Community Rallies Around Kitten Stowaway

Say what you will about Canby, but we are a town that freaking cares about cats.

That was proven once again Monday — not that more proof was needed — as the Canby Police Department and residents in The Dahlia rallied around a lost and scared young kitten that had gotten itself trapped in at least three parked cars.

Canby Lt. Jorge Tro was on the first of these “cat calls.” He responded to the report of meowing coming from the rear of a parked car. Sure enough, it was a cat.

Officers made contact with the vehicle’s owner, who knew about his furry stowaway but had been unable to evict it. His previous efforts had been successful only in relocating it from the engine compartment to the back of the car, near the exhaust.

“He didn’t want to drive anywhere because he didn’t want to kill this kitten,” Lt. Tro said. “So, he just walked to work.”

Canby police got another call later that day: The kitten, evidently, had moved down the street to a different car. Officers responded again, but still were unable to rectify the situation.

“There’s really not much we can do. We tried to coax it out,” Tro said. Then, with a laugh, he quipped, “I guess, if it was in a tree, we could have called the fire guys.”

Tro said he suspects the cat lives in the area, or maybe came from one of the nearby residential neighborhoods.

“Word is getting out, and hopefully, people will try to listen before they start their cars,” said Lt. Tro. “We hope it finds a home — one that’s not in a car.”

Canby teacher and Dahlia resident Cody Westphal was one of several locals who got roped into Operation: Kitten Rescue Monday. He identified the kitten as a Maine Coon Cat and posted to the Canby Now Facebook group asking if anyone had lost one.

In the meantime, he spent the better part of his afternoon climbing under his and his neighbors’ cars and trying to entice the kitten from its hideout with wet cat food and even fresh tuna from Wayward Sandwiches.

After a long afternoon, the help of dozen or so Good Samaritans — and lots of suggestions, from using salmon nets to Westphal playing kitten sounds on his phone to lure the stowaway out — they finally managed to catch him, safe and sound.

The key was a Canby Les Schwab employee, Soren Cook, who came out not once, but twice to help jack up cars so Westphal could get underneath. On the second car, Cook was there for over an hour and even helped take a wheel off — which was the trick to finally freeing the trapped kitten.

“We both had a rough last six hours, but I think he’s recovering from the stress of it better than I am,” Westphal reported.

Westphal plans to adopt the kitty (and, after spending six hours rescuing it, few could argue that he’s earned that right).

He named it “Charger,” since he first found it hiding out under his own Dodge Charger — and because “whenever we got him out of one car, he kept charging away to the next!”

Cody Westphal and his prize. Photo courtesy Ryan Oliver.

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