OKOTOKS, Alta. - The owner of a cat that gained international fame after leaping from a submerged pickup truck into Alberta floodwaters says he was surprised at how eagerly the feline took to the rushing water.

Kevan Yeats says while Momo would sometimes go for a brief paddle in his bathtub, he had no idea the cat would plunge into the water and nimbly swim across a flooded street to dry land.

Yeats says he and Momo were riding in his truck when it hit a deep spot and was subsumed by the overflowing Highwood River in High River, Alta., on Thursday.

He says he quickly smashed out the back window of the vehicle's cab before hopping into the truck bed with the eight-month-old cat in his arms.

Momo then took the initiative, jumping into the water and paw-paddling to safety.

The moment was captured by a photographer with The Canadian Press in images that went viral and garnered international media attention as a symbol of hope amidst the devastating flooding.

Yeats followed in the cat's wake and they both made it to shore and were pulled to safety, with Momo making a beeline to shelter underneath a tree.

Yeats, a ranch worker, had gone back home just to rescue Momo and said they were making their escape from the flooding when the vehicle was swept away.

He said that when the water finally gushed into the truck's cab one thought rushed into his mind: "Leave everything else behind but save everything that's alive."

Yeats said that despite Momo's playful dips in his bathtub, the cat's swim that day shocked him.

"She's quite the swimmer. She loves water — but I didn't know she could swim that far."

kevan yaets

kevan yaets

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

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  • A washed out foot bridge lies on the creek bed in Canmore, Alta. Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Flood waters surround the hospital in Canmore, Alta. on Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Flood waters surround buildings in Canmore, Alta. Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Cougar Creek runs through the Trans Canada Highway during heavy floods in Canmore, Alta. Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Cougar Creek runs through the Trans Canada Highway during heavy floods in Canmore, Alta. Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Road damaged is shown looking west along the Trans-Canada Highway in Canmore, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013.

  • Heavy equipment operators work to keep up with debris, as Cougar Creek pours over the Trans-Canada Highway near Canmore, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013.

  • Cougar Creek runs through the Trans Canada Highway during heavy floods in Canmore, Alta. Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Cougar Creek runs through the Trans Canada Highway during heavy floods in Canmore, Alta. Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Cars and trucks sit on the road looking east along the Trans-Canada Highway from Canmore, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013.

  • The Calgary Stampede grounds are immersed in water during heavy flooding in Calgary, Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • The Calgary Stampede grounds are immersed in water during heavy flooding in Calgary, Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • The Calgary Stampede grounds are immersed in water during heavy flooding in Calgary, Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

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    A flooded Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A flooded Calgary is seen from above, June 22, 2013.

  • The Calgary Stampede grounds are immersed in water during heavy flooding in Calgary, Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • In this aerial photo, the flooded Cougar Creek runs through Canmore, Alberta, on Friday June 21, 2013. Communities throughout southern Alberta are dealing with overflowing rivers that have washed out roads and bridges, inundated homes and turned streets into dirt-brown tributaries. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

  • A man rides his bike as another picks his up in the flooded streets of Calgary, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013. Alberta's largest city was swamped Friday by floodwaters that submerged much of the lower bowl of the Saddledome hockey arena, displaced tens of thousands of people and forced the evacuation of the downtown core. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

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  • Calgary Flooding: Stephen Harper Visits A Submerged Alberta

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, walks to a waiting helicopter with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, right, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, for an aerial tour of flooding in Calgary, Alta.

  • A wall is reserved for messages and missing people at the arena in Blackie, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013 after the Highwood River, overflowed its banks Thursday. The Red Cross is using the arena to house evacuees of the High River flood. Floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta left at least two people dead and forced officials in the western Canadian city of Calgary on Friday to order the evacuation of its entire downtown, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city's hockey arena. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jordan Verlage)

  • Displaced residents sleep on cots at the arena in Blackie, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013 after the Highwood River, overflowed its banks Thursday. The Red Cross is using the arena to house evacuees of the High River flood. Floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta left at least two people dead and forced officials in the western Canadian city of Calgary on Friday to order the evacuation of its entire downtown, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city's hockey arena. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jordan Verlage)

  • Water rushes through what is left of Lions Park as the Sheep River flows through Okotoks, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013 after the river overflowed its banks Thursday. The town remains on a flood watch. Floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta left at least two people dead and forced officials in the western Canadian city of Calgary on Friday to order the evacuation of its entire downtown, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city's hockey arena. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jordan Verlage)

  • A home in the community of Bowness is flooded as up to 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Calgary, Alberta, on Friday, June 21, 2013. Floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta left at least two people dead and forced officials in the western Canadian city of Calgary on Friday to order the evacuation of its entire downtown, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city's hockey arena. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

  • Cody Chatfield

    Resident Cody Chatfield drives his lifted 4x4 through his neighborhood looking at the flooded homes in the community of Bowness as up to 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Calgary, Alberta, on Friday, June 21, 2013. Floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta left at least two people dead and forced officials in the western Canadian city of Calgary on Friday to order the evacuation of its entire downtown, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city's hockey arena. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

  • Water flows past flooded vehicles in the community of Bowness as up to 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Calgary, Alberta, on Friday, June 21, 2013. Floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta left at least two people dead and forced officials in the western Canadian city of Calgary on Friday to order the evacuation of its entire downtown, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city's hockey arena. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

  • Vehicles are stranded in the flooded streets of Calgary, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013. Alberta's largest city was swamped Friday by floodwaters that submerged much of the lower bowl of the Saddledome hockey arena, displaced tens of thousands of people and forced the evacuation of the downtown core. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

  • This aerial photo shows the closed Trans-Canada Highway in Canmore, Alberta, on Friday June 21, 2013. Flooding forced the western Canadian city of Calgary to order the evacuation of the entire downtown area on Friday, as the waters reached the 10th row of the city’s hockey arena. Communities throughout southern Alberta are dealing with overflowing rivers that have washed out roads and bridges, inundated homes and turned streets into dirt-brown tributaries. About 350,000 people work in downtown Calgary on a typical day. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

  • Residents in the Eagle Terrace neighborhood of Canmore, Alberta, look out over what was the only road into the area on Friday June 21, 2013, after Cougar Creek flooded. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Rocky Mountain Outlook, Craig Douce)

  • Heavy equipment operators work to keep up with debris, as Cougar Creek pours over the Trans-Canada Highway near Canmore, Alberta on Friday June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Rocky Mountain Outlook, Craig Douce)

  • Calgary Flooding: Stephen Harper Visits A Submerged Alberta

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, walks to a waiting helicopter with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, second from right, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, for an an aerial tour of flooding in Calgary, Alta. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in Calgary, Alta., Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Calgary Flooding: Stephen Harper Visits A Submerged Alberta

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, boards a helicopter with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, for an aerial tour of flooding in Calgary, Alta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Calgary Flooding: Stephen Harper Visits A Submerged Alberta

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, far right, looks at a map of the flooded areas of Calgary with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, centre, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, as fire chief Bruce Burrell points out problem sites. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in Calgary, Alta., Friday, June 21, 2013.

  • Calgary Flooding: Stephen Harper Visits A Submerged Alberta

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, left, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, speak to the media with the Calgary skyline and the flooded Bow river behind them on Friday June 21, 2013. Heavy rains have caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation in Calgary.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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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