Yreka ‘Cat Man’ and His McKinney Fire Rescue Kittens Go Viral

An evacuation resulted in one man spending two nights in a tent with nine foster kittens and two older cats

A boxful of kittens used up one of their nine lives escaping the McKinney fire—with the help of Yreka resident Lance Graff, known as the “Cat Man” for his work fostering area cats who need homes, according to Redding Record Searchlight.

Graff spent two “interesting” nights in a tent with his own two cats plus nine foster kittens after he was evacuated from his home.

The first night, Graff found that sleeping on the ground was uncomfortable, and weather conditions were hot. But the cats took it in stride, and the month-old kittens just wanted to play, quickly escaping the box he’d housed them in.

(Lance Graff/Facebook)

“They got out of their box and started crawling all over me,” wrote Graff on Facebook. “I’d wake up with them in my face, nibbling on me or playing with one another. It was just a whole night of just, ‘where are the kittens, what are they doing?’” Graff said. “I spent most of the night just trying to corral them and keep them cool and keep everything calm and focused. It was interesting. I didn’t get a lot of sleep.”

Graff’s photos of his situation quickly became a hit on Facebook… Although the page was no longer accessible Tuesday morning.

“Praying for a safe return to your home with your precious family,” wrote one user.

On the second night, Sunday, the kittens were struggling with the heat, so Graff lined a pet carrier with a wet towel. Placing the kittens on the towel, he put the carrier in the shade and hooked up a fan to keep them cool.

That night, it rained, a welcome respite which kept human and animals calm.

(Lance Graff/Facebook)

“That cool breeze was really nice,” he wrote. “The kittens just sort of slept through it all, especially with the rain. They were champs. I was worried that they would panic, but they didn’t.”

After he posted more photos of the kittens in his tent to Facebook, someone connected to an emergency shelter saw it and took action. As a result, all the kittens and their mother have been “placed temporarily.”

With the kittens gone, it’s just Graff in the tent with his two pet cats, Lucky and Duchess, plus a new air mattress. He’ll be bunking there until he gets an all-clear to return to his home.

People who want to adopt the McKinney Fire kittens or foster other cats in the Yreka area can contact Graff at 503-773-2286 or Saving Shasta Cats at 510-517-2602.

Meanwhile, the human death toll of the McKinney fire has risen to four, authorities announced Tuesday.

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