The saga began on the afternoon of Sunday, June 12, after a county employee called the Emergency Fleet Management Line to report an unusual problem.
David Ramirez, athletics director for Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, thinks he heard a meow when he got out of the county car he was just driving from Ruskin to the Skyway Sports Complex, a park near Tampa International Airport popular with youth. Sports tournaments.
“I’m looking at the radio, my phone, wondering where that ripple is coming from,” Ramirez said.
In the end, he heard the voice again and knew what had happened. He had a cat stealthy somewhere in the body of his Ford Escape. He believes she crawled inside after he stopped at a convenience store in Ruskin at the beginning of his journey. When he arrived at the Skyway Sports Complex, he could hear the cat but couldn’t find it anywhere.
Ramirez called the Weekend and After Hours Fleet Department in Hillsborough County. The line is for emergencies, and he’s got Beria, who was on duty that day. Beria, who has two dogs and two cats at home, decided this was an emergency.
Avoid the star cat
When Beria arrived at the Skyway Sports Complex, he could hear a meowing sound and knew the cat was somewhere under the engine bay. Take off the headlights. Then he started on the bumper. Then the barrier.
Luis Perea would never give up on the kitten no matter how many pieces of the car he had to take off.
“Fortunately,” he said, “I saw a glimpse of the color looking at me—the eyes.”
By the time Beria managed to get to the kitten, much of the front of the car had been disassembled and he was sitting in the parking lot. But he was able to wear a work glove and, with the help of another employee, was able to catch the kitten.
“He looked fine, very small and frightened,” Beria said.
Luis Perea took the cat home after rescuing it.
The kitten now lives with Beria. A vet gave the cat a clean bill of health and estimated that it was about 6 weeks old. Perea hasn’t given her a name yet.
“The guy survived a bit.”
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