Florida Man Rescues Terrified Cat From Hurricane Ian’s Catastrophic Storm Surge

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on October 3, 2022

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Caya Costa, Florida, as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 150mph. But just before the eyewall came washing ashore, battering the state’s southern peninsula with torrential rains and destructive winds, Mike Ross and his mom, Mary Beth, spied a lone feline stranded in the raging storm. Perched atop an air conditioner unit and scared to death, the cat was pinned in place by the storm surge washing into the area with brutal force.

But despite the quickly deteriorating conditions there in Bonita Springs, Mike couldn’t leave the orange and white kitty to a watery fate and braved the dangerous surge to earn himself a new friend for life.

Trapped By Storm Surge

When hurricanes hit, these massive storms have the power to create a storm surge that’s almost impossible to imagine. You can be standing in a roadway or neighborhood, and within seconds, water floods the area in an angry rush that doesn’t stop. Anyone caught in that destruction finds themselves in mortal danger. And that’s the trouble this poor cat found herself in as Hurricane Ian roared into southwest Florida.

But before the waters could sweep the kitty away, Mike and his mom glanced out the window of his parent’s “fortress” against hurricanes and saw the cat sitting on top of the elevated air conditioner unit as the storm surge pushed in.

He told The Washington Post the cat was “terrified.” In Mike’s mind, there was no way he could leave the cat out in the storm, so the longtime Floridian braved the surge and brought the kitty to safety.

RELATED: Hurricane Season Is Here. Are You and Your Cat Prepared?

Marybeth Ross, Mike’s mom, captured video of Mike wading through the surge to get to the kitty as more and more water rushed in, coming in harder and faster with every passing second. And quite aware of this fact, the worried cat could be seen clinging to Mike’s shoulder as he cradled her tightly to his chest and carried her to the safety of indoors.

Proud of her son, Marybeth can be heard saying, “Look at Michael saving the kitty. Awww.”

Mike’s girlfriend Megan shared the video on Twitter, where it’s been viewed more than 3 million times. And because this sweet cat came into their life at the hands of a hurricane, the couple named their new feline friend Ian. But a little time with Ian revealed that he was actually a she, so Ian became Storm.

Raising Relief for Those Left in Ian’s Path

Since rescuing Storm from the storm and learning their home was flooded by ten feet of water, Megan and Mike have started a GoFundMe page to help raise money so they and others can begin to rebuild.

“We are a young couple in Naples, FL raising money to help restore our home — which suffered terrible damage — and the homes of others after the devastation seen from Hurricane Ian,” Megan shared.

“In honor of Ian, and all people and pets affected, we are donating half of the proceeds raised by this to the Naples Humane Society.”

Storm nearly met her end in the watery grip of nature’s fury. But thanks to Mike, this good cat has her paws back on dry ground. Mike and Megan are searching out the cat’s family, but if none can be found, Storm will find her forever home with them. And together, they’ll rebuild their lives.

URGENT: Help Pets in Hurricane Ian’s Path

Feature Image: @MeganScavo/Twitter

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