Kevan Yeats with his cat Momo at his parent’s house near Okotoks, Alberta on June 21, 2013. Yeats and Momo narrowly avoided death when they leapt from Yeats’ truck in flowing flood waters in High River, Alberta on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jordan Verlage
As with most disasters, the floods that have washed out Calgary and large parts of southern Alberta have produced an animal hero.
Photographer Jordan Verlage captured an incredible escape from a sinking vehicle on Thursday as Kevan Yeats and his cat Momo squeezed through the back window of a pickup truck and swam to safety in the streets of High River, Alberta.
You’d think swimming through the streets would be a worse fate than drowning for the cat, but apparently Momo is quite the accomplished swimmer.
According to Verlage, Momo regularly paddles around the bathtub at home.
From the Canadian Press
OKOTOKS — The owner of a cat that gained international fame after leaping from a submerged pickup truck into Alberta floodwaters says he was surprised at how eagerly the feline took to the rushing water.
Kevan Yeats says while Momo would sometimes go for a brief paddle in his bathtub, he had no idea the cat would plunge into the water and nimbly swim across a flooded street to dry land.
Yeats says he and Momo were riding in his truck when it hit a deep spot and was subsumed by the overflowing Highwood River in High River on Thursday.
He says he quickly smashed out the back window of the vehicle’s cab before hopping into the truck bed with the eight-month-old cat in his arms.
Momo then took the initiative, jumping into the water and paw-paddling to safety.
The moment was captured by a photographer with The Canadian Press in images that went viral and garnered international media attention as a symbol of hope amidst the devastating flooding.
Yeats followed in the cat’s wake and they both made it to shore and were pulled to safety, with Momo making a beeline to shelter underneath a tree.
Yeats, a ranch worker, had gone back home just to rescue Momo and said they were making their escape from the flooding when the vehicle was swept away.
He said when the water finally gushed into the truck’s cab one thought rushed into his mind: “Leave everything else behind but save everything that’s alive.”
Yeats said despite Momo’s playful dips in his bathtub, the cat’s swim that day shocked him.
“She’s quite the swimmer. She loves water — but I didn’t know she could swim that far.”