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California man looking for cat lost during I-41 pileup

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – A California man, involved in Sunday’s pileup on I-41 is delaying his trip home. The man is searching for his cat that ran from his SUV following the crash.

The crash on Sunday involved 131 vehicles, believed to be the largest crash in state history. Seventy-one people were injured in the pileup and one person died. The incident closed a 12-mile stretch of the interstate for hours into the early Monday morning.

Kevin Graves was on a cross-country trip with his sister, her dog and his cat on Sunday when they found themselves in the middle of the I-41 pileup.

According to Graves, “We slid straight into the person, the car in front of us. That impact wasn’t that bad. We got hit from the back; that one was pretty impactful. Then we got hit from the side, inwards; that smashed the hood, and I think that’s where I kind of realized it was rather serious.”

Wedged between multiple cars, Graves says the only way they could get out of the Ford Bronco they were in was through the shattered back window. And he believes he beloved cat, Bastet, startled from the crash, ran out that way, too.

“I know the cat jumped in front of my legs after the first collision. I kind of lost track of her after that, except seeing her run backwards after the second collision,” says Graves.

Four days later, Graves still hasn’t found his cat.

He’s taken to Facebook sharing pictures of the gray tabby, with black stripes and white trim around the eyes. She is microchipped.

Hearing from other people who were at the scene of the crash gives him hope Bastet is still alive.

“We’ve had one lady say that she saw her jump over the hood of her car, and we had a first responder say when he opened up a door, a cat matching the description jumped out of the car,” adds Graves.

Determined to find Bastet, Graves has delayed his trip home to California. And he will continue to scour the area of the crash looking for her.

He says, “If I have to end up leaving and she is not here, I’m just going to hope maybe someone took her and decided to keep her and she has this nice warm, welcoming family. I think that might help me sleep better at night if I can at least believe that.”

And if anyone sees Bastet, Graves is hoping they will call him at (626) 340-1809.

Because it has a microchip, local animal shelters and animal control officers will be able to identify the cat and its owner, too.

Courtney Terlecki

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