Niccolò Bonifazio is a professional cyclist from Italy who rides on the French cycling team Total Direct Energie.
Professional cyclists spend much of their time training in the mountains preparing for races and that’s precisely what Bonifazio was doing with a group of teammates in May when he made a compassionate rescue.
When the men stopped to refill their water bottles at a fountain during their 20-kilometer ride, he heard a sound coming from a pile of garbage bags nearby.
There were no homes in the area, so he followed the tiny squeals for help and looked amongst the bags on the side of the forested road.
“I heard meowing in the distance,” Bonifazio told The Dodo. “It was a disturbed noise. So, I went into the woods to search.”
It was then that the concerned cyclist discovered a tiny black and white kitten in the pile, apparently having been dumped there and left to die.
Unable to simply abandon the vulnerable creature, the 25-year-old cycling pro scooped up the kitten and rode back with it carefully nestled in his arms.
Bonifazio did precisely what one should do in this situation – look around for the rest of the litter and then hold the kitten close to keep it warm as you take it to a safe place.
“The kitten wasn’t doing very well,” he said.
But it seemed happy to be rescued and rested in his arms.
One of his riding partners captured the scene on video, and it’s as adorable as you might imagine.
But Bonifazio didn’t simply drop the kitten off at a shelter. Instead, he decided to keep it! But not before a trip to the vet for a check-up.
“We immediately brought him to the vet and he is now very well,” Bonifazio said. “I decided to take him home with me.”
Now Bonifazio and his partner are happy to have a third member of their family.
They named the male kitten Bisous, which means “kiss” in French.
“He’s very nice and full of energy,” Bonifazio said.
Bonifazio posted the video of his rescue on his Instagram page and captioned it “when people abandon animals but you take them to your home!” It now has tens of thousands of views.
And it looks like Bisous has a big brother as well – a Rottweiler named Zack.
According to the cyclist, the two get along great, despite the intimidating photo he posted of the pair.
Bonifazio’s nickname is the “demon descender” for the way he cruises down mountain descents with great abandon during bike races, but there’s clearly a guardian angel lurking inside this pro cyclist.
No doubt the kitten would have perished on the side of the road without his help. (It goes without saying that there are much better ways to deal with unwanted pets than simply dumping them by the side of the road as if they were trash instead of a living thing.)
Be sure to scroll down below to see the video of the rescue and Bisous’ exciting ride home.
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