A young cat was given another chance at life after Caltrans maintenance crews rescued the injured animal found curled up along Highway 5 in Mission Viejo on Friday, December 22.
Just before noon, Caltrans employees Jaime Montes and Abraham Castillo were driving on the highway to clean up debris from the side of the road when they saw what appeared to be pieces of cardboard along the center divider.
The cat, named Callie in honor of her rescuers, will be put up for adoption after being fully healed and neutered. ❤️🐈
– Caltrans HQ (@CaltransHQ) December 26, 2023
Eagle-eyed Montes spotted a small orange face among the debris and knew there was a need for a creature, his partner Castillo said Wednesday.
“At first we thought the cat had died,” Castillo said. “We come across a lot of dead animals on the highway, but when my partner approached, the cat shook and we startled it.”
It took them a little while to get close to the cat, but eventually Montes was able to wrap it in a spare shirt and get it some water.
The cat was in pain, its paws were badly burned.
“We knew we had to get this cat off the highway and that it needed medical attention,” he said. “But she was purring so I think she knew she was safe.”
The men traveled around Mission Viejo looking for a no-kill shelter and were able to find help at the Mission Viejo Animal Center.
“We found a few shelters that had a 10-30 day adoption policy before the product was removed, but we couldn’t do that,” Castillo said. “He deserved a second chance after what he went through.”
There was no microchip on the cat, but Castillo said the cat was so well behaved that he assumed it was a pet that had gotten loose.
The couple initially wanted to name the cat Garfield because of his orange fur, but animal center workers aptly named him Callie in honor of his rescuers.
Callie has since spent the last few days going in and out of the veterinary hospital to have her paws treated, according to Animal Care Supervisor Brynn Lavison.
“She had severe burns to the pads of her paws, so she is being treated as a burn victim,” Lavison said. “But she’s getting better and better.”
The cat may have been burned while walking or running on a hot road, Lavison said, adding that another possible cause is that it may have come into contact with the engine of a hot vehicle.
Callie is expected to make a full recovery soon and the animal center is looking for a foster family to care for her until she finds a new home, Lavison said. She is approximately 8 months to a year old and will be spayed once she is healthy again.
“A lot of guys at our station are animal lovers and we wanted to make him a yard cat,” Castillo said. “But it can be a little dangerous there, so I hope she can find the family she deserves.”
For those interested in fostering Callie or another animal at Mission Viejo Animal Center, a placement form can be submitted at cityofmissionviejo.org. Donations can also be made to Dedicated Animal Welfare Group, a nonprofit organization that supports Mission Viejo Animal Center in finding homes for abandoned animals by visiting dawg.org.
California Daily Newspapers