaches out and grabs her, this cat’s inquisitive and pleading cries have taken on a more terrified tone. But Shannon has been doing these types of rescues for years and knows exactly what to do.
Watch the entire rescue in the video below. And you’ll be happy to know that despite her injuries, this cat’s now on the road to recovery: “She’s healing and of the sweetest disposition — even purred for me,” Shannon reported after spending some time with this convalescing feline.
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