UTAH – Freezing weather hit Cache Valley very hard on the morning of Jan. 6. Nearly 2 feet of snow had already fallen over the previous four days, but the chilly conditions in Logan were exacerbated by extremely low temperatures of -28 degrees.
It was under these very conditions that Logan trash collector Sam McGregor traveled his regular route and discovered Sue, a small, black stray kitten, who was barely clinging to life in the sub-zero temperatures. McGregor’s quick actions helped to save one of the kitten’s nine lives that morning.
“She was just a little black thing laying out in the turnover, not moving,”
McGregor stated. “I reached down to pick her up, and she just looked up at me. I couldn’t just leave her like that and put her back in the cold.”
The kitten appeared to be almost completely frozen solid – her fur was covered in ice. In addition, her malnourished frame making her even more susceptible to the cold.
McGregor immediately bundled Sue up in his own jacket and brought her to the cab of his truck and put the heater on full blast, holding her close even though the kitten still could not move on her own.
“Honestly, I didn’t know if she could pull through,” McGregor stated. “I was amazed she was still alive in the first place. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t spend all day driving with a cat in my arms.”
Less than an hour after McGregor found Sue, he dropped her off at the Cache Humane Society. He believed if anyone was able to help the kitten, it was them.
“It was obvious Sue was out there for a long time,” stated Stacey Frisk, Cache Humane Society executive director. “We knew we had to warm her up right away.”
The staff kept Sue tucked comfortably into blankets and placed her on heating pads while performing subcutaneous fluid therapy, hydrating the kitten, and of course, bringing her body temperature up.
Frisk explained that it was hard to tell how long Sue had been exposed to the cold, but other than malnourishment, Sue’s only significant injury was a serious case frostbite around her ears.
“Once she was warmed up a little, she was definitely hungry,” Frisk stated. “She blew through two cans of wet cat food in no time. She was so enthusiastic about eating even though she was so exhausted. She even fell asleep in her food bowl.”
Since her arrival last Friday, Sue has been recovering quite well. Frisk went on to say that the 12-week-old kitten is continuing to stay warm and bundled and still has a healthy appetite.
As Sue continues to become healthier, she will be placed with a foster owner for a time before becoming available for adoption through the shelter sometime next month.
“She’s doing so great,” Frisk noted. “She’s been such a trouper.”
Frisk went on to add that it’s not uncommon for stray animals like Sue to be taken to the Humane Society in similar condition. Because the society is a no-kill shelter, Frisk stated, the staff tries its best to give every animal who comes through their door some measure of care.
“We’ve actually had a lot of luck over the last few months with our adoption rates, so when Sue came in, we had the room and the resources to do our best for her,” Frisk stated. “The timing turned out really well because we don’t always have that kind of space.”
McGregor, whose family owns two cats of their own, came to visit Sue following his shift last Friday to make absolutely sure she was doing well. He mentioned that he has received a lot of positive attention for his role in rescuing Sue, but denies any claims of him being more than just someone who was in the right place at the right time.
“Everyone is telling me what a good thing I did and calling me a hero,” McGregor stated. “I’m not anything like that. I just saw someone who needed my help.”
For additional information about the Cache Humane Society and to learn about volunteer options, visit www.cachehumane.org.