A cat's tale

By Lois Ann Dort    

MULGRAVE – Cats are known to have nine lives, and one little kitten in Mulgrave likely spent a few last week when she took an unexpected trip to the the Waste Management Facility in Guysborough via the garbage truck.

Karen Hearn of Mulgrave is an animal lover. She has a full house with three kids, a couple of dogs and a recent addition to the family, a kitten she named Furn.

Furn has been a very sleepy kitty in the weeks since her arrival in the Hearn household. She rests most of the day and pops up when the smell of supper reaches her snoozing spot, which has recently been an unusually shaped box -- packaging from the family's new mop.

Last Thursday, supper smells fail to bring Furn out of hiding and after an hour Karen was worried and started to search the house for the kitten. After two and a half hours of fruitless searching the Hearns began to wonder if the kitten had snuck into the garbage where her favourite box had been put for recycling.

In the rush of the morning, the garbage had been collected and set out for collection without a second thought. That evening the family's thoughts revolved around what could have been accidentally hiding in that blue bag, and what fate the kitten might have met.

Karen Hearn called all the numbers she could find for the Guysborough Waste Management Facility but it had already closed for the day. She reached one employee who told her that the recycling had likely been through a compactor at collection. She feared the worst for little Furn and spent a tearful night waiting for morning when she could speak directly to the Waste Facility management.

The next morning, Friday the 13th, Hearn called the facility at 7:45 and got an answer. The employee told her garbage collected yesterday had already been compacted. Staff looked but found no sign of a kitten.

With no good news, Hearn called a friend to talk about the loss of the kitten. While she was on the line another call came in and when she answered it she heard fantastic news; Furn had been found, alive and well. “I cried so many happy tears,” said Hearn.

Waste Management staff person Shawna Cody had unexpectedly found Furn in the topmost bag in the compactor.

Cody had checked the compactor after the call came in at 7:45 that morning but saw and heard nothing. She decided to give it one more look about an hour later. She called out for the kitten and saw a bag move in response.

“I just thought there is no way that cat survived. I went and did some other work for about an hour then I thought I would call again. I said, 'Here kitty kitty,' and I saw a bag move. I jumped in the compactor and pulled it out. It had quite the journey from Mulgrave. It was a nice, cute little kitten. It was an accident; cats will climb into boxes,” said Cody noting that her daughter's cat had done the same thing a few days ago.

“It used up a few of its lives,” said Cody. “I was scared to death. I did not know what I was going to find...If it would have been lower in the load, it would not have survived; it lucked out that way. It was all good for Friday the 13th.”

Staff took the kitten into the office and gave her some warm cream and called Hearn. She drove over to pick up Furn and thank the Waste Management staff, “They're my heroes,” she said on Monday when she spoke to The Journal about the incident.

“I never would have thought she could have survived that. It was the only box in the compacter that wasn't squished. The funny thing is,” Hearn added, “was when I was in the office, she (Furn) climbed up on my shoulder and tried to jump on to the printer. Furn and the printer's paper tray fell in the garbage can and I said, 'Oh, she wants to go for another ride.'”