TANGIER, Va. — The National Guard had to fly groceries to an island in the Chesapeake Bay when December’s cold snap froze the water. But there was another mission underway: helping the island’s homeless cats.

The Baltimore Sun reported Monday that last month marked the first-ever “cat lift” from Virginia’s Tangier Island. The island’s estimated 500 felines outnumber humans in this isolated fishing and tourist community.

Helen Woods, a flight instructor from Laurel, Maryland, said she asked fellow pilots to bring cat food and possibly rescue some cats. One resident had just died, leaving 14 cats homeless.

Four pilots went. One was 70-year-old David Johnson of Baltimore. He flew two cats to a Maryland animal shelter in his Grumman Tiger airplane.

He said it was fitting, a “cat rescuing a cat.”

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