Two men rescue kittens from a nest of angry wasps

A West Fargo, ND, man and his assistant recently proved themselves strong-armed and soft-hearted by pulling three kittens to safety out of a wasps’ nest. Jim Johnson, who is being hailed as a hero by cat bloggers, talked to Petfinder about his adventure.


Jim Johnson holds one of the kittens he rescued and is currently fostering. (Photo:

On Oct. 7, Johnson, owner of Jim Johnson Construction, had stopped by a property to do some work when his assistant Eric heard a mewling sound. They discovered the source in a nearby basement window well, where three 3-week-old kittens were trapped inches from a nest of wasps.

The situation was bad — two of the kittens were unconscious and covered in wasps; the third was trying to fight off the stinging insects.

Jim didn’t think twice about helping them, despite the fact that wasp stings are painful — and potentially deadly to those who are allergic. “When you see something
in dire straits, you just have to act,” he tells us. 

Jim told Eric to cut the plastic cover off the window well with his utility knife while Jim retrieved a large pine board he planned to use to kill the wasps. But as soon as Jim swatted a few wasps, more started to swarm.

Jim switched tactics. He put on Eric’s sweater — it was big enough to come down over his hands — and reached into the window well to pull the kittens out.


Jim bottle-fed the kittens at first, but they’re starting to eat wet food on their own now. (Photo:

Jim got stung more than 20 times. He was also bitten by the one conscious kitten as he pulled him out of the swarm — though he doesn’t hold a grudge. “I was the biggest wasp he’d ever seen,” he jokes. But he got all three kittens out.

Jim took the kittens home and within a few hours, all three were playful and appeared healthy. However, when Jim awoke the next morning, he found that one of the kittens had died during the night. Devastated, he immediately called his vet to come out to the house.

Now the other two are thriving. They are being fostered by Jim and his wife, continuing to receive veterinary care and quickly learning the ropes of indoor life — even figuring out how to use the litterbox with no instruction from Jim. “At night they both turn on their motorboats, and boy, can they purr!” Jim says. 

When the kittens are around two months old, Jim plans to find them an adoptive home where the brother and sister can stay together, and he’s already gotten a number of inquiries thanks to all the media coverage of his daring rescue. He’s currently screening candidates to make sure whoever adopts the kittens will have them altered and continue their veterinary care.

But for now, Jim — who has several adult cats and two dogs, all of them rescues — is enjoying his stint as a foster parent. “Now I know what it’s like to be a mom,” he says.

Of course, it doesn’t take braving a wasps’ nest to be a hero. Sign up to be a foster parent with your local shelter or rescue group and you can help pets in need year-round.

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More about this story: Man stirs up hornets’ nest to save kittens’ lives West Fargo man rescues kittens from hornets’ nest

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