The Guest Services Supervisors at Tampa International Airport had quite an exciting day at work last week. As the hours went by, the 2 workers were approached by a concerned woman. She had just parked her vehicle in the short term parking garage for an impending trip. But as she grabbed her belongings, she heard the desperate mews of a crying kitten! Not able to locate one, she was now recruiting the airport staff. The three heroes were finally able to track down the pitiful cries of the kitten. When they discovered it stuck in a car engine, they knew they had to save it.
What they DID know is that the kitten had been stuck in the car engine for at least a day!
How exactly did they know this? Someone had tapped a note about a “crying kitten” on the car the day before! But no one had alerted the airport security team about it at that point. If not for the caring woman that day, it’s possible the kitten’s fate would have been very different.
Jiomarie Santiago and Colin Murphy were the supervisors that accepted the challenge to save the furbaby. They grabbed a flashlight and rushed to the 7th floor parking garage. They were easily able to see the little grey kitten hanging onto the underside of the car engine compartment. But the kitten was just out of their reach!
“We knew at least the kitten wasn’t stuck,” Colin told reporters. “But we still couldn’t get to it.”
In an attempt to lure it out, they were able to find a can of tuna to entice the hungry babe. They were unsuccessful, but vowed not to give up. But they were restricted in what they could do. Without the permission of the vehicle’s owner, they couldn’t lift the car to gain access.
Colin added his phone number to the note and all they could do was wait.
In a happy turn of events, his phone rang shortly after. The owner of the vehicle had returned after a short trip–thankfully! She’d seen the note on her parked car, but she’d searched the vehicle and hadn’t seen or heard anything. Thinking the kitten must have been gone by that point, she started the engine and began to reverse.
She only made it a few feet before she heard a loud and startled meow! Quickly grabbing her phone, she’d called the number on the note.
Santiago and Murphy hurried back to the garage hoping the cat wasn’t injured from the vehicle. When the woman opened the hood of her car, they all received another happy surprise.
The little grey kitten was just sitting on the top of the car engine!
After the few seconds of shock wore off, the kitten realized it was free–for a moment anyways! Colin grabbed the kitten carefully but securely, as it hissed and let it’s displeasure be known. However Colin wasn’t one to be swayed by some “hissy” kitten and had 2 of his own felines at home.
There was no mention the woman had any knowledge of where the kitten came from.
So they took the kitten back to the guest services desk and arranged a box with food and water. Colin began calling around to local shelters and rescues. With kitten season in FULL swing in Florida though, he wasn’t having much luck finding one to take the kitten.
They’d began calling the little grey fuzzball “Tia” for Tampa International Airport. With the young age and fuzziness of kittens, it can be difficult to tell the sex. Here they’d believed Tia to be female and the name fit purrfectly.
Sadly, Colin was discovering many places that were NOT no-kill. This meant that if he brought Tia to a kill-shelter, she could be euthanized just for “space”. If she wasn’t adopted quickly, that could be her fate. There was no way he was going to allow that to happen. So instead he took Tia to the vet to make sure she had no injuries at least. He did receive a bit of shocking news upon his arrival at the vet.
Little “Tia” was actually a 4-5 week old male kitten–quickly renamed “Archie”.
What shocked Colin Murphy even more was the attachment he felt to Archie already. After only a day, he knew that he had been involved for one very good reason in his rescue. Archie had been meant for him and his family.
Not on the lookout for another kitten, the Murphy household couldn’t deny little Archie. They welcomed him into their home with open arms. He is loving living with them now and will be safe inside with them. No more attempts at traveling for this little adventurer! TPA assured us of one thing though.
No, he was not charged for parking.
Thank you to the woman who reported hearing him initially. Special thanks to Jiomarie Santiago and Colin Murphy for going above and beyond for ALL those vising TPA.
**This author personally lives in Tampa and coincidentally parks on the 7th floor every time I visit the airport. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open on my future trips!!!
REMEMBER: SPAY/NEUTER, FOSTER, VOLUNTEER, TNR and as always, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!