The heartwarming story of Kiki the cat and the people who saved his life
Special to the Bonanza
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The bedraggled kitten stumbled along the road — eyes glued shut from infection, dehydrated and weak and would have surely perished if not for the family who happened to be driving by.
“Turn around,” blurted Jeremy Page of Incline Village. “I saw a small white animal by the side of the road.”
Jeremy’s friend, Rusty Hall, a guide in Del Rio, Texas, whom the Page family was visiting, was taking Jeremy, wife Valerie and their three children on a fishing expedition to Devils River State Natural Area.
Amid some good-natured joking that Jeremy was surely seeing things, they turned the car around. And there was the kitten.
They got out of the car and Jeremy scooped up the kitten that was obviously injured and could not see, expecting to get scratched or bitten and perhaps, fleas, but the kitten succumbed meekly to the attention.
It was decided that the kitten might need some water so they cut the top off a water bottle and gave the kitty a drink, which he gladly accepted.
The children all gathered around and as Valerie put it, “he was in our hearts,” so back they went to town to find a vet.
The vet told them that he wasn’t mortally injured, and if he survives the night, he will make it. He was given intravenous fluids, some antibiotics and dressing for his wounds and spent the night at the vet.
The Page family was able to go about their day fishing while their new friend received care at the animal hospital. They returned the next day to find the kitten much improved and ready to be released.
There was no question that this tiny creature, by the vet’s estimate no more than 8 weeks old, was not going to be a new member of the Page household, so they set about naming him.
The three children all had ideas, so he was named Mufasa Captain Pussy Whiskers Thomas III — Kiki for short.
Kiki flew back to Lake Tahoe and took up residence with the Page family and the pet cockapoo, Zoe, who immediately adopted the injured animal. As animals often do, Zoe seemed to sense that Kiki was special and in need of a friend, so Zoe gently snuggled with the kitten and eventually played with him, as Kiki recovered from his ordeal.
The family surmised that Kiki had perhaps crawled into the hood of a parked car, while the engine was warm and somehow survived being transported until he fell or was flung out, where Jeremy’s sharp eyes spotted him as he tottered along the road.
That is one lucky cat, and as you can see from the photos, he has integrated happily into the lively Page household.
He’s an affectionate cat, following Valerie around the house as she attends to her chores, and if she dares stop for a moment, he stretches himself up her legs, begging to be picked up and cuddled.
As animal lovers know, sometimes a cat or a dog will find you and worm his way into your heart. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I rescued a cat that had been roaming the neighborhood.
I called Animal Control in Reno for a trap to help me catch him, as he was unapproachable. As he sat in the cage, awaiting transport to Reno, I bent down to tell him, “Don’t worry, I will take care of you”. He looked up at me with his big, frightened eyes and at that moment, he “entered my heart.”
He made the trip to Reno to the shelter to see if anyone claimed him and when no one did, I picked him up and let him go in the house, thinking that he was feral and that “this was going to be interesting.”
He was skittish for a time and watched me warily but now, two years later, he is very affectionate.
For those who aren’t natural animal lovers, perhaps open your hearts to the possibility and you might just find a furry friend and be unable to remember life without him.
You don’t need to wait for the animal to find you — generally there are about 3 dozen cats, 8-10 adult dogs and usually a selection of puppies waiting to steal your heart at the Pet Network in Incline Village. For those on the South Shore, visit or call Eldorado County Humane Society on Shakori Drive in South Lake Tahoe to find that special dog or cat waiting for you to take him home.
Toree Warfield is an avid nature lover, and writes this column to teach and stimulate interest in the marvels that surround us. See the new website: saveourplanetearth.com to read columns and to find links to bird song recordings, additional photos and other content.