The story of homeless Scarlett is, probably, one of the most touching, unbelievable and heart-stirring over the last decades. Being homeless, at first, this cat became one of the top-figures in press, both newspapers and TVs: even Oprah Winfrey has talked about her in own talk-show! In 1996 Scarlett saved her five children during the fire and not so long ago, in 2008, she died after a long-term sickness and ensuring consequences of skin burns.
The valor and bravery of Scarlett enslaved hearts of many people, which made her long and winding way to fame worth talking about.
Before the life-changing moment, Scarlett lived in an old Brooklyn garage in New York, taking care of five kittens not older than four weeks. On March 29th 1996 the fateful accident happened and heroic actions of Scarlett alerted an attention of David Gianelli, one of the firemen, who was really astonished by little cat getting back to the fire for five times (Scarlett was able to take only one kid from fire per time). One could only imagine how much pain the cat experienced while getting over the fire! While gathering kittens into the box, David Gianelli watched how Scarlett, with closed puffy eyes, re-counted her children by pushing each with the nose: only after she was sure everyone is save, the cat blacked out.
The interesting thing is that it was not a first time, when David saved poor animals out of a fire: ten years before he has already taken a wounded dog after the fire to the North Shore Animal League, where he was cured. So, this time there was no way Scarlett would not be taken there, where she also received her name after famous female character of “Gone with the wind”. The cat was sent to the intensive care immediately and placed in an oxygen chamber. The animal had badly burnt hair and legs, swollen eyes and ears damaged. Although, it was not the only sad payoff followed after: one of the kittens was completely prostrated and veterinaries could not save him.
Hence, the mother and four children stayed for three months for the recovery and then were ready to seek home (as you may guess after such a touching story and fame received, it is impossible to imagine that these animals would remain homeless). The kittens were placed in nice families in pairs not far from North Shore Animal League, which continued to take care of Scarlett and her children during all her life. Three of them are alive even today and one has died from cancer in the same 2008.
The fate of Scarlett was determined, when she was taken by Karen Wellen from Brooklyn, who put all her efforts to take care of Scarlett till her death. Here Scarlett experienced the full recovery and had a good lifetime of 10 years. In 2008, Scarlett’s state of health has deteriorated; she suffered kidney failure, the heart noise, lymphoma and other diseases. All in all, Karen had to make a dramatic and hard decision of mercy killing to stop the agony of her pet, which happened on October 2008, when Scarlett peacefully passed in Karen’s arms.
Nowadays no one can deny that Scarlett appears to be the example of true hero, best of cats or any other animal, which sacrificed a lot to save all of her children and even after the accident she had a rough patch to a normal life of the pet. In order to glorify brave actions of this cat, North Shore Animal League has established the Scarlett Award for Animal Heroism, so, it is possible that every year people will be reminded of Scarlett’s noble gesture as a new animal will get the prize.