Michael Schneider's recent rescue flight with Pilots to the Rescue is the nonprofit's largest transport since Schneider founded the organization in 2015

By Kelli Bender
May 26, 2021 03:33 PM
Advertisement
Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

Buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be an adorable ride.

On May 20, Michael Schneider readied the Pilots to the Rescue plane for its biggest trip yet. Founded by Schneider in 2015, Pilots to the Rescue is a nonprofit dedicated to helping at-risk animals by flying them to safety.

A self-described "serial entrepreneur," Schneider started the organization to combine his passion for aviation and animal rescue and pilots many of the nonprofit's rescue flights himself.

A majority of Pilots to the Rescue's missions are transport flights operated by volunteer pilots. On these trips, shelter animals set to be euthanized due to overcrowding are instead given a Pilots to the Rescue flight ticket. From there, they are safely flown to shelters with the room and resources to care for the adoptable pets until the animals can find forever homes.

Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

Schneider's May 20 transport flight was Pilots to the Rescue largest rescue with 51 cat passengers. For the trip, Schneider flew from New Jersey to North Carolina to pick up the dozens of felines from the Carolina Cat Rescue.

Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

Volunteers from the rescue, which works to find homes for North and South Carolina's unwanted kittens and cats, met Schneider on the tarmac to tenderly hand off the 51 animals, many of which they had a hand in saving. Most of the felines endured rough starts before Carolina Cat Rescue found them, and Pilots to the Rescue stepped in, like Black Nose — a pregnant black-and-white cat that had to get a leg amputated after she was found injured in a field.

Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

Luckily, once Schneider carefully stowed all 51 cats on the plane in North Carolina and took off for Connecticut, the cats' difficult pasts were behind them, and now only fresh starts await.

Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

After landing in Connecticut, the felines met up with volunteers from several New England shelters with space to comfortably house the 51 cats. All of the pets will stay at their new shelters until they find the ideal forever home.

Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

By flying 51 cats hundreds of miles to safety in just a few hours, Schneider and Pilots to the Rescue also saved the Carolina Cat Rescue and the New England shelters. This flight represents the hours of time and the hundreds of dollars in resources that the shelters would need to move the felines themselves. The shelters can now use this time and money to help other animals.

Cat Rescue Transport
Credit: Kelli Bender

For Schneider, that's what Pilots to the Rescue is all about, providing animals with more opportunities to find forever homes and offering the people who save pets the resources to make these opportunities possible.

To learn more about Pilots to the Rescue, and contribute to their efforts, visit the nonprofit's website and Facebook page.