Last week, a team of reporters from the Detroit Free Press began a trip down the Mississippi River in search of Asian carp. But on Monday, they found a different kind of creature.
Reporter Tina Lam and photographer Brian Kaufman set out on May 2 to take a seven-state journey to discover how far the Asian carp has traveled toward the Great Lakes and what is being done to contain the invasive species. The carp originally escaped from southern aquaculture facilities in the deep south and have multiplied to the point that they have become a significant threat to native fish.
But on May 9, when Tennessee wildlife officer Ronnie Capps took the team out on the flooded river in Ridgely, Tenn., near the border with Missouri, they found an orange tabby cat desperately clinging to life on a burst levee.
“Ronnie guessed the bedraggled, half-soaked animal had been there about a week, since the waters started rising,” the reporters wrote in their travel journal. “It looked hopeless and half-dead with water gushing all around it.”
Capps and the reporters managed to get the flood victim into their boat, where it meowed frantically. The team sped to dry land, but before they could pick the cat up and bring it to a rescue facility, it jumped off the boat and raced into the tall grass.
Editor’s note: Although this cat was found in northwestern Tennessee, we shared this story on the Facebook group Displaced Animals Eastern Tn from 4/27 storms in hopes that people in the group could report it to volunteers and rescuers in that area.