It’s an incredible story. A small act of kindness has reunited a family with one of its beloved members — and it might not have happened if not for a feeling.
Brad Slater, train conductor for the Canadian National Railway Company, was about to begin his shift in below-freezing temperatures. As the engineer got settled in the train, something told him to “walk the two engines.”
That’s when he heard it. “The saddest cat sound I’ve ever heard,” he remembers. He did a double take.
Shining his light underneath the engine, Slater found a tiny cat nestled on top of the cold steel. Nearly frozen, the animal’s little body was covered with ice and snow.
The cat jumped down at Slater’s beckoning and into his arms. Slater took him back to the train, where he wiped him down and cleaned his muddy, icy body. At that point, he said, they became “a three-man crew.”
The cat — dubbed “Q-199” after the train under which he was found — weighed in at only 6.9 pounds and had clearly been “out there for awhile.” The train, which had just arrived from Saskatchewan, had just traveled over 12 hours. Slater, feeling the tiny animal’s ribs, marveled the “miracle cat” had survived the arduous journey.
After his shift ended, Slater took the cat home, where he lives with his wife and three other cats. He soon became quite fond of Q-199, caring for him and even taking him to the vet.
Convinced Q-199 belonged to a family because of his “friendly and docile” nature, Slater reached out to the media in hopes of brokering a reunion. The story garnered national attention.
It wasn’t long before the Hahn’s saw the story on the local news. The Hahn family, who hail from Saskatchewan, immediately recognized their cat, Tiger, who had gone missing weeks before. What was lost had been found!
Oddly enough, the Hahn’s are themselves retired CN employees. Lynn Hahn even found Tiger as a stray during her time working for CN. It seems Tiger enjoys the rails and simply feels at home on (or under) a train!
For his part, Slater will miss his new buddy, and he plans to visit Tiger soon. Despite the bittersweet farewell, he’s glad to have made room in his heart for the little stowaway. “Any other person would have done the same,” he said.
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