On snowy days, most 13-year-olds would be doing exactly what Kemp Edge was doing Saturday — sledding, exploring the woods near his house with his dad and just having fun.
However, Kemp’s day took an unexpected turn.
“We were in the woods, having fun, looking at the snow,” Kemp said. “Then we heard a cat crying. We went looking and tracked the sounds to a storm drain.”
He saw a kitten sitting on the edge of the drain in the snow and ice and tried to approach, but the kitten was scared. Kemp looked down into the drain and saw four kittens and what he assumed was the mother cat.
Deciding to see if he could get the kittens and cat out of the drain and the bitter cold, Kemp ran home, grabbed some cat food and ran back.
“I set the food at the edge of the drain and tried to get them to come to me,” he explained. “Two came out pretty quickly, but the other two would not. The mother cat ran away.”
The two kittens that approached Kemp were quickly handed over to his family and dried and cleaned up. Then, Kemp went to work to rescue the more stubborn pair.
“It took him a good three or four hours,” said Trista Edge, Kemp’s mom. “He basically worked all day to get them out.”
The Edge family kept the kittens at their house for a night, managing to find a home for one with a neighbor. They decided to call Floyd Felines, a local group of volunteers that helps rescue cats and kittens, to get help with the other three.
Mary Kate McCaffrey, a volunteer with the organization, said that after pictures of the kittens and a video of Kemp rescuing them — taken by his father, Wright Edge — were posted on the Floyd Felines Facebook page, donations to help the kittens started coming in.
“Everyone was sending money to help the ‘Ice Kittens’ as they were being called,” McCaffrey said. “The video just made me cry.”
In the video, Kemp can be seen, lying on the snowy ground, with his arm in the storm drain, trying to coax the kittens out. At the end when he rescues the last, most frightened one, he curls up with the kitten in his arms and holds it, reassuring it that it is going to be OK.
“It was so scared and that spot I had to pull it through was so hard,” he said. “I was afraid I’d hurt it. I just kept saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’”
“He’s a hero,” McCaffrey said. “I have no problem calling him that.”
This is nothing new for Kemp, according to his principal at Pepperell Middle School, Becky McCoy.
“When I saw the video, I was not surprised,” she said. “That is just Kemp. He has a compassionate heart.”
The three kittens that still need homes have been christened Kemper — after their hero — and Elsa and Hans — characters from “Frozen,” which was deemed appropriate because of the snowy, icy conditions they were found in.
McCaffrey said that anyone interested in helping or perhaps adopting one of the “Ice Kittens,” could contact Floyd Felines through their Facebook page or by email at email@example.com.