Her eyes filled with tears and her heart sank with worry. She anxiously followed her cat, hoping that she wasn’t ill or in pain.
But when they reached the destination, she finally understood what her cat was trying to tell her.
Masha was a stray cat that lived in Obninsk, western Russia. The winters there usually get really cold and it snows almost every day.
Fortunately for Masha, the majority of residents in the building took great care of her. And Irina Lavrova was one of them.
Masha and Irina had a strong bond. Every morning, Irina would step outside the building to feed the stray cat. During winters, the 68-year-old would let Masha sleep inside the building.
But one morning, Irina saw Masha do something that was completely out of her character.
That day, Irina stepped outside the residential building on her way to do some grocery shopping. But she didn’t see Masha this time.
“Normally she would have come and said hello to me,” she explained. She thought it was quite strange but went on her way. Then, a few seconds later, she heard meowing. Was it Masha?
Irina was determined to find the source of meowing. The sound took her into the back alleys behind her building. As she looked around, she spotted Masha.
Irina called her name but the cat ignored her. “She is very placid and friendly, so when I heard her meowing, I thought that perhaps she had injured herself,” she recalled.
Irina came closer and saw that Masha was inside a cardboard box. However, she wasn’t alone there.
She was sharing the box with another animal and Irina almost fainted when she discovered what it was.
Inside a box was a baby. Irina couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “You can imagine my shock when I saw her lying in a box next to a baby,” she recalled.
She picked up the baby and brought it inside the building. Masha seemed to be very protective of the child, though.
“She was so worried about where we were taking the baby,” Irina explained. “She ran right behind us, meowing. She was really a rational creature.”
Fortunately, the baby was still quite warm. That’s when Irina realized what the clever cat had done.
It was clear to Irina and her neighbors that Masha climbed inside the cardboard box to keep the baby warm. She then meowed to get attention from the humans.
“Clearly her mothering instincts had taken over and she wanted to protect the child,” Irina said.
The old woman then rushed the baby to the hospital to get him checked up. The child was examined by the doctors and was declared as fit and healthy.
It turned out that the baby boy was only 12-weeks old at the time!
“The baby had only been outside for a few hours and thanks to Masha … he was not damaged by the experience,” a hospital spokesman explained.
But who were his parents? And why did they abandon him in such a cruel way?
The identity of the child’s parents still remains a mystery. “He was well-dressed with a little hat, and whoever left him here had even left a few nappies and some baby food,” Irina recalled.
She, too, wondered why someone would leave a small child alone in the middle of winter.
Irina hopes the city officials will track down the people responsible and hold them accountable for their actions.
After the local people got wind of the story, they hailed Masha as a hero.
“Everyone in the block is very proud of her,” Irina said.
“We have all spoiled her rotten by giving her her favorite food.” The story spread like a wildfire and Masha became the most famous cat in her city.
“I think the case is unique,” said a nurse who examined the baby. “We have received lots of feedback from other residents and sympathizers, who are willing to help, asking if food, toys, and other things are needed.”
Perhaps the boy’s parents will never be found, but thanks to the hero cat Masha, he is alive and well.