Lifestyle & Human Interest

Trash Collector Spots Tiny Kitten with Umbilical Cord Still Attached Thrown in Garbage


People who rescue animals and adopt rescues themselves love telling the tales of how their beloved pets were found and saved.

Unfortunately, there are common threads: dogs running, scared on freeways or kittens dropped off in a box outside a shelter.

We all love to hear when someone swoops in to save these darlings, and publicly berate anyone who could leave a defenseless animal in such a state.

Michael Cabrera’s story is a little different. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time — any change would have meant a life lost.

Cabrera is a driver for Waste Management — he’s a garbage truck operator, the kind of person that small, machine-crazy boys adore.

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As he was getting ready to leave, he saw something stuck on his truck’s compactor blade. It was just a cardboard box, but something else was hiding inside it.

At first, Cabrera thought it was a skunk. It was a tiny, black-and-white creature that looked pitiful and still had its umbilical cord attached.

That’s when Cabrera realized it was a kitten. Someone must have put the kitten in the box and thrown it away, and here it was, sitting in his truck in a box wedged against the compactor grate.

“He has a chance at life so I took him over there and I hoped that he would be okay,” Cabrera said. He got the kitten to the animal shelter that would be able to help him.

Against all odds, the scrawny little kitten survived and thrived. He was taken in by a foster parent and started growing into a sleek young cat.

At some point, the foster family thought it would be good to send the kitten’s rescuer a photo to show him that his little rescue was doing well.

Cabrera appreciated the photo, but it surprised him. He hadn’t thought the kitten was still alive.

“I assumed that he didn’t make it, until the foster people came by and dropped off a picture of how big he was, so, I said ‘I have to have him back,'” Cabrera said.

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Now the kitten, who goes by William (starting with W for waste and ending with M for management, as Cabrera pointed out), is back in the arms of his human.

Cabrera and his wife are empty-nesters, and Cabrera said that having William around is almost like having kids in the house.

William is quite spoiled now and living his best life. Cabrera said he’s king of the castle, proving that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking