In January 2017 a man was driving along an icy road when he noticed something unusual. There, on the verge of the road, was a strange lump in the snow. And when he noticed that the object was furry, the driver immediately thought the worst.
Slava Lobanov lives in Minsk, Belarus. There, he works as a blogger and actor and is also something of a YouTube sensation. On the video-sharing site, he boasts more than 9,000 subscribers and one million views.
It’s also fair to say that Lobanov is obsessed with cats. Back in 2014 he and his girlfriend rescued an abandoned kitty outside their home. And it was clear to see that the animal wasn’t in a good way at all.
“It was back in December 2014 in Belarus. When we were back home at the apartment, we found a tiny kitten in a box,” Lobanov explained to cat-lovers website Love Meow. So after nursing him back to health, they named him Catpusic and kept him as their own.
From that point on, Lobanov spent his days documenting his cat’s exploits on YouTube and social media. According to Lobanov, Pusic is “smart, funny and energetic.” So Lobanov decided to share his every move with his growing following of fans.
However, in January 2017 Lobanov posted a video on his YouTube page that wasn’t about his beloved Pusic. It transpired that the animal lover had been driving along a frozen road when something caught his eye. There, on the side of the snow-covered road, was a strange bundle.
As Lobanov got closer to the scene, he noticed what seemed to be a ball of fur. “I thought it was an animal and it must be freezing in this weather,” he told Love Meow in March 2017. However, every other motorist was simply driving on by.
Lobanov decided that he would have to pull over just in case there was a life hanging in the balance. However, the temperature was below freezing, meaning the chance of any animal surviving for long was minimal. So when the rescuer realized that it was a small, fragile kitten covered in snow, things didn’t seem promising.
But miraculously, the tiny furball was still alive. “It was very cold, so I wrapped her up in a towel and brought her back to my car,” Lobanov told Love Meow. “I turned up the heat to full capacity to help remove the frost on her coat.”
Then Lobanov drove the frozen kitten to his father’s house. There, the pair prepared a warm and cozy bed for the cat. They also turned on a radiator and placed a lamp near him. And according to Lobanov, the animal showed her appreciation with a number of loud purrs.
As the cat began to thaw out, her personality seemed to warm up too. She played with Lobanov and rolled over within her blankets. It was as if she knew she was finally safe. Lobanov, meanwhile, decided to name the kitten Nika.
As he was looking after Nika, Lobanov came up with a theory as to how she had become stranded. “I think that the kitten got lost and ended up in a field with a few trees,” he told Love Meow. “She couldn’t find the exit due to heavy snow and did not have the strength to move.” Still, at least now she was on the mend – or so it seemed.
When Nika was well enough, Lobanov took her to a veterinary clinic where she could get a medical examination. There, a vet confirmed that the cat was around six months old. Furthermore, concerningly, they discovered that she had developed frostbite.
As a result, Nika was put to sleep for surgery. During the operation, vets amputated half of her frozen tail. However, despite her ordeal, the cat remained one of the friendliest felines Lobanov had come across.
“She knew that we were trying to help,” he subsequently told Love Meow. “She was patient, did not complain and was very sweet the whole time.” And thankfully, little Nika was soon on the road to recovery.
Just a fortnight later, Nika had returned to her usual, exuberant self. Video footage from this time shows the animal gleefully chasing a piece of string around Lobanov’s home. “She is an active cat who likes to play and run,” he explained to Love Meow.
Following Nika’s rescue, Lobanov decided to post the footage of her recovery on his YouTube page. And the cat’s extraordinary story certainly proved popular. Indeed, within a matter of days, more than 100,000 people had watched her video.
Many viewers couldn’t resist sharing their well-wishes with Lobanov and Nika. “Billion thanks for saving this beautiful kitten,” read one typical comment. “I am happy to see she is doing fine now and lives with a human family who cares for her.”
Another YouTube user added, “You are an angel. Thanks so much for saving this baby. I just can’t understand how people didn’t help the kitten. The cat will always be thankful to you too.”
Today, Nika is eight months old. And Lobanov has found her the perfect forever home, where she’s now living her happily-ever-after with her new family. She’ll certainly never have to worry about being left out in the cold ever again.