Russell Crowe was training for the 2005 movie Cinderella Man, in which he plays boxer James J. Braddock, when he “took the bunch of blokes who had been beating me up for their pay check” — his trainers and fellow actors playing boxers in the movie — on a mountain bike ride in rural Australia.
After cresting a “particularly punishing hill” and stopping for a sip of water, Crowe wrote, he heard plaintive mews coming from the trees off the rural Australian trail.
“Underneath the swirl of sounds I heard something out of place. Was that a meow? I started to look around me. I heard it again. I took a few steps of the track into the rain forest. Thick with ferns and vines. One more step and then I saw it. A kitten…”
The baby cat was abandoned, and Crowe says he thinks the cat might have been dumped by a driver who passed the bicyclists a few minutes earlier.
“I looked back down the track and the boys were gaining on me,” he wrote. “I put the kitten in my backpack and rode on.”
After returning to camp, Crowe took the kitten out of his pack, showed it to his friends and told them he was going to give it to his mother, who had been talking about adopting a cat.
“There’s something reassuring in a bunch of big sweaty boxers going crazy over a kitten,” Crowe wrote. “We flew down the hill in a tight group and arrived back at my farm together where I presented my mother with this tiny baby kitten. She was floored. So happy.”
That was in 2003. Cinders lived for 17 years and died on June 9. Crowe shared the story of finding and adopting the beloved cat in a Twitter thread.
Crowe, who was living with his mother while training for the movie, said he was originally opposed to getting a cat because felines are “the notorious enemy of bird life.”
When he found Cinders, he wrote, he felt “this was the universe telling me to respect my mother and give her what she wanted.”
“She had never grown to be fully trusting of humans, but, she loved my mum and my mum loved her.”