Big rig driver’s fluffy feline companion escapes without serious injury after crash in Banning

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Left, an undated photo from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services shows Miss Kitty receiving car after the big rig she was in crashed in Banning. At right, a photo released by Caltrans shows the aftermath of the collision on Aug. 20, 2020.

Left, an undated photo from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services shows Miss Kitty receiving car after the big rig she was in crashed in Banning. At right, a photo released by Caltrans shows the aftermath of the collision on Aug. 20, 2020.

A black cat who accompanies her big-rig driving owner on cross-country trips is recovering after the pair were involved in a crash last week in Banning, animal officials said Monday.

Miss Kitty was in the cab with her caretaker, who was resting when the collision occurred Aug. 20 on the eastbound 10 Freeway near Eighth Street, according to the Riverside County Department of Animals Services.

The duo from Arkansas were both taken to hospitals following the crash. The owner remains hospitalized, while Miss Kitty is continuing to receive care at the county’s Coachella Valley Animal Campus.

Multiple freeway lanes had to be closed when the semi-truck blocked the freeway and began spilling fuel following a collision with a pickup, KESQ reported.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation, California Highway Patrol told animal officials.

A daughter-in-law of the truck driver, Jaimie Taylor, contacted Animal Services after hearing of the crash.

“Her cat is her pride and joy,” she said. “She always travels with my mother-in-law when she is on the road.”

Immediately after the crash, CHP staff was caring for Miss Kitty at their Beaumont station. An animal control officer soon retrieved the feline and transferred her to the county shelter in Thousand Palms.

Miss Kitty was sedated and X-rayed by veterinary staff. However, she didn’t appear to suffer any serious injury, officials said.

Because she seemed to be favoring her back right leg, she was given medication for potential pain or inflammation.  

Animal Services plans to reunite Miss Kitty with her owner once she is released from the hospital. If the owner requires a lengthy hospital stay, officials plan to work with nonprofits to have the cat transported back to her extended family.  

No further details on the crash or owner’s condition were available Monday night.

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