A 6-week-old kitten that nearly died last month from heat exhaustion was reunited Thursday with the state trooper who rescued him from a highway in Canton.
The temperature had climbed above 90 degrees on June 13 when Trooper John DeNapoli received a report of a kitten stranded in the median of Interstate 93.
“I just jumped out and tried to corral him from running out onto the highway and was able to approach him slowly, close enough where I could grab him, and I just held onto him until animal rescue got there,” DeNapoli said as he was reunited with the kitten that was temporarily name Trooper.
When DeNapoli found him, the kitten was frothing at the mouth and panting, a clear indicator of heat exhaustion. He also had several lacerations on his body and was covered in ants.
DeNapoli was able to get Trooper in a box so he could be taken to the Animal Rescue League’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.
At the shelter, veterinary staff worked quickly to treat Trooper’s injuries and lower his body temperature, which had reached 106 degrees. That’s about 5 degrees higher than the normal body temperature for a cat.
Theresa Vinic, who brought Trooper to the care center and worked to revive him, said the kitten was “down and out” and “not wanting to move” when she collected him from DeNapoli.
After spending a few minutes purring in DeNapoli’s arms at their reunion, Trooper ran laps around the room to show he was back in shape. The kitten seemed especially calm in DeNapoli’s arms, but was tolerant and playful toward everyone in the room.
“It feels good to see the comparison to recovery from when he came in,” DeNapoli said, glancing down at the kitten curled up happily in Vinic’s arms. “He was definitely in sad shape then.”
Chrissy Viveiros was on I-93 when DeNapoli scooped up Trooper. After witnessing DeNapoli’s actions, she felt “immediate empathy and compassion” for the kitten, according to a statement from animal rescue, and adopted him as soon as he recovered.
Viveiros’s sister Julie Viveiros witnessed DeNapoli’s reunion with Trooper, who was renamed Basil by his new family, and recalled her sister’s desperate attempts to locate the kitten after they saw him rescued. “She called every State Police barracks in the state trying to find out where he was,” she said.
Now, Basil’s as spoiled as any cat could be. Julie Viveiros said Chrissy and her husband even have a “Basil-cam” set up in their home to watch the newest member of their family while they’re at work.
What’s Basil doing when Chrissy Viveiros checks up on him during the day? Ignoring his mountain of new toys, usually sound asleep. “They bought him so many toys, but his favorite thing to play with is a roll of paper towels,” Julie Viveiros said.