DE WINTON, Alta. - The saga of Momo the cat and her owner Kevan Yeats — who swam to safety when his pickup truck was swept away in Alberta floodwaters — has captured worldwide attention. The Canadian Press spoke to Kevan Yeats' mother, Lori Yeats, on Friday. Here is the conversation:

CP: What is Kevan up to today?

LY: I had to drive him to work this morning because yesterday when he was getting out of that truck he lost everything. He lost his cell, his wallet, his work keys, that was his work truck. He's got nothing so we're trying to get him set up. I had to actually take him into Wal-Mart in bare feet last night to get him shoes and underwear and socks so he had something to wear.

CP: What does Kevan do?

LY: He's a jack-of-all-trades. He works at a ranch. He does landscape work down there, he welds, he does whatever he needs to do.

CP: And he went to work a day after being nearly washed away?

And when I took him there ... he said I'm going to be here late because I missed work yesterday afternoon and I have to be there late today to make up for it.

CP: How is he doing?

LY: He's doing okay. He was a little emotional when it finally hit. It was difficult because he was stuck in the truck and all the electrical had given out. The windows wouldn't go down. He must have hit a sink hole or something because he was on the road and all of a sudden the truck just went under water. The front windshield was cracking and he couldn't get out.

He had to smash out the back window with his elbow and of course the cat was trying to beat him out, which was good. And actually his cat just loves water. She will crawl in the tub with him or crawl in the shower with him. It was probably a good thing that she's been around water a little bit.

She decided to jump and swim and he took out after her. He thought it was funny because she was using her tail like an alligator does. They wiggle their tail back and forth and they use it like a rudder. She was using her tail like that when he was swimming behind her. He said he couldn't keep up with her she was swimming so well.

kevan yaets

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Kevan Yaets swims with his cat Momo to safety as the flood waters sweep him downstream after submerging his truck in High River, Alberta.

kevan yaets

CP: Momo loves water?

LY: She loves the water. She'll climb into the tub with you. This morning when he was here, he went to get into the shower and she had her paws up there wanting to get in there with him.

We were quite surprised because we thought after yesterday's ordeal she would maybe not want to be around water. She seems happy. She's adjusting well.

CP: That's good news, because people seem to be very worried about Momo.

LY: Momo is doing really well. She's the best little grandkitty ever. She's just running around being herself today. It took her a few hours yesterday, she was pretty scared and stressed and out of her home situation. She's an indoor cat. She has been here, she comes for Sunday dinners whenever the kids come for Sunday dinners. She's making herself quite at home now.

CP: For an indoor cat, she's very outdoorsy.

LY: She just loves to be with her people. She's a very affectionate cat, loves to come and get her snuggles. She loves the water which is really bizarre.

She's only eight-months-old. She's a big cat actually. They figure she's got some Maine Coon in her and Maine Coon cats love water.

CP: It sounds like they're pretty tight, the two of them.

LY: Kevan and that cat are tight. I was giving him heck for going back and rescuing that cat. He says, "Mom, it's like my baby. I couldn't live with myself if something happened." That was another emotional thing he had yesterday in the car, he said what if he got out of the truck and she didn't? He could have never lived with himself if something bad had happened. But I'm just thankful everybody is safe.

He was actually going and picking up kids for the neighbours from the daycare and driving them. That's probably why he spent too long in High River yesterday. He went and picked up his neighbours' kids for them because they couldn't get to their kids.

CP: What does he make about all this fame now? What do you make of it?

LY: Well, he was very upset about losing his boss's truck. He feels horrible about that. He wishes he could maybe turn back the clock. He would not do anything differently about rescuing his kitty or collecting those kids from the daycare but he just wishes the bad things wouldn't happen. I'm just so thankful both my kids are okay. It has been a long 24 hours.

He is a selfless kid. He's got an amazingly huge heart and I wouldn't trade that for the world. He's an amazing kid. I'm so lucky, with both my kids actually. But Kevan is selfless and would do that for anybody.

CP: Do you think he knows how famous he is?

LY: No. No, he doesn't. I don't think that would sink in for him... . He doesn't see himself as a hero, he sees himself as doing what he needed to do.

CP: Given what they went through, are they getting any special treatment?

