Denise Vlahos says the kitty was swimming "for her life" in the middle of Lake Pleasant

By Amy Jamieson
Updated October 25, 2016 05:41 PM
Credit: Courtesy Denise Vlahos

Denise Vlahos is describing the incident as “by far the craziest and saddest thing” she’s ever seen.

On Saturday, she rescued a cat “swimming for her life” in the middle of Lake Pleasant in Peoria and now she’s trying to find the feline’s owner.

Arizona’s 12 News first reported the story involving Vlahos, who tells PEOPLE she was on her boyfriend’s pontoon boat for the day with friends when a person on a waverunner alerted her to the cat swimming in the water.

“The woman said my husband is allergic and they cannot keep it. I immediately said, ‘Give it to me, I will take it!'” she recalls. “She was curled up in a ball in the foot part of the waverunner soaking wet, dripping and shivering. The water was quite cold for us, let alone a tiny animal.”

Vlahos, who has two cats of her own, immediately wrapped the cat in a beach towel to keep her “as warm as I could.” Then, the couple took her home and put the cat in their spare room where “she crawled straight under the bed.”

“The cat owners have not come forward yet, but I hope that they do after getting her story out there in the public,” she told PEOPLE in an email. “It is most definitely a miracle she’s survived.”

Vlahos says her duty right now is to keep the cat safe and do everything she can to find the animal’s family.

“She is just so traumatized still,” she says. “I am not sure of her personality other than she has not hissed, scratched, growled, or has done anything to show aggression. Only fear or cowering when I get near her.”

If this cat belongs to you, email Vlahos at