One summer’s day, a family were enjoying a day out sailing on the open seas. Their carefree excursion took an alarming turn, however, when they noticed a dark object in the water. And while they approached with caution, nothing could have prepared them for the shock of what they’d find.
Natalia Nikitina lives in the Russian city of Novorossiysk. The bustling urban center lies on the shores of the Black Sea, which separates Eastern Europe from Western Asia. As a result, the city’s inhabitants enjoy easy access to the surrounding waters.
With that in mind, in July 2017 Nikitina and her family decided to take full advantage of their home’s proximity to the sea. It was a pleasant summer’s day, too, so they took to the water to enjoy a carefree afternoon of swimming and sailing.
When they began their jaunt, the family were, however, blissfully unaware that their day would take a dramatic twist. So it was that they took off in their boat and began tracking a particularly quiet stretch of coastline. Soon, then, they were enjoying the peace and tranquility that comes with being far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Just when Nikitina and her family likely thought they’d left the worries of the world behind them, though, something caught their attention. Cutting through the soothing sounds of the waves were what sounded like some tiny cries. Specifically, the noises seemed to be coming from a nearby rocky outcrop.
The family couldn’t, however, identify the source of the crying. But then as the noise grew louder and louder, something on the horizon caught their eyes. “The sound gradually intensified,” Nikitina subsequently told The Dodo in July 2017. “At first it was nearly invisible, but then I could see this black spot moving in the distance.”
As the family approached the dark object, they were, moreover, horrified to realize that it was a creature in desperate need of help. “It was a kitten,” Nikitina explained. “She jumped over the stony bank, following our voices. She jumped from stone to stone and crossed the snags.”
But as they looked on, the kitten was just one wrongly placed paw away from falling into the sea. The family therefore tried to steer their boat as close to the cliffside as they could. However, because the water below was shallow and contained large rocks, they couldn’t get anywhere near to the baby cat.
As the family tried to work out a way to rescue the animal, though, the little cat took the initiative and, incredibly, began making her way over to them. “While we thought about what to do, she jumped into the water and swam,” Nikitina recalled.
Worried about the risk of the kitten drowning, then, two of Nikitina’s family members followed the cat into the water. And while another member of the party filmed, one of the men pulled the helpless animal from the sea. Meanwhile, another of the crew slipped a bodyboard beneath the tiny creature, and from there they steered her back to the safety of the boat.
As they then approached the vessel, one of the group grabbed the kitten from the board and lifted her into the boat. They subsequently dried her with a towel and checked her over. And although she was naturally very tired and hungry, all things considered, she was fortunate to have survived.
The creature was lucky, too, to have been found by such a compassionate group of people. They stayed on the water for some time to ensure that no other members of the kitten’s litter were in need of help. Then, once they were sure that there were no other animals to rescue, they transported the damp cat back to shore.
With her feet firmly on dry land, the kitten then feasted on a meal of fresh fish. And while the young cat enjoyed what may have been her first food in days, her rescuers began to theorize about how she’d ended up on the coastline. Sadly, moreover, they believed that someone had dumped her there.
Nikitina pointed out that the kitten appeared to respond to human voices. As a result, she’d known that the family in the boat were her best chance of survival, which is why she’d risked her life to get to them. And if she hadn’t made such an effort to get their attention, it’s fairly certain that she would have perished on the rocks.
For Nikitina and her family, it was simply a case of being in the right place at the right time. And they were very glad that the little animal had taken a chance on them – even if her options were limited. “The kitten had no other choice. These are very deserted places,” Nikitina said. “We just happened to be there.”
Later, one of Nikitina’s relatives uploaded the footage of the kitten’s dramatic rescue to Facebook, and it didn’t take long for the video to go viral. In a matter of months, more than 59,000 people had tuned in to watch the action unfold.
What’s more, the kindness of Nikitina’s family didn’t end with the rescue. Nikitina’s mother in fact later adopted the kitten, calling her Aurora. And with a full support system around her, the tiny cat soon transformed into a loving and playful pet. That said, her experience had left some scars.
“At home she always wants to be close to people,” Nikitina explained. “She’s afraid to be alone.” But Aurora’s new family are providing her with all the love and support she needs, and they hope that, with time, she’ll overcome her issues.
They can be quietly confident. For although she may have a way to go in terms of her full recovery, Aurora is coming on leaps and bounds in her new home. Photographs from her first few months there showed her making herself at home on the sofa. The pics also revealed that she was fond of the odd cuddle.
So it’s safe to say that little Aurora landed on her feet when she crawled onto Nikitina’s family’s boat that day. Then again, according to her owners, it’s they who are the lucky ones. “We received a priceless gift!” Nikitina said of the day on which Aurora swam into their lives.