LY: I got up this morning at 6 a.m. and made him breakfast before I had him at work at 7 a.m. And I made him lunch, which I said I wasn't going to do, but I did. (laughs)

I made him eggs and toast and orange juice. Sent him on his way with something in his belly. He said he wasn't going to make lunch ... I said "You're going with lunch today." Where he works is rural, I said "You have no car to buy something. You have to take lunch." He has a triple-decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

--by Paola Loriggio in Toronto

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  • Emergency Declared In Southern Alberta After Heavy Flooding

    Houses damaged along the edge of Cougar Creek are shown June 20, 2013 in Canmore, Alta. Widespread flooding caused by torrential rains washed out bridges and roads prompting the evacuation of thousands.

  • Emergency Declared In Southern Alberta After Heavy Flooding

    Residents watch flooding along Cougar Creek June 20, 2013 in Canmore, Alta. Widespread flooding caused by torrential rains washed out bridges and roads prompting the evacuation of thousands.

  • Emergency Declared In Southern Alberta After Heavy Flooding

    Residents watch the flooding Cougar Creek as it takes out Eagle Terrace Road and nears the top of the Elk Run Blvd Bridge June 20, 2013 in Canmore, Alta. Widespread flooding caused by torrential rains washed out bridges and roads prompting the evacuation of thousands.

  • Emergency Declared In Southern Alberta After Heavy Flooding

    Houses damaged along the edge of Cougar Creek.

  • A lone truck sits submerged in the flood waters near downtown High River, Alta. on Thursday.

  • Homes along Cougar Creek in Canmore, Alta. barely hang on as the town struggles to deal with flooding Thursday.

  • A front end loader carries residents after they were rescued from the flood waters in High River, Alberta.

  • A kayaker paddles down a flooded street in High River, Alberta on Thursday.

  • Cars are submerged by the flood waters in High River, Alberta on Thursday.

  • Kevan Yaets swims after his cat Momo to safety as the flood waters sweep him downstream after submerging his truck in High River, Alberta on Thursday.

  • A woman is rescued from the flood waters in High River, Alta. on Thursday.

  • Kevan Yaets crawls out the back window of his pick up truck with his cat Momo as the flood waters sweep him downstream after submerging his truck in High River.

  • A helicopter carrying residents lands on a road in High River, Alta., Thursday.

  • Crystal Poirier, Roger Poirier

    Roger Poirier, holds his family's cat, Smartie, as his wife Crystal looks on after rescuing it from their flooded house in High River, Alta., Thursday.

  • Cars and homes are submerged in flood waters in High River.

  • Rescuers looks for stranded residents in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • A shot of the homes along Cougar Creek.

  • Semi truck sit idle to the Trans-Canada Highway in Canmore, Alta. on Thursday June 20, 2013. Calgary and most of southern Alberta are being hammered by rain that has washed-out roads and bridges, caused mudslides and closed major highways.

  • A flooded residence in High river, Alta. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in High River, Alta., Thursday, June 20, 2013.

  • A front end loader carries people to safety from the flood waters in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • Kevan Yaets swims after his cat Momo to safety as the flood waters sweep him downstream and submerge the cab in High River, Alberta on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks. Hundreds of people have been evacuated with volunteers and emergency crews helping to aid stranded residents.

  • A resident is comforted by rescuers as she clutches her dog after being retrieved from the flood waters in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • Bragg Creek Flood 2013 House Breaking

    A video of a house shattering against the bridge during the first day of the 2013 flood in Bragg Creek. I offer my sincerest condolences to those who lost th...

  • A lone truck sits submerged in the flood waters near downtown High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • Krystal Lelond of Black Diamond clutches her cat Pipi after being evacuated from her home after the Sheep River overflowed its banks.

  • An elderly woman is rescued from the flood waters in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • Debris and water pours across the Trans-Canada Highway as Canmore struggles with flooding.

  • A woman wades through the flood waters in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • Flooding in Black Diamond

  • This is the view of the bridge over the Highwood. Normally there is a couple metres clearance below it.

  • A kayaker paddles down a flooded street in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

  • One of several rock slides blocking #hwy40 in Kananaskis. No access to Kananaskis village.

  • Look at the flooding in #lethbridge !! This street has been shut down

  • Residents wade through flood waters after an evacuation order following heavy rains caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in High River.

  • A helicopter carrying evacuated residents lands on a road in High river, Alta. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in High River, Alta., Thursday, June 20, 2013.

