Miracle Survives a Drowning Attempt on the McClugage Bridge and Later Hitchhikes a Ride to Safety Underneath the Car of a Compassionate Motorist
"We figured someone had a litter of kittens they didn't want and tossed them into the river. This little one didn't make it over the wall. It's just terrible, heartbreaking. But I'm thrilled we were able to save her and give her a home and a second chance."
-- Carol Jones
Six-week-old Miracle is not only a very courageous kitten but a quick thinking one also. When she found herself stranded on the McClugage Bridge she wisely stowed away underneath Carol Jones's Ford Focus and because of that she is still alive today. (See photo above of her with Jones.)
The story began on June 22nd when Jones and her daughter, Kim, were crossing the bridge in the eastbound lane en route to a doctor's appointment in Washington, Illinois. "Oh my gosh, Mom, I just saw a cat!" Kim is reported to have exclaimed to her mother according to the June 26th edition of The Journal Star of Peoria. (See "Tiny Kitten Hitches a Ride to a New Home.")
Sure enough when Carol looked up from the road she, too, saw a diminutive tortoiseshell cowering against the wall of the bridge as the traffic, only a precariously few feet away, whizzed on by without either slowing down or stopping. (See photo below of the bridge.)
The Joneses continued on to their appointment but on their way back they were surprised to see that the kitten had not moved from where they had spotted it several hours previously. Carol immediately turned around and retraced her route back across the bridge.
Once they reached the kitten, Kim jumped out and attempted to corral it a pied but it took off running. She then got back in the car and she and her mother attempted to chase it down that way.
They eventually caught up with it but when they got out of their chariot it had mysteriously vanished seemingly into thin air. "We looked around, under the car, in the wheel wells, everywhere and...nothing. It doesn't make any logical sense now, but all I could think of at the time was she had fallen through a grate into the river," Carol told The Journal Star in the article cited supra.
Dejectedly, Carol and Kim got back into their vehicle and continued on to their home in West Peoria. They soon forget about the stranded kitten but, as things turned out, that was only a temporary state of mind.
Two days later on June 24th, Carol and her husband, Russ, were in their garage loading up their car when she heard a faint meow. At first she thought that she had lost her mind. "I thought to myself, 'That's ridiculous. No way. I've got to get that cat out of my mind'," she later recalled.
Other telltale signs indicating the presence of a cat soon were detected and this prompted Carol and Russ to initiate a full-scale search of the premises. A little bit later a kitten was spotted hiding between an old box and a Coleman stove. It just was not any kitten, however, but the one Carol had seen on the bridge two days earlier!
In retrospect, it is obvious that the kitten the Joneses now call Miracle had secreted herself somewhere in the undercarriage of Jones's auto when she had stopped on the bridge and hitchhiked a ride back to her garage. She and Kim simply had not done a thorough enough job of looking for her.
An analogous situation occurred on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island on June 12th when Judge Catherine DiDomenico attempted to rescue an abandoned kitten named Lucky. On that momentous occasion, DiDomenico positioned her car over the kitten so as to shield it from the oncoming traffic.
The terrified kitten then crawled into one of the wheel wells. It is conceivable that Lucky's presence also might have gone undetected by the judge if two off-duty police officers had not arrived on the scene and spotted her. (See Cat Defender post of July 2, 2009 entitled "Three-Week-Old Lucky Is Rescued by a Staten Island Judge after She Is Tossed Out the Window of a Pickup Truck on Hylan Boulevard.")
The Joneses took Miracle to a local veterinarian where was pronounced to be dehydrated and hungry but otherwise in pretty good shape. Almost as important as being alive, she does not have to worry about either being sent to a shelter or spending nights on the street in that she now has a permanent, forever home with the kindhearted Joneses.
On a considerably more troubling note, it is quite obvious that Miracle did not wind up on the busy McClugage Bridge through her own volition; au contraire, she was purposefully dumped there.
"We figured someone had a litter of kittens they didn't want and tossed them into the river. This little one didn't make it over the wall," Carol theorized for The Journal Star. "It's just terrible, heartbreaking. But I'm thrilled we were able to save her and give her a home and a second chance."
Assuming that Carol is correct in her analysis of events, Miracle was indeed doubly fortunate not to have been either drowned in Lake Peoria or struck and killed by a motorist. The odds of her being able to best her would-be murderer and thousands of unconscionable, kamikaze motorists are astronomical.
As revolting as it is, disposing of unwanted cats on busy highways and in streams is a common practice. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2009 entitled "Pretty Little Sleepy Survives a Suffocation and Starvation Attempt on Her Life Thanks to the Timely Intervention of a Mattress Store Employee.")
Par exemple, on December 27, 2005 a calico cat subsequently named Lucky was stuffed into a cage with a sixteen-pound brick and tossed into the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana. Fortunately, she landed on an ice floe and was spotted by a passerby who alerted the local fire department who in turn mounted a successful rescue.
Even before that attempt on her life, Lucky had been almost starved to death by her guardian as well as nearly throttled by a collar that was wound too tightly around her tiny neck. (See Cat Defender post of January 13, 2006 entitled "Montana Firefighters Rescue Lucky Calico Cat Who Was Caged and Purposefully Thrown into an Icy River.")
On May 5, 2008, a gray mother cat was crammed into a sack with a brick and tossed into the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet Creek in Newfield, New York. Her deadly plunge was interrupted when the sack caught in a dead tree and a passerby happened along and noticed her plight. Malheureusement, her kittens never were found. (See photo above.)
On May 12th of last year, a ten-year-old dark-gray domestic cat from Hampton, New Hampshire, was sealed up inside a gym bag with forty to fifty pounds of rocks and left on the beach to drown when the tide came in and inundated her in six feet of water. Compounding matters further, the poor cat already was obese and suffered from heart disease. (See Cat Defender post of May 20, 2008 entitled "Malice Aforethought: Upstate New York Cat Is Saved from a Watery Grave by a Dead Tree and a Passerby; New Hampshire Cat Is Not So Fortunate.")
The number of cats purposefully disposed of each year on highways and in rivers must be in the thousands. Worst still, it is almost unheard of for any of the perpetrators of these monstrous crimes to ever be apprehended and punished.
The drowning and suffocation of kittens is even more pervasive. In recent memory, at least two individuals who were caught committing these heinous offenses have received the blessings of the disgraceful American legal establishment. (See Cat Defender posts of July 3, 2006 and May 14, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Crooked Massachusetts Cops Allow Politician to Get Away with Attempting to Drown a Kitten Named Lucky Girl" and "Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens.")
Perhaps even more sobering, this odious practice of disposing of unwanted kittens as if they were nothing more than worn-out pairs of shoes is so old and pervasive that even Helen M. Winslow, supposedly a cat-lover, bragged about how many kittens that she had killed in her book, Concerning Cats.
In conclusion, Miracle is without a doubt a very special cat to have survived her ordeal on the McClugage Bridge. Much the same sentiments apply to Carol and Kim in that there are not too many individuals who would have gone to the extraordinary lengths that they did in order to save a kitten in extremis.
The Fates brought Miracle and the Joneses together and nothing but good things are destined to result from this improbable set of circumstances. It also is a good bet that Miracle will strive to repay Carol and Kim for saving her life for as long as she lives and that, hopefully, will be for a long, long time.
Photos: Leslie Renken of The Journal Star (Miracle and Carol), Weather Bonk (McClugage Bridge), and Tompkins County SPCA (surviving mother cat).