NEW JERSEY – James Ryan, who is a Hunterdon County residential sanitation service driver, started a recent day as usual, heading out on his route at 4 p.m.
However, all of that changed when he arrived at the transfer station and was asked: “You like cats, right, James?”
Well known among his coworkers as an admitted cat-lover, Ryan was just the man they had hoped to see that day. Another driver had made a startling discovery hours earlier.
“Amid the orange peels and cast-off containers in his truck, a skinny black-and-white kitten tumbled out,” according to a news release from Tabby’s Place, which is in Ringoes, a rescue specializing in cats. “Small enough to disappear into a driver’s glove, the kitten had scurried behind some shovels … and she was in serious trouble.”
Ryan explained that he dug through the tools to find the kitten, which howled with agony as he reached to pick her up.
The cry was a sound “I never want to hear out of a kitten for the rest of my life,” he admitted. “My heart was breaking.”
The kitten, whose right rear leg had been badly mangled in the dumpster, was immediately taken by Ryan to Tabby’s Place, a cage-free, no-kill shelter. Ryan said he had one request: Could he name the kitten? He choose his daughter’s middle name, which is Grace.
After treating her with some pain medication, the veterinary team then gently bathed the kitten. Afterward, she was transferred to a specialty hospital for surgery to remove her mangled leg.
Grace is presently healing from her successful surgery, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Tabby’s Place: a Cat Sanctuary, is currently seeking donations to help cover the costs of her surgery and continued care.
Donations may be made online or by mailing a check to Tabby’s Place, 1100 Route 202, Ringoes, NJ 08551.