MERIDEN - A 4-month-old kitten rescued from a trash compactor last week was recuperating at the Humane Society Monday.
The kitten, which is almost totally blind, was found by Dainty Rubbish Service employees during regular pickup in Middletown Thursday morning. Mike Armetta, a manager at the firm, said he and a mechanic were shoveling trash from a truck and loading it into the compactor when they spotted the kitten inside a small box among the garbage.
"It was behind the blade. It's a miracle that the animal didn't end up in there," he said.
Armetta, a self-described animal lover, said animals often seek a bit of warmth in the company's trucks during the winter, although most discoveries involve raccoons or skunks. When he spotted the kitten, however, he scooped it out, cleaned it and contacted the local humane society in Meriden.
Humane Society Director Marlena DiBianco said the cat, which has been named Pacman due to his close encounter with the trash compactor, is recovering well and "eating like a horse," although it will likely require major surgery to save one of its eyes.
Despite the cost the no-kill shelter will incur to help Pacman retain some of his vision, DiBianco said she couldn't be more thankful to Armetta and the other employees who helped save his life.
"They saved it ... I was really happy that they did that," she said Monday.
Neither Armetta nor DiBianco could be sure if the cat was a stray that climbed into the garbage or if it had been intentionally placed in a dumpster. However, it is being cared for both at DiBianco's home and at the Humane Society, on Murdock Avenue, where regular volunteer Ann Trinkaus has been watching over him since he arrived.
Once his health has been restored the organization will begin searching for a suitable home, although one candidate has already emerged - Armetta said he would like to eventually bring the kitten home himself.
"This animal would have been crushed" if not for Armetta, said Trinkaus. "It would have been a terrible death ... it would be a wonderful ending."