Wonderful photo showing the indomitable spirit of Ukrainian women and their cats

This is a wonderful photograph by Richard Spencer for The Times and it is published here via Getty images and Narcisco Contreas/Anadolu Agencies. I hope that they allow me to publish the photograph on my website. I would claim fair use but I am in their hands. These three indomitable women and their two cats are part of 800 people displaced by Russian bombing in Kharkiv, in the north of the country, not far from the Russian border. They’ve spent two months in Kharkiv’s Metro. They thought that it would be a couple of days at most when they first went down. They now know that it is the 62nd day of the war and there is little to do other than wait and count the days go by.

Karkiv Metro home to 800 Ukrainians including from left to right Olga Mospan, Zoya Demchenko and her daughter Natalia and cats Basikand Kuzia
Karkiv Metro home to 800 Ukrainians including from left to right Olga Mospan, Zoya Demchenko and her daughter Natalia and cats Basikand Kuzia. Credit: Richard Spencer for The Times and it is published here via Getty images and Narcisco Contreas and the Anadulo Agency. Please click on the image to see it larger.

Of course, I love the picture of the cats with these ladies. It must be incredibly difficult for both the women and their cats. It does take an indomitable spirit to go through this with a smile and all three are smiling. The cats look well cared for. I really don’t know how they manage because, for instance, how do all 800 go to the toilet and keep themselves clean? I am convinced that they have a very tightly controlled rotor of toilet cleaning which is shared between the 800 residents of the underground. They live by the tracks of Saltivka district Metro station on Heroiv Pratsi Street. I am sure that they have devised a management structure to keep order under trying conditions.

Ironically most people in the area speak Russian and Kharkiv is built in the Soviet style as it was rebuilt along Stalinist lines after the destruction of the Second World War. It is doubly ironic because Ukraine’s second largest city is now being destroyed by the Russians during their invasion of the country. I wonder if Vladimir Putin has noticed the irony in his brutal, misguided and unnecessary war. The people that he is making homeless were loyal to the values that the Russians espoused and they are shocked. These Ukrainians call their Russian neighbours their brothers and “Now they are bombing the graves of people who died in the Second World War”, said Olena Sydorov, one of many ladies trapped in this underground station. She is an accountant.

The map shows you the location of Kharkiv.

Below are some more pictures and stories from Ukraine.

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Ukraine war: striptease champion saves up to 30 cats a day from destroyed homes

Alexei Surovtsev and rescued cat
Alexei Surovtsev and rescued cat. Photo: Instagram.

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a mind-blowing effort from a man who has become a hero. From a man who it seems to have found his true purpose in life; to save the abandoned vulnerable animals of Ukraine during this terrible war. He operates in Irpin. Alexei Surovtsev is a reality star and a three-time striptease champion, believe it or not; quite frivolous occupations but what he is doing now is at the opposite end of the spectrum to frivolous. It is deadly serious. It is life-and-death and it is about companion animals.

Note: This is an embedded video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source or the video is turned into a link which stops it working here. I have no control over this.

Mail Online reports that he returns to the town where his home has been destroyed by Russian shelling looking to save abandon cats and he has achieved this numerous times. They say he saves up to 30 cats a day. He has recorded some of his rescues on social media.

And as a consequence, he has become a hero. In his social media videos, he is seen driving through a devastated landscape of burnt out and destroyed cars lining the road and of the ruins of homes.

He is seen entering some of these homes to search for abandoned companion animals. He tries to venture out every day. After he has rescued the animals, he usually gives them to their owners or their acquaintances, it is reported. He says that they then send them to other cities or even countries. I’m not sure how he manages to find the owners if they have evacuated but he’s probably very good at it.

He admits that it is dangerous, hard and scary but he is driven by the thought of the frightened animals. In the war zones of Ukraine at the moment, there are two types of domestic cat: those that have been evacuated with their refugee owners under great difficulties. And then there are those that have for a number of reasons been left behind to fend for themselves. We don’t the circumstances. It is Alexei Surovtsev who is picking up the pieces for these cats and their owners. He’s going back into a shelled-out place which entails great risk to himself. It is wonderful to see this sort of commitment to animal welfare. Well-done to him.

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Two cats found safe after ‘hero cat’ warned family of fire in a home with no working smoke detector

A Grand Rapids, Michigan cat is being credited for saving the family from a fire that broke out in the home. There was a smoke detector in the home but it wasn’t working because it hadn’t been installed. Two of the family cats were reported missing, including the hero cat. Both have been reunited with the family.

hero cat
hero cat credited with saving family (courtesy photo)

The fire occurred on the 700 block of Coit Avenue Northeast on Thursday morning around 6:10 a.m. According to investigators, the fire started in the kitchen, where smoke was found on both the first and second floor.

Homeowner Frank Doane was on his way to work at the time of the fire. He told news media his wife, two sons and nine pets were home. The family has seven cats, one dog, and a pet rat. All of the pets were accounted for at the time of this article, including the one that jumped on his youngest son to wake him up as well as a Siamese.

That cat as well as a second cat were originally reported as missing but were found Friday uninjured hiding in one of the rooms. The family won’t be able to return to their home for months. Mr. Doane said they’d recently purchased new smoke alarms but hadn’t installed them.

