Animal rescuers come from all walks of life. Some even swim, bike, and run 140.6 miles for fun! And many of these triathletes visited our island this past October to compete in the Ironman World Championships, including Kerri Thomas of New York.

The week of the race, Kerri contacted Aloha Animal Oasis about a kitten living in the bushes near the pool of the condo where she was staying while preparing for Ironman. Worried about the tiny kitten, she asked if we could take it in and sent us a picture of the sweet kitten, curled up on her neck. We then sent the photo to one of our fosters, who fortunately had room for it.

The following night, we met Kerri in the condo parking lot to pick up the kitten. Cars were whizzing past on nearby Ali’i Drive and we were momentarily terrified that the kitten would get loose and run into the street. Our fears dissolved as soon as we saw how content the kitten was just to be held in Kerri’s hands. As we chatted with her in the parking lot, another woman stopped by to inquire about how we got the kitten, explaining that while she’d been feeding it herself, the kitten never let her come close to it. 

The kitten had simply crawled onto Kerri’s neck on her first night there. When we heard this, we knew the kitten had chosen her.

We discussed the possibility of Kerri taking the kitten home with her after the race. While she initially thought that would be too difficult, we told her we could help. Everyone who met this little girl knew she was special.

In the meantime, the kitten went home with our foster, where she was bathed, loved, and got to play with toys for the first time in her little life. We contacted one of the vets that we work with and told them the story, asking for an appointment to obtain a health certificate so that the kitten could fly to the mainland. Although it typically takes at least a month to get a vet appointment here, the vet managed to get us in two days later.

Kerri went to work trying to book the kitten on her flight home to JFK with American Airlines, but quickly ran into roadblock after roadblock. American told her that they won’t fly animals out of Hawai’i in the cabin or in cargo! 

Plans to fly Iron Kitty home to New York were put on hold for a day while Kerri participated in the Ironman race. The day after finishing, she switched her flights to Alaska Airlines and added the kitten, despite American telling her that they would only give her credit for her flight if she canceled. Flying with Iron Kitty would mean that Kerri had to fly separately from her husband, who still needed to fly their bikes home on American. This didn’t deter Kerri, who was determined to take home more than just an Ironman finisher’s medal from Kona. 

On the day of her flight, we met Kerri at the airport and said Aloha to Iron Kitty. After about 12 hours in the air, Kerri and Iron Kitty landed at JFK… only to find that their car battery had died! They made the best of it, however, using the time to give the Kona kitten a fantastic snack to prepare her for the 4-hour drive to her forever home.

Kerri was happy to share with us that Iron Kitty did amazing throughout the entire trip. Considering that Iron Kitty clearly chose Kerri, we’re not surprised! Today, Iron Kitty is loved and safe with her new family – Kerri, her husband, their two dogs, and one other kitty. 

Mahalo nui loa, Kerri! We can’t thank you enough for rescuing this sweet kitten!

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Iron Kitty Chooses Kerri

Iron Kitty Flys to Her New Home

Iron Kitty Finds Her Forever Family