Dima and Tetiana left Kyiv with their cats, Scotty and Pixie, after Russian forces began to invade in the middle of the night.
Dima awoke to the sound of bombs on the morning of February 24th. At first he wasn’t sure, but when he heard the second boom he knew that Russia was attacking Kyiv, where he lives.
He jumped out of bed and began packing while his wife, Tetiana, was still asleep.
Dima woke his wife up, and together they packed their cats, Scotty and Pixie, into carrier bags.
They started to drive south when they realized they only had half a tank of gas and feared they would burn through all of it waiting in traffic.
Thankfully, They found one gas station selling fuel. The lines were long and the owner demanded cash payments, but they managed to refuel.
They have friends in Vasylkiv, about 20 miles away. The drive took two hours, and they had to show documents at three military checkpoints.
After three nights of air strikes in Vasylkiv , coupled with news that Russia’s military was bombing residential areas, they decided it was time to move further west, away from the fighting.
For the cats, who were skittish about the loud sounds and grouchy about traveling in small carrying bags, it was a tougher adjustment.
“They’re not really adventurous,” Dima said, adding, “They were living in apartments throughout their whole life.”
“It’s really hard for me to read the news and not be able to actively help, so I want to be somewhere where I can be really helpful,” he said. “I’m trying to find a common ground here, where we can help, but also my wife and two cats are safe,” Dima said.