A cat that stowed away on a boat that sank in Lake Havasu earned the nickname Lucky after surviving at least one hour underwater in the bow of the boat Saturday afternoon.
The mechanics that discovered the cat in the salvaged boat the next day named it River, but Patty Gillmore, the executive director of the Western Arizona Humane Society in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, changed it to Lucky.
"It’s definitely lucky," she told GrindTV.
The boat sat on the lake bottom under 15 feet of water just as it would be sitting on a trailer, so an air pocket in the bow allowed the tortoiseshell cat to escape death in the submerged boat. Lucky, indeed.
Six people were in the boat when it was overtaken by waves and began to sink, sending its passengers into the water and the boat to the bottom of the lake.
The boaters were rescued unharmed by other boaters, and Dive Time Recovery was called in to recover the boat.
Jon Zuccala of Dive Time Recovery told GrindTV that he got the call around 4 p.m. while on the water, was on the scene a half hour later, and had raised the boat with air bags by 5 o'clock.
"So we know it was underwater for at least an hour," Zuccala said.
After much of the water was pumped out, the boat was towed back to Lake Havasu City where the following morning mechanics started working to flush the engine and remove the remaining water from the boat.
"The next morning the mechanic called me and said, 'Jon, are you trying to give me a heart attack?'" Zuccala said. "No. I said, 'What are you talking about?' He goes, 'There's a cat in this boat. It's wet and scared and hungry and tired and thirsty.'"
As the mechanics were removing side panels in the interior near the bow, the cat jumped out at them, scaring them, Zuccala explained.
"It was trapped," Zuccala told GrindTV. "We didn't hear the cat during the rescue, so we had no idea. We normally don't search all the air pockets in a boat to see if anything is living in it because it's not supposed to be there."
Zuccala told Today's News-Herald in Lake Havasu City that "it's miraculous that she survived."
When boat owner Genaro Rudaldava was contacted, he told Zuccala that his family doesn't own a cat, so it somehow stowed away before the family departed on Friday or Saturday, according to Today's News-Herald. So it was trapped for at least a couple of days.
Gillmore told GrindTV that the cat is "shy but friendly, and doing really well."
If the owners don't come forward, the cat will be put up for adoption in a couple days, and at least one woman has already come forward to adopt the lucky cat.
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