MURRAY — If they had not seen it, Effie Hopkins and her husband, Mike, say they would not have believed it.
But it indeed happened, and as a result of the three-minute ride, a tiny kitten took on the underside of son Gavin’s pickup truck last week, the feline is in position to have a new chance with life.
“I was taking my dog out to do its business and I started hearing this high-pitched cry, and I’ve learned from experience that whatever animal (it was) was in distress, so I wanted to find it,” Effie said of the experience that began at about 4 p.m. last Saturday after Gavin returned home from work. “We had just rescued a baby squirrel (a few weeks ago) and it’s one of those things where, now that we’re not in the country anymore, you can hear things a lot better.
“So Mike came out and we began to figure out where the noise was coming from and I determined it was somewhere in the driveway. Then we listened some more and saw that it was coming from Gavin’s truck.”
After a few minutes, the kitten, a gray-and-black-striped tabby estimated at maybe 7 weeks, was discovered by Mike in a precarious position, which made everyone wonder how the feline was even still alive. It had somehow made the journey while standing on the metal undercarriage of the engine.
“There was nothing for it hang onto. It’s all metal under there. There’s no rubber or anything for it to dig in its claws,” Mike said. “I don’t know it stayed up there, and I know it’s only three minutes, but there are lots of bumps on the way Gavin takes to get home. It could’ve fallen off any time.
“Once I was able to pull it off from there, my big worry was it being burned, because Gavin’s truck has a really big engine and makes all kinds of noise. However, in those three minutes, it hadn’t had time to get hot yet, so I was glad to see that.”
Effie said that once the kitten was out of its trap, a look at the frightened feline revealed some not-so-positive things.
“He looked perfect on the outside, but he was very skinny. However, his belly was pretty fat, and I’ve figured out over the years, from us already having cats, that this is the sign of worms,” she said of how the Hopkins family is quite familiar with cats. “We’ve had a few over the years, and they’ve all come from situations where they just happened to come into our lives.
After waiting through the Labor Day weekend, she took a stool sample to a local veterinarian’s office when it re-opened Tuesday and was given medication to eliminate the parasites. She said the kitten seems to be responding well to the medication, but until all of it is administered, which should take about two weeks, the kitten will stay with its rescuers.
The real question now may be the length of that stay.
“I think we’re leaning toward keeping him,” Mike said, after he and Effie both observed that the kitten had been acting much more lively that day, a sign that the medication was working. “He’s been much more into being with our other cats (two of them) today. We also have a little dog and they seem to be doing great together.
“So this may be one of those things where you realize that you’re witnessing something pretty amazing; maybe you need to see this as an opportunity.”
“He’s really grown on us, actually,” Effie said, explaining that the original plan was to have found another “forever home” once his treatment was over. Now, she is not so sure about that. “(Thursday) has really changed things with me. I don’t know. Maybe this is the sign that we need to go ahead and keep him.”
A sign on the wall of their living room seemed to guiding them Thursday. The sign simply said, “Stay awhile,” providing the background as the kitten slept peacefully on their couch.