The cat alerting the family probably saved their lives when it woke them up. The fire department would like to remind people in Grand Rapids that a smoke detector will be installed free of charge by calling 311 and setting up an appointment.

Please remember to test smoke detectors several times a year and check to see how long a battery is supposed to last. Many people choose to replace the battery twice a year but some detectors these days come with a 10-year battery.

firefighter rescues cat
firefighter rescues cat from burning home (Fox17)

A few words of caution. Click here for a good article on the dangers of power strips used with electric heaters. The strips can become overheated and melt and cause a fire. Also, any time a fuel source is used inside the home for heating, PLEASE invest in a carbon monoxide detector.

No reports show either of these started the fire but this is information you need to know to keep your family safe.

Source 1

Source 2

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Heartwarming photo of a Russian firefighter holding one of the 300 cats rescued from a burning animal shelter

Russian emergency workers in St. Petersburg performed a heroic rescue on June 14 when they rescued hundreds of cats and several dogs from an animal shelter. Take a look at the heartwarming photo of a Russian firefighter holding one of the 300 cats rescued from the burning shelter.

russian firefighter
Heartwarming photo of kitten and firefighter (Russian Emergency Situations Ministry)

The fire started Friday on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island. The Emergencies Ministry said it was their quick response that allowed them to evacuate 300 cats and seven dogs from the shelter. No information is available as to whether any animals were lost in the fire.

The fire was massive and took 37 emergency workers along with 10 engines two-and-a-half hours to extinguish the blaze.

Here is another picture, enlarged and enhanced by Michael at PoC:

Russian firefighter and rescued cat
Russian firefighter and rescued cat

No information has been made available as to where the cats and dogs are at this time. There’s only one article pertaining to the fire in Google search and it appears the same information is repeated in each article (word for word).

To be able to rescue that many animals is a miracle. You’re all heroes and the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry should be thankful to have you.


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Two cats rescued by FDNY from five-alarm fire in Brooklyn

Two cats were rescued on Saturday morning by Fire Department New York firefighters in Brooklyn after a five-alarm fire broke out. The fire left three firefighters and one civilian with minor injuries.

Look..I just love this photograph. A couple of firefighters carrying two cats in a cat carrier down the street. It’s got compassion written all over it. And I love to see compassion towards animals. It is a good sign. A sign of civility. Well done the photographer Ken Garger.

Photo credit Ken Garger
Photo credit Ken Garger

The call came in around 10 a.m. on Atlantic Avenue in Cypress Hill’s at the AJ Global Enterprises appliance store. There are apartments above the store, FDNY reported. The blaze was completely under control around 12:50 p.m.

According to FDNY Assistant Chief John Hodgens, the fire began in the appliance store and spread to two other buildings. Craig and Dane belong to the appliance store owner (identified as Sam) and were rescued from the back of the store.

Witnesses say the cats looked scared and were wet and shaken. They were kept safe in an out of service MTA bus until Sam picked them up.

Seventy-one-year-old part-time employee Trenton Asley said in an interview with New York Post

“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Oh my god, the cats! The fridges and appliances, those are material things. You can replace those. But they got the cats out, that’s priority number one.”

Around 12 families were evacuated.

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11 young cats are safe after they were found in an alley in sealed boxes

Eleven young cats are safe after a lady returning from work in the UK noticed several sealed boxes in an alley in Stratford and knew something was wrong. As she walked toward the boxes she heard meowing and contacted Celia Hammond Animal Trust and asked for help.

photo courtesy Celia Hammond Animal Trust

Facebook: Celia Hammond Animal Trust told the story of the dumped cats January 16 on their community page

Dumped in the night….

We were called out the night of 11th January by a lady returning from work who had noticed several sealed cardboard boxes in an alley in Stratford, near a busy road. She walked past the alley and then went back as she thought she heard miaowing – thank goodness she did, as the boxes were completely sealed shut with masses of parcel tape and the 11 young cats inside would have suffocated if we hadn’t raced straight out to collect them, as there were no air holes in the boxes. We didn’t know their temperaments so didn’t dare open the boxes and risk them flying out into the road, so made a few tiny holes to let air in but not big enough to allow them to rip at the cardboard and escape. Fortunately, it only took a few minutes to drive back to the clinic. The risk of cutting the cats would have made it too dangerous to use scissors to open the boxes, so we used a butter knife to get the cats out as quickly as possible.

We can only assume the intention was for them to die as surely everybody knows animals need to be able to breathe to survive. The boxes cannot have been there very long as without oxygen our vets estimate they probably wouldn’t have lived more than an hour or two. One really strange thing is that these cats are really friendly and have clearly once been loved, handled and cuddled – what on earth would drive an apparently loving owner to do something so terrible? Perhaps it was a family member or neighbour who hated the cats enough to do this.


The cats were covered in fleas and extremely underweight. They were treated by the Trust veterinarian and will be available for adoption once they’re healthy. All will need to be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and the Trust can use help with the funding.

You can donate via their donate button or via their Amazon Wish List.

The trust sent out a plea hoping the person who left the cats reads their Facebook post and are asked to please email Celia Hammond Animal Trust on canningtown@celiahammond.org or call 020 7474 8811 so the Trust can collect any other cats they may have and don’t want. There were no clues on the boxes to indicate an address.

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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

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.

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