JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALABAMA – When a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy stopped to help a stranded motorist along the interstate, he had no idea he was about to rescue a stowaway.
That stowaway, authorities stated, was a kitten who was found in the engine compartment and she apparently had safely made the hours-long trek from Atlanta to Birmingham. The kitten was very hot and had some small burns, but is now expected to be OK. “I don’t see how anything that small can ride that long and survive,” stated Jefferson County sheriff’s Deputy Tim Sanford. “It had melted her little paws.”
It was around 7 p.m. Wednesday when Sanford stopped to assist the stranded motorist along I-20 just west of Leeds. The family had been traveling from Atlanta back to Pickens County when they hit a pot hole and had a flat tire. Sanford offered to change the tire himself for them to help speed them on their way, said Chief Deputy Randy Christian.
As he worked the jack near the front tire, he spotted something furry darting in and out of the engine compartment, and then heard a faint cry. He had the driver open the hood and discovered that there was a small gray and white kitten inside. “By that time, she was screaming,” Sanford explained. “I wound up getting under the car and retrieving the kitten. As soon as I snuggled her like a baby, she calmed right down.”
Sanford stated the motorists didn’t own a cat, and said that they hadn’t made any stops since they left downtown Atlanta. The deputy named the tiny kitten Atlanta and, after getting her some food and water, dropped her off at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society where she will be examined and cared for and put up for adoption, likely sometime next week.
The deputy said law enforcement officers simply never know what they’ll encounter daily. “Sometimes it’s just wide open,” stated Sanford, who is a K-9 handler and animal lover. “Things like this, it’ll touch your heart.”
“That’s a remarkable kitten and I hope it finds a loving home,” Christian concluded … “That deputy isn’t too bad either. Awfully proud of him.”