As soon as John Debacker got the call about a lone cat stranded in the middle of New York City’s Grand Central Parkway, he knew he had to get there quickly. There were four lanes of heavy traffic on either side of the cat, and the longer it took him to get there, the more likely she was to run.
The experienced cat rescuer dropped everything he was doing, called his friend Karenlynn Starcher for backup, and drove straight to the scene. When he got there, he instantly spotted the scared cat standing on the center median.
Debacker pulled over on the westbound side of the highway and made his way over to the cat with Starcher by his side. On top of having to work quickly, they knew they had to approach her carefully so that she wouldn’t bolt.
With cars whipping past them, the duo walked along the center median until the cat was right in front of them. Debacker draped a blanket over his hands and reached out to grab her, but she sensed his movement and immediately ran the other way.
Horrified, Debacker and Starcher watched as the cat crossed the eastbound lanes. She weaved in between speeding cars in the first two lanes, but as she crossed the third lane, she was struck.
“I immediately hopped the barrier and forced traffic to a stop where the cat was seen laying in the number 3 lane,” Debacker wrote in a Facebook post, ”still alive, but stunned.”
As Debacker ran over to the cat on the eastbound side, Starcher recovered their trap from the westbound lanes.
“I grabbed her with all of my might and I wrapped her in a blanket …” Debacker wrote.
Debacker crossed the highway again, this time with the cat safely in his arms, and the duo secured her in the cage.
Miraculously, the cat had no visible injuries. Even though she was stunned, she seemed OK. So, Debacker named her Miracle.
Debacker drove Miracle straight to the emergency vet, where they gave her a full medical evaluation. Just as Debacker had suspected, she was in nearly perfect shape.
“She survived with no injuries,” Debacker told The Dodo.
Debacker scanned Miracle for a microchip, and, luckily, she had one.
“It came up to over a mile away from where she was found,” Debacker said, “so we were able to reunite her with her parents.”
Miracle, whose real name is Flamingo, was reunited with her parents as soon as her health was cleared by the vet. Debacker doesn’t know how Flamingo found her way to the middle of the busy highway, but he’s thankful that she made it out OK.
Now, Debacker gets update pictures from Flamingo’s parents of the sweet cat curled up in her bed — cozy at home, where she belongs. Her parents are thankful that Debacker saved their beloved cat, while the dedicated rescuer is grateful that so many drivers stopped that day and allowed him to do so.
“Seeing all lanes of traffic come to a halt for an animal was an amazing sight to see,” Debacker wrote, “seeing so many people care.”