Cat Man Chris Rescues Tiny Tortie From Busy Highway As Traffic Flies By!

Photo: Cole and Marmalade

A tiny 5-week old Tortie kitten was found laying flat on her stomach in the middle of a busy road in Tampa, Florida on Monday.

Photo: Cole and Marmalade ~ Safe and sound after her ordeal

Luckily the horrible position for this kitten to be in, was also the most fortunate for her in these circumstances.

With traffic on Sheldon Rd flying by at a minimum of the posted 45 mph speed limit, one woman was caring enough to stop for the little kitten. Fate intervened and the car behind the woman just happened to be a Big Cat Rescue staff member; our friend, Jen Leon!

Jen was terrified when she saw the little kitten, who she thought had been hit by a car, laying flat on the road. But then, the kitten jumped up and ran up into the wheel well of the woman’s car! Victor, also from Big Cat Rescue, and Chris Poole, a.k.a. “Cat Man Chris” and Cole and Marmalade‘s dad, were quick to rush to the scene.

With Big Cat Rescue just down the road and the CaM family living in the area, we are all very familiar with the busy roadway and horrible drivers (sorry Tampa, but it’s the truth). With the woman’s car housing the kitten stow-away in a turn lane, the trio had to be very careful that they were not putting themselves in danger while dodging the cars. They were also concerned that the frightened kitten would bolt back out into traffic.

Photo: Cole and Marmalade ~ Chris and Victor locate the little kitten in the wheel well of the car

You can hear Jen warn Chris that “If he runs out, I’m going to drop your camera Chris, and grab him. So FYI!”

Victor held a light on the poor kitten up in the wheel well while Chris, fully gloved, slid himself under the rear of the car. Jen did her best to direct the traffic around the team while trying keep everyone out of harm’s way. You can see the traffic barely slows down at all for the group.

Photo: Cole and Marmalade ~ Victor helps illuminate Chris’s efforts

Fortunately, Chris was able to reach the little girl quickly and safely pull her from the precarious position. With a quick check to confirm she was not visually injured in any way, they got her into the carrier and everyone moved to a safer place off the busy highway.

They searched for a mother cat and signs of any other kittens but weren’t able to find anything. Chris went back later that night to continue looking after traffic died down and will continue to do so for the next few days. So far, there are no signs of her family in the area.

Photo: JessiCAT; Cole and Marmalade ~ She’s definitely not showing any feral traits!

For now, Chris brought the little girl back to the CaM household to foster. We set up the outdoor “kitten halfway house” until she could be checked out by a vet. With Marm being FIV+, our first priority is to ensure he is not exposed to any diseases or viruses that could affect his compromised immune system.

Due to her misadventures dodging traffic and an adorable little zig-zag pattern of coloring on her nose, Jess named her “Zig Zag” or “Ziggy” since it seems we always default to a nickname right away.

Photo: Cole and Marmalade – Zig Zag pattern on her nose gave her, her name. Let’s get those little sad eyes happy now!

She was very scared and with what she went through, it’s not surprising in the least, so we are being very patient with her. There is little to indicate that she is a feral as you can pick her up with no fuss and she happily accepts being pet. 

However, upon closer inspection it looks like although little Zig Zag has no wounds from her ordeal, she does have ringworm. We began treating her for that right away and with the help of the amazing St. Francis Society Animal Rescue foster team, should have her fixed up in no time.

Photo: JessiCAT; Cole and Marmalade ~ Ringworm spot on her front leg. She also has it on her neck and the tip of her tail

Fortunately we did make the right decision to keep her isolated from Cole, Marmalade and the Pointer Sister fosters in the house, as ringworm is very contagious. Lots of washing up after we visit with her is a MUST! She is slow to eat but Jess was able to get her to nibble some baby food off of her finger. At least she does have an appetite, she just needs to realize she’s safe now so she can begin to heal, physically and emotionally.

Thankfully, Zig Zag has no sign of dehydration and no fleas. We aren’t sure if she was dumped on the road as it seems unlikely in the middle of rush hour…in full daylight…with lots of traffic nearby, someone would chance this. She may have also climbed up into someone’s vehicle and then fallen out of the car when they were driving. So it’s possible she originated from an entirely different area.

Photo: JessiCAT; Cole and Marmalade ~ Little Ziggy’s purrfect profile

Wherever her life began and her journey took her, fate smiled upon this little girl this day.

Rescuers were in the right place at the right time to help Zig Zag. We couldn’t have helped save her without the dedication of the cat lovers at Big Cat Rescue and the caring woman who stopped to help a lonely little kitten in the road.

We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on Ziggy’s progress while we’re fostering this sweet little baby who is sure to grow up into one gorgeous tortie!

Remember to Adopt, Don’t Shop and always Spay/Neuter your pets! 

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  1. Chris that was not Gunn Hwy, but Sheridan Rd, in the Citrus Park, section of Tampa , I know because I LIVED there for 12 months; 5 days;
    17 hours; 45 mins and 14 seconds!!
    I will NEVER forget Tampa!!
    Thanks for saving these sweet

    • so glad you were able to rescue zigzag. You are such a caring man but then I am sure Cole and Marm have you well trained

  2. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, love, purrs and scritches from my furry overlady Tigger in the UK xxx

  3. I had the same situation but it occurred in my backyard.. A Calico stray kitty the same age as ziggy. Was in my fiance car motor and he open the hatch and pick her out from it and handed to me. I took her in and gave her a happy home. She is a girl and had worms in her lungs the vet gave me medicine for her and checked her out and health wise is great!!! I name her pixie lee and now as of next month she will be a year old. So what you guys did to save that kitty there should be more people like you in this life we live. So happy to know that the kitten you saved is doing good. And please keep posted on how she’s doing ok cause my baby girl pixie lee means the world to me. Just like that precious little baby girl you have and saved. And thanks for sharing this precious moment ok

  4. Thank you, Thank you. Thank you. Wish there were more people like you and the rescue.
    I have a little tortie and she has the same stripe down her pretty face.

    • Me, too! Someone set her out last year at the dumpster behind Dollar General, where I feed the now feral throwaways. As soon as I saw that little stripe, I made my plan to catch her! Will post her pic on Cole & Marmalade’s Facebook page.

  5. Ziggy looks like a real sweetheart. She definitely looked frightened after her ordeal. Ziggy’s day surely started out rough but it definitely turned out much better having some of the best rescuers come to her aid. Thanks so much to the lady who stopped, Jen, Victor and Chris. May Ziggy’s life go in a much better direction from now on. Best wishes for Ziggy to recover quickly from the ringworm and find a loving furever home.

  6. It fills my day with happiness just knowing that people like you exist and do such a wonderful job! Lots of love and thanks for being caring humans.

  7. Has anyone ever commented on how much like Eldad Hagar you look and being as how you’re in the rescue business, how much like him you are? So much compassion for animals especially kitties! You and your wife are wonderful people.

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