A little white kitten narrowly missed having to dig into her nine lives on Tuesday after escaping the mouth of a hawk in a Southern California neighborhood.
The kitten's ordeal was already underway in Jurupa Valley when Lindsey Gage saw a large hawk perched on top of a neighbor's basketball hoop on Mountain Shadow Drive, Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said.
Gage was in her car with her 6-year-old daughter about to leave for the grocery store when she noticed something inside the hawk's mouth: a white kitten.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Gage said. "At first I thought it was a rare occurrence just to see a hawk that close, let alone a baby kitten in its mouth."
The hawk took off and flew down the street, but it lost its grasp on the 5-week-old female kitten and dropped the feline from the sky, Welsh said.
A man watching nearby saw where the kitten landed and pointed Gage in its direction, where she scooped up the baby animal and took her to the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.
The kitten has a wound on its chest, but it doesn't appear to be life-threatening, Welsh said.
Shelter officials said there is no timetable on when the kitten could be put up for adoption, because she is very young and possibly must be bottle-fed. The kitten will likely go through rehabilitation before the shelter makes any final decisions, officials said.