Sanitation workers save life of kitten after he was thrown away in garbage bag

It’s always heartbreaking to see someone abandon their pet, but some people do it in truly awful ways. Some people just see these beautiful living creatures as garbage they can just throw away.

That was the case for one poor kitten, who was kicked to the curb and left in a garbage bag. He would’ve died… if not for the quick thinking of two caring sanitation workers.

BrandonKleinPhoto /

William Montero and John Kase of the New York City Department of Sanitation were on their pickup route in Queens. But while picking up some bags from the curb, they heard a faint meowing sound.

They first thought it was just a toy, but the meowing continued, and they realized that there was an actual kitten inside one of the bags.

“We opened the bag to find a kitten,” Montero told Love Meow. “His heart was beating very fast. We think he was in shock, so we reached in and grabbed him.”

Credit: William Montero

If they hadn’t found the kitten, it would’ve been dead within minutes. They were about to toss the bags into the back of their truck, into a trash compressor capable of breaking bowling balls.

“The cat’s chances of survival were minimal if we didn’t catch it,” Kase told the New York Daily News. “The cat definitely would have died. 

The two workers tore through the rest of the bags, just in case the cat was part of a litter. It turned out to be just the one kitten, but the clearly deliberate abandonment shocked them.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Montero told the Daily News. “I honestly thought about knocking on people’s doors, but it could have been anybody. I feel good that I saved a cat but it still bothers me that there are people in the world who would do that.”

Hopper saying hi to everyone ❤️

Posted by Noah's Ark Animal Rescue NY, Inc. on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

But the kitten, a 10-week-old orange tabby, was finally in safe hands. The sanitation workers calmed him down, and gave him a fitting new name: “Hopper,” after the nickname for the back of the garbage truck.

Hopper was taken to Noah’s Ark Animal Rescue. They treated the kitten for an upper respiratory infection.

They were also shocked by the case. “People are just disgusting,” rescue founder Denise Hock told the Daily News. “What would go through someone’s mind to tie a cat in a bag and kill it. If you don’t want it, call someone. Take it to a precinct. There are so many shelters. It makes no sense why someone would do something so horrible.”

Hopper saying hi to everyone ❤️

Posted by Noah's Ark Animal Rescue NY, Inc. on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The rescue is investigating the case, and offering a $500 reward for information. They have also raised money for Hopper’s recovery.

Hopefully once Hopper has recovered, he can be put up for adoption and find a loving new home.

Meanwhile, the two sanitation workers who saved his life have kept in touch.

“We went to the vet today and gave the foster mom a gift (a cat bed and supplies) to help until they find a forever home,” Montero told Love Meow.

Credit: William Montero

It’s horrible that anyone would throw away a kitten like this, but we’re so glad Hopper is safe now!

Thank you to these sanitation workers for saving his life just in time! Share this inspiring story!