On Sunday, a train conductor performing a routine engine inspection made a discovery that was anything but “routine.”
Brad Slater, who was working in Wainwright, Alberta, heard a strange noise coming from beneath one of the cars.
“I got to the second engine and I heard the saddest cat cry. And I’m looking around and I’m like, ‘What?’ I’m shining my light and I see these eyes… There’s a cat,” he told Global News. “Sure enough there he was and (I called him), ‘here buddy,’ and he jumped down in my arms.”
Slater rushed to take the kitty inside and him up. The next day, Slater brought the cat to the vet, where it was determined that he had frostbite on his ears and paws, and he was a bit underweight. Other than that the kitty was going to be okay – against all odds.
Here’s a video recap of the amazing tale:
Slater dubbed the cat “Q199,” the number of the train, or “Q” for short. While Q was neutered but had no microchip or tattoo to determine whether a family was missing him. But he was so loving and affectionate, the conductor had the sneaking suspicion that he was someone’s pet.
Sure enough, he was right. Although Slater was willing (and hoping) to adopt Q into his family, which includes three other felines, he wanted to make sure that the rightful owners would have the chance to claim him – if they were out there.
When Brent Hahn and his wife Lynn Hahn saw Q on the news – who’s really named Tiger – they called Slater immediately. The couple lives near a train station in Wainwright, Alberta, where they think the Tigger may have gotten onto the train. If that’s the case, the kitty would have been stuck under the train for upwards of 12 hours, traveling over 400 miles in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to according to ABC News.
The Hahns say that Tiger had been missing from home since late November.
“We were devastated, and our grandchildren were so upset,” Mrs. Hahn said in the ABC News story. “What’s funny is that I actually picked up Tiger as a stray at a train station during my days working for CN [the Canadian National Railway Company].”
The article states that they confirmed that both the Hahn’s are retired CN employees. Plus, they sent Slater photos of Tiger, and upon examining them, he’s confident that they are, in fact, his rightful owners. They’ll be taking the train to reunite with Tiger, and it’ll most likely be the same route that he took as a stowaway.
“It’ll be quite the adventure, but we look forward to getting him back home,” Mrs. Hahn told ABC News.
For Slater, it’s a bittersweet end to this miraculous story. He’ll miss the affectionate cat whose life he saved, but is glad to know he’s going home with his rightful family.
“I’m just happy he’s getting a second chance at life,” he said to ABC News. “The conditions I found him in, I didn’t think he could survive. It’s a miracle. There’s no other way to put it.”
What an incredible story! (And let’s hope that the Hahn’s finally get Tiger microchipped!) Thanks to Slater, this brave feline and his family will be together just in time for the holidays. We think this big-hearted conductor is truly a hero!