Four terrified cats learned humans are good for more than just opening tin cans, fluffing pillows and providing massages when they were rescued from a sinking, burning ship by a Thai navy officer.
The ship caught fire in the Andaman Sea — a popular area for fishing and commercial shipping bordering coastal Thailand and Myanmar — on Tuesday, and the human crew were rescued and taken to safety by a passing ship.
But four ginger cats remained aboard and their time was running out. When a Thai navy vessel was ordered to the site of the capsized vessel to check for a potential oil spill, First-Class Petty Officer Wichit Pukdeelon saw the domestic kitties huddled together on a small wooden beam. Most of the ship was below the water line at that point and the cats didn’t have anywhere else to go.
“I used my camera to zoom in to the boat, and I saw one or two cats popping their heads out,” Pukdeelon told Reuters.
One of the officers dived into the choppy waters and swam to the sinking ship, where he took the cats on his shoulders and brought them to the safety of the Thai Air and Coastal Defense vessel. All four cats survived.
The sailors took the cats back to their base on Koh Lipe, an idyllic island on the Andaman Sea known for its beaches and dive sites. The presumably grateful furballs will remain there in the care of the sailors for at least the foreseeable future.
(Note: It wasn’t clear why the original crew abandoned the cats. We’ll keep an eye out for updates and follow up if we learn anything.)