CANADA – A conductor recently who saved — and fell in love with — a kitty that nearly froze to death under the engine of his train says he’s sad, but happy at the same time, that the cat’s owners may have been found.
Brad Slater, who works for Canadian National Railway, explained that a couple from Melville, Sask., contacted him Tuesday morning.
That’s where it’s believed the cat, who was completely covered in ice and missing part of its right ear, hopped underneath the train.
Photos of the couple’s missing cat, Tiger, are a very close match, right down to its white back leg and lots of white under the neck and chest.
Slater claim the couple are retired CN employees and the cat used to hang around the CN yard before the wife took him home back in 2012 to be a companion animal to her husband, who was battling cancer at the time.
“As soon as I heard that, I broke down,” Slater explained. “At first, I wanted to keep denying it, trying to find a reason it wasn’t him, but I was seeing they were similar between the ear; his back leg is white.”
Slater went on to say that the wife has booked a train trip to Edmonton on Friday to see if the feline, who he dubbed Q199 — the train’s number — is her cat, Tiger.
So, will Slater be sad to see his little buddy go?
“The answer to the question is: ‘Put myself in their shoes.’ I would want my cat back, right? You would, too.”
The rescue began around 5 a.m. MT Sunday as Slater was working on the train in frigid –35 C temperatures in Wainwright, Alta. He was just out checking the engine with his light when he heard a pathetic, tiny cry.
He then spotted the cat above the wheels on a steel platform covered with ice and snow.
Slater convinced the train’s engineer to let him bring the cat inside and wrapped him in one of his T-shirts to warm him up. He gently began to peel the ice off the cat, fed it some beef jerky he had brought to work and gave it some water. The cat snuggled right up against him all the way to Edmonton.
Slater and his wife took Q199 into their home, even though they have three other pets, and it’s been a whirlwind of media interviews ever since.
He went on to say, at that time, that if Q199 turns out to be Tiger, it will at least improve the mood of his other cats, who have been out of sorts at having an interloper in the house.
“Our cats are pretty messed right now, and that’s not fair to them,” he said. “So I’m happy either way because I know he’ll be taken care of.”