Cats are known for their nine lives, however, one train conductor from the Canadian National Railway still can’t figure out how a miracle cat survived being frozen underneath a train’s engine for hours on a -37 degree winter night.
Just before a train was set to leave a station in Alberta, the train’s conductor, Brad Slater, decided to kill some extra time by going out in the freezing cold and inspecting the train to make sure the train was ready for the trip. And while walking past the first and second engine, which has shut down earlier on the trip, he heard a weak cry.
“His strained voice came over the radio: ‘Will can you come out here. I’ve found something.’,” engineer Will Munsey said. “I’ve heard that voice before and it’s never anything good. Reaching for my hat and gloves, I started out the door thinking, ‘damn, he’s found a body between the rails… or a leg… or an arm.’ It’s a walk none of us wants to make, but many have.”
When Slater pointed his flashlight in the engine’s direction, he discovered a cat that had somehow managed to stay alive in the extreme weather. Will was certain they’d have to put the dying cat out of its misery, but Slater begged to save it and bring in onboard. “I said right to Will, ‘I can’t leave him.’ I can’t imagine leaving him to die, and going 10 hours on that train, not knowing. How could anybody do that?”
Finally, Will relented and let Slater try to rescue the poor animal. “A smile grew underneath his thick beard… He had barely reached out his arms and called, ‘c’mon little buddy,’ when the frozen little body nearly leapt into his arms,” Will said. Once inside, Slater lovingly wrapped the cat up in an extra t-shirt, gently peeled some of the ice and frozen mud off his face and body, and gave him water and bits of his beef jerky that he had in his bag. The grateful cat then slept behind Slater’s back the entire way home.
Once off duty, Slater called his wife, who came down with a cat carrier for the cat, who they named Q199, the cab which he was found underneath. “I slept with him last night. He slept right by my chest all night,” Slater said. “He’s a purr machine.” On Monday, Slater brought Q199 to the vet, and while he lost three-quarters of one ear and may lose the other to frostbite, the vet found nothing else wrong.
“I want to thank a stupid little cat and a big-hearted, young conductor for reminding me that little things can be pretty damned beautiful,” said Munsey, whose faith in humanity was restored after the experience. “It’s a miracle. There’s no other way to put this. The train was doing 60 miles per hour and he’s underneath … able to hold on and he’s missing nails … he could have fallen and got run over,” Slater said.
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[Featured image: Facebook/Brad Slater]