Scarlett the cat is the definition of selfless heroism. She saved her kittens from a fire without hesitation-walking through the flames multiple times to save each of her kittens one by one. Scarlett has been praised as a feline hero all over the world.
Scarlett was a stray cat living in Brooklyn. She was just under a year when she gave birth to her litter of five kittens. On March 30, 1996, Scarlett and her kittens were living in an abandon garage when a huge fire broke out. The New York Fire Department responded to the call about the fire and worked to extinguish it as soon as possible. As the fire was being controlled, a firefighter that was tending to the scene, David Gianelli, noticed a cat carrying tiny kittens one by one away from the blaze. The mother cat had been severely hurt and burned during her heroic actions of pulling her kittens to safety from the fire. Her fur had been singed, her ears and paws severely burnt, and her eyes blistered shut.
After saving her kittens from the fire, Scarlett continued her motherly duties by checking that each of her five kittens were okay and alive, by touching them with her nose. After Scarlett fearlessly saved her kittens from the blaze, she collapsed unconscious. Thankfully, firefighter Gianelli had noticed her and took Scarlett and her kittens to the North Shore Animal League Veterinary Clinic. Unfortunately, the weakest of Scarlett’s kittens passed away a month after the fire due to a virus. Scarlett and her surviving kittens were cared for three months at the clinic, allowing them to fully recover.
Scarlett and her kittens were adopted out once they were healthy and strong enough. Scarlett and her kittens were met with great fanfare once they were placed up for adoption, with over 7,000 letters offering to adopt them being received by the clinic. Scarlett was adopted by Karen Wellen, an animal lover-with a special spot for animals that have special needs. Scarlett’s kittens were adopted in two pairs so that they could with a loved sibling.
Scarlett passed away on October 11, 2008, but her legacy lives on. The North Shore Animal League created an award in her name to give to other animal heroes. Her powerful story being is also used to promote public relations and fundraising efforts for animal shelters