Early Thursday morning, a woman driving south along the 99 near Avenue 13 called 9-1-1 in a panic.
Officer Ronnie Lopez with the California Highway Patrol said, "The witness said that she saw a gold van ahead of her, and the driver was throwing kittens out the window."
The woman started following the van, but lost track of it. That's when she decided to pull over and retrieve the kittens. Ronnie Lopez with the California Highway Patrol was the first officer on scene.
Lopez said, "Normally when we get there, the animal is already gone, or they get scared and run off, but this one was stuck in the middle of the road, and so we were able to stop traffic and remove the animal."
Another officer arrived minutes later to help search for the three remaining kittens. But, they were nowhere to be found. "Freeway" meanwhile, was bruised, hungry, and scared.
Kirsten Gross with the Madera Animal Shelter said, "I don't know if the frustration level in people or the inhumanity in some people causes them to think that that's ok. It's not ok; it's certainly illegal and can have some dire consequences."
Fortunately, she was quickly placed in a foster home. Good news for shelter officials, who are literally bursting at the seams with cats.
On Monday, they took in 158 of them from just one property after its owner died. As of Thursday, only two of them have been adopted.
Gross said, "But, we hope to find as many as we can homes, but again, our staff is maxed out trying to care for these animals, so it's very very hard right now."
Animal officials estimate "Freeway" is about six weeks old.
As for finding the person responsible, CHP says without the license plate, it's going to be a tough case to solve.