Florida man saves cat as water levels rise in Hurricane Ian

A Florida man celebrates after saving a stranded cat from the wrath of Hurricane Ian.

A terrifying cat with orange and white fur hovers over an installed air-conditioning unit, while a steady stream of water surges beneath it. Mike Ross, 29, saw the frightened cat from the window and ran outside immediately.

Ross, who lives in Bonita Springs, southwest Florida, has evacuated to his parents’ nearby home to avoid the storm. His house was “10 feet underwater,” he said, and his parents had a “fortress” to protect against hurricanes.

When he looked out, he was stunned, a cat was sitting there alone. He couldn’t understand letting it run its course.

The cat was found stranded near Bonita Beach, Florida. (Video: Mary Beth Ross)

“The storm surge was already picking up,” Ross recalled, adding that the event occurred around 2 p.m. Wednesday, shortly before the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in southwest Florida with winds of 15 mph.

Having lived in the area his entire life, he was familiar with the hurricane, but said it was “absolutely scary”.

Ross said the cat looked “frightened”.

Knee-deep in the flood, Ross trudged toward the cat against the powerful current. When he got close, he picked up the abandoned animal, held it tightly to his chest, and carried it to safety.

Power outages top 1 million as Category 4 storm moves inland

Ross’ mother, Marybeth Ross, filmed the rescue on camera. In the background of the video, she can be heard saying: “Look at Michael saving the kitten. Wow.”

Ross’s girlfriend shared this video on twitter, the Internet quickly took notice. The video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times, with breathless comments flooding in.

“Absolute hero. Marry that man. Hope everyone is safe,” one person comment.

“I cried a lot,” another wrote.

“Sorry, Meghan, but he’s everyone’s boyfriend now,” Someone tweeted.

People also shared similar cat rescue stories: “Hurricane cats are an old Florida tradition. We picked up ours during Irma a few years ago. Can’t imagine a house without a tripod,” one person commentshare a photo of a cat.

While most praised Rose’s rescue efforts (the most common comments were: “Marry him.”), others expressed concern about the many animals that may not make it out of the storm alive.

“This kitten was saved, I didn’t expect how many people were not saved” one person tweeted. “It broke my heart.”

Ross, who works as a consultant at a software company, said he had the same fear. Still, he was relieved that at least one of the stranded pets was now safe and sound.

The cat is currently with Ross and his family, and if they can’t find an owner, the plan is to keep it.

Meanwhile, his new furry friend has a roof over his head and a loving home.

Best of all, the cat “appears to be healthy,” Ross said.

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