When an abandoned garage caught fire in Brooklyn, what one firefighter witnessed touched the hearts of thousands—indeed, the heroic actions of a cat demonstrated that sometimes animals have braver hearts than humans!
The fire department responded to the emergency, brought the fire under control, and extinguished the flames quickly. While they were handling the situation, one of the firefighters, David Gianelli, saw a cat carrying its kittens away from the area of the blaze, one by one.
The cat itself appeared to have been very badly injured in the process. Her coat, paws, and ears were badly burned, and her eyes were singed shut. After bringing them to safety, she was seen touching each of the kittens with her nose to ensure they were alive. She then fell unconscious.
Gianelli was so touched by what he saw that he took the entire family to a veterinary clinic at The North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, New York. Sadly, one of the kittens, the weakest one, succumbed to its wounds and passed away. The cat, now named Scarlett, and her four kittens recovered within three months and were then fit enough to be adopted.
The tale of this courageous cat that rescued its kittens went viral, even receiving words of praise from the Netherlands, Japan, and South Africa. The clinic received about 7,000 letters from good Samaritans, who offered to adopt the feline family. The clinic eventually decided to give the kittens up for adoption in pairs.
Scarlett was adopted by Karen Wellen, who herself had been a victim of a road accident and had lost her cat shortly after. She was only interested in adopting an animal with special needs.
Scarlett died on Oct. 11, 2008. She was around 13 years old. In her honor, The North Shore Animal League created an award named the “Scarlett Award for Animal Heroism,” awarded to those brave animals whose heroic acts have benefited others. She was also featured as the main character in a book, “Scarlett Saves the family.”
Though it has been a decade since she passed away, Scarlett’s story indeed lives on. It’s taken on a whole new purpose, one designed to remind us how animals, instinctually perhaps, think more often with their hearts and that sometimes we humans need to take a lesson from that, too.
While it is impossible to know how a cat as brave as Scarlett ever came into existence, it’s fair to say that there likely won’t be a bunch more coming around anytime soon. So, even though Scarlett’s legacy is over 10 years in the past, it is still worthy of praise.
Rest in peace, Scarlett! Hopefully, there’s another cat just like you being conceived this very moment.