  • The Bow river swells over its banks in downtown Calgary, Alta. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, June 20, 2013.

  • The Bow river swells over its banks in downtown Calgary, Alta. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, June 20, 2013.


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Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith tweeted this photo of the rising waters of the Highwood River.

"This is the view of the bridge over the Highwood. Normally there is a couple metres clearance below it. #ableg #wrp"

southern alberta flooding

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You can find updates on various communities and their flood status at Alberta Emergency Alert http://www.emergencyalert.alberta.ca/

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Cougar Creek in Canmore is completely overrun by floods. High River, Black Diamond and Calgary are also facing quickly rising water levels. The latest on evacuations and warnings can be found in our story.

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From the Alberta Emergency Alert:

All residents in north west, south west and north east High River are under mandatory evacuation. Crews are working to reach residents in the Vista Mirage area. Information will be posted on the High River website at www.highriver.ca.

Evacuate immediately. Please go to Highwood High School on 12th Ave where the emergency evacuation centre has been opened.

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From Alberta Emergency Alert:

There is localized flooding in Town, beginning near the Foothills Lions Campground. Hwy 22 is closed near that location. Residents west of 1st St SW are being evacuated to the Reception Centre (Oilfields Arena). Power outages may follow. The Water Treatment Plant has been shut down due to flood & safety concerns. Residents are requested to conserve water.

Door to door notification of the evacuation is taking place. Donations of towels and blankets can be made at the Arena. Food donations may be required later in the day. The town is currently investigating sources of bottled water. More information.

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From the City of Calgary:

The decision was made by Deputy Mayor Richard Pootmans and Ald. John Mar to declare a SOLE based on the potential severity of the incoming high river flows in conjunction with expected heavy rainfall. The City of Calgary has begun to implement its flood response plans with the deployment of sandbags and temporary dams at key locations to protect property and infrastructure. The City is working to ensure the safety of Calgarians and asks for their patience and cooperation during this time. Citizens are reminded to: · Stay away from rivers and creeks as the water is rising and moving quickly, and banks may be unstable. · Avoid storm water ponds and storm drains, and do not let children play near them. · Do not drive through flooded areas such as underpasses. · If you experience basement seepage or overland flooding, call 3-1-1 to report. · If you or someone else is in imminent danger, call 9-1-1. Remember that 9-1-1 is for emergencies only; please use 3-1-1 for reporting non-emergency issues.

· Monitor local media and City of Calgary messages. For more information on flooding, visit calgary.ca/flooding.

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cougar creek

Photo: Wade Graham, Facebook

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Cougar Creek threatens homes with its mighty surge.

Video: Wade Graham, Facebook

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cougar creek canmore

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From Alberta Emergency Alerts:

There is a hazardous materials release threatening life and the environment. An sour gas pipeline rupture has caused a release of H2S in the Town of Turner Valley. Residents are ordered to protect in place. Emergency crews have evacuated the affected areas and will continue to monitor.

Instructions:

Move indoors and stay indoors. Prepare for possible evacuation. Seek medical attention if you experience breathing difficulties. Follow the directions of local authorities.

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"The City of Calgary has declared a state of emergency as expected heavy rainfall combined with the potential of incoming high river flows could become severe.

The city is implementing its flood response plan with the deployment of sandbags and temporary dams to protect property and infrastructure.

Calgarians are advised to stay away from rivers and creeks as rising water may makes banks unstable.

Driving through flooded areas such as underpasses or children playing near storm water ponds and drains should also be avoided."

More here.

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cougar creek

Photo credit: Lauren Wheeler

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Turner Valley, a community southwest of Calgary, was placed under an emergency alert Thursday after a sour gas pipeline ruptured. The alert urged people to move indoors and to prepare for a possible evacuation.

What is sour gas, exactly, and what's the harm? Read more here.

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Our friends up the hill got in a bit of a pickle today when they headed to Canmore to cover the flooding.

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The Town of High River is now under an emergency evacuation alert. There is extremely dangerous and rapid flooding occurring in High River. Authorities are warning residents to move to high ground.

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There is a threat of extremely dangerous and rapid flooding in the County of Lethbridge. The County of Lethbridge declared a local state of emergency at 11:10 a.m. and issued an evacuation order for residents living in the Oldman River valley.

An evacuee reception centre is at the County Administration building at #100, 905 4th Avenue South downtown.

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