California wildfires: This story shows just how intelligent a cat can be during life or death emergencies

While this story is a bit older than I usually report on, it deserves being told because it shows just how intelligent a cat can be during life or death emergencies. I do have a discussion question at the end.

photo courtesy Field Haven Feline Center
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Back in November, one intelligent feral cat saved her own life as well as that of her two kittens by hiding inside a wood-burning stove as the fast-moving wildfires raged through Concow, California.

The little family was discovered when animal rescuer Shayla Sullivan and Cowboy 911 (a local rescue team) went to save animals from the disaster area. While Shayla was loading the horses into a trailer the team noticed two kittens and their feral mother.

Mama cat ran off and the two kittens ran into the wood-burning stove when the rescuers approached them. It’s believed the mama was hiding her kittens from coyotes and other predators in the area. Everything around the stove was burned to the ground.

Shayla later stated in an interview that the kittens (named Ashley and Phoenix) were taken for treatment at Field Haven Feline Center by Shayla’s son and her friends who were waiting behind the barricade. It’s believed that Phoenix shielded his sister from the flames by laying on top of her. Phoenix was treated for burns. Ashlee was unharmed.

The people at FieldHaven were wonderful. They put them in warm towels and started getting them IV fluids right away. They told me that the little orange one probably wouldn’t have made it one more night.”

photo by Field Haven Feline Center

Once in the care of Haven Feline Center Phoenix continued to throw his body over Ashlee and was very protective of her. The folks at the center saved many lives during the California wildfires.

“We think it’s because he threw his body over Ash during the fire to protect him. Once Phoenix realized Ash was safe and sound in our care, he relaxed enough to start his own healing.”

Field Haven has taken in nearly 50 cats, three birds, one chameleon, and one iguana and is providing medical care and a safe, warm, stress-free environment for these animals.

Now for the discussion question. For those of you who feed stray/feral cats, what’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever witnessed a mother cat do to keep her kittens safe? I think it genius this mama cat led her kittens to a wood stove. Everything around them burned but her quick thinking kept her kittens from perishing in the fire.

Note: This is the short version of a very long read. Many more photos are available on both of the source articles. Although the mama cat wasn’t caught there are rescuers who kept her fed and watered and made sure she was as safe as possible.

Source 1 and 2.

2 thoughts on “California wildfires: This story shows just how intelligent a cat can be during life or death emergencies”

  1. I had a momma cat that started to alert me to one of her kittens who was not doing well. I managed to get the baby but not the others as they went with their mom to get away. After finding out the baby was sick and past helping the vets put him to sleep. It was really sad that it happened to late but I have the feeling he was the runt and really looked very poor when I found him. Cats are not stupid like some people think. They have feelings just like us. I feel bad for the mom but I think she knew what was going on and asked for the best thing she could do for her baby. 🙁

  2. I’m surprised the cats didn’t bake in the stove. Fires can get real hot.

    I think the stove was convenient and sturdy. Mama cat got lucky.


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