‘There's so much good out there': Small cat survives Beltline traffic to teach big lesson

Small cat survives Beltline traffic to teach big lesson

MADISON, Wis. – Sometimes the biggest lessons come from the smallest sources. That’s the case with Hannah Schlumberger, whose life is forever changed after seeing a kitten darting between cars on the Beltline last month.

On snowy days like Saturday, the Beltline can be nerve-wracking. It’s always scary for those who shouldn’t be there in the first place.

“I saw a little black and white critter run across (the highway),” Schlumberger said. “Oh, it was heartbreaking.”

When heading east on the Beltline near the Rimrock Road exit the afternoon of Oct. 10, animal sciences major and major animal-lover Hannah Schlumberger found herself in a place she shouldn’t be.

“Of course, I was pulling over before I mentally decided I was going to pull over,” Schlumberger said. “I wasn’t thinking clearly, as a lot of people will tell you.”

While running along the side of the highway, police officers stopped her just inches from the injured kitten.

“At that moment, he runs again through traffic and is struck again and thrown across the highway,” she said. “Seeing something that awful eats away at you.”

That same day, Schlumberger and her mother spent hours on the Beltline looking for the small black and white kitten. They kept their eyes out the next few days, too, but they never found it.

In the weeks following, she avoided the Beltline, thinking there’s no way the cat survived.

“For someone, it could be so insignificant, but that sort of thing really shook me,” Schlumberger said.

That’s until fate shook things up, and everything started falling into place.

Schlumberger saw a Facebook video with the cat featured on the News 3 Pet of the Week segment.

“I’m pretty sure I started crying,” she said.

One leg short, the cat was ready to go to a happy home, but when Schlumberger called the Dane County Humane society, she learned someone else had already adopted him.

“You know, (I was) a little sad,” she said.

But fate was on a roll. The kitten’s first adoption fell through, so Schlumberger jumped on the chance.

“It was meant to be,” she said. “He’s just a little soul and he’s just, oh my gosh, he brings me so much joy.”

The kitten, now named Brooks, is exactly where he should be.

“I have this miraculous cat that reminds me there’s so much good out there,” Schlumberger said. “There are just glimmers of really positive things.” 

The Dane County Humane Center staff aren’t sure how Brooks got onto the highway in the first place, but said that’s very uncommon. They don’t recommend drivers stop their cars and put themselves in danger if they do see an animal in traffic. Instead, they should call Animal Control.

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