Kind man paddles out to save little animal treading water in middle of bay

Lindsay Buchanan was walking to her car to head to work one morning when her neighbor rushed up to her and told her she’d noticed a cat swimming in the nearby bay in front of their neighborhood. The bay is surrounded by a very tall sea wall, making it nearly impossible for even a human to climb out if they’ve fallen in, let alone an animal, meaning it was definitely an emergency situation.

“She had been watching the water with binoculars and saw ‘two little triangles’ sticking out of the water,” Buchanan told The Dodo. “She kept watch while making calls to get help for about 40 minutes, but everyone she spoke to said that wasn’t in their job description to do water rescues for animals.

She had been watching the cat swim aimlessly, pulled along by the current, meanwhile birds were circling and swooping down. She then went outside to find help when she saw me and told me what was happening. I immediately alerted my family to hurry outside as well while keeping my eye on the cat’s location in the water.”

Buchanan’s sister was just about ready to jump into the water to grab the cat and figure things out from there when they remembered they had another neighbor who owned a ladder — one that he had purchased for just such an occasion — and a paddle board. They quickly alerted him to what was happening and enlisted him to paddle out and rescue the cat.

“I kept my eyes trained on the cat’s location with binoculars in case he went under,” Buchanan said. “It was nerve-racking watching the neighbor paddle out, but he finally got there, grabbed the cat and placed him on the paddle board. The cat didn’t struggle. He was exhausted and meowing loudly the whole ride back to the sea wall. We were all so relieved and thankful he was saved!”

Buchanan rushed the cat, later named Baby, back to her apartment to get him dried off and cleaned up. She figured he would be pretty out of sorts after his ordeal, but he was actually strangely calm.

“He was acting totally fine — friendly and exploring the room,” Buchanan said. “He didn’t act at all like he’d just survived a near-death experience!”

After a trip to the vet, they discovered that Baby was actually blind, which may be how he ended up in the bay in the first place. Unfortunately, they also found that he’d contracted a flesh-eating bacteria from the water, and it took quite a long time for poor Baby to heal from that. After tons of medication and lots of rest, though, he was finally healed and could actually start to enjoy his life post-rescue.

“We searched extensively for his owners to no avail,” Buchanan said. “When it became clear there wasn’t a loving home to return him to, I couldn’t resist making him a member of my family! I love animals and had bonded with him immediately. I wanted to give him the great life he deserved!”

Baby is now all settled in and loving his new life. His blindness doesn’t affect him at all, and he has become the leader of the family’s cat pack. He went from struggling in the bay to being cuddled up with daily with all of his loved ones, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

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