Should this employee have been allowed to keep the cat he rescued?

It is June 1st 2014 in Mesa Arizona. The Martinka family were packing up for a move to Medford. They went to find their cat, Sweet Tea, but she bolted – no doubt unsettled by all the packing and disturbance of her familiar territory.

They couldn’t find her and so eventually were forced to leave. Sweet Tea had raced into a storage container which had been locked up after her.

cat trapped in storage containerThe story is a bit thin at that point but I presume the storage container was left at the property ready for pick up by a removals company. The container was picked up and transported the almost 1000 miles to Medford by PDOS (you can see one of their storage units in the adjacent picture).

The overall time that Sweet Pea was trapped in the storage container was a month, we are told. A testament to the survival instincts and abilities of the domestic cat. Also cats do have this almost desert cat-like ability to survive on little water for long periods. This isn’t the first case like this. In a previous one the cat drank condensation which formed on the inside of the container to survive.

Fortunately for Sweet Pea, PODS had a nice employee, Don Roush, who heard the cat’s cries, from within the container, at the storage depot in White City.

Roush got permission to open the container and out popped Sweet Pea. 

Roush matter-of-factly says:

“I didn’t do anything that anyone else wouldn’t do,”

Roush saved her, feed her and reunited her with her family. He also said that if he had not been able to reunite her with her family he would have kept her and named her “Arizona”.  I sense he wanted to look after her. Should he have been allowed to?


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Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Should this employee have been allowed to keep the cat he rescued? — 9 Comments

  1. Yea I agree with what others have said as well. Would of been nice if he had of got to keep her but he did the right thing.

  2. It would have been great for him to keep the cat. However,I think in his mind,the right thing was to return the cat.Either way,I applaud him for saving the cat.

  3. I am very touched to hear that the man who saved her wanted to reunite the cat with the owners. Did company policy demand the he find the owners I wonder, or was it his kind heart? It was the right thing to do. What if it was a neighbor’s cat who wandered in? Without knowing how long the owners searched, I cannot conclude whether they deserved to get the cat back.

    It is quite thankful the cat survived and is okay. Those containers can become quite hot as they typically have a roof which although dimmed, sunlight can come through.

    I have heard moving stories often about cats disappearing in the chaos. Pet owners should be aware to kennel or confine cats before beginning a move. I assume this family will be more careful next time.

    • I think he did it himself without reference to company rules. I just think on balance this cat would be better with the rescuer. Just a gut feel although the law is clear. The owners should have her back.

  4. I wish he could have kept her too. She reminds me of the sweet Calico that lives at the horse farm where our Sauk City fireworks bunker is located. The cat showed up in the back of a semi trailer that came to deliver something to the farm. I can’t remember if it was fireworks or supplies for the horses or what, but Kurt got more than he ordered that day. He kept the cat. Turns out she showed up pregnant. He got every one of the kittens (except one they could not manage to catch or trap) and the momma spayed.

    She still has a penchant for climbing into vehicles. We have to watch closely for her that she doesn’t end up trapped in the back of a truck we are loading. Some cats just love to go inside things like that, and even being stuck in there, traveling down the road, ending up in unfamiliar territory– none of that has dimmed her love of jumping into the back of a truck while it is being loaded.

    I imagine this cat might be similar. They will need to watch her carefully. But will they? I think the rescuer should have gotten to keep the cat. He’d probably do a better job of keeping her safe.

  5. I wish Don Roush had been able to keep the cat, those people didn’t deserve to have her back after just going off and leaving her missing.

    • For me it is in the balance but they seem to have not tried that hard to find their cat and the rescuer loved this cat. That is my guess. He should have had the chance to the cat he rescued.

  6. Thank goodness for Don Roush, he saved Sweet Tea’s life and yes of course if he hadn’t managed to reunite her with her family he should have been the one who had first chance to adopt her, he obviously cares about cats and seems a kind unassuming man who didn’t make anything of the huge thing he did. But fancy your cat bolting and just going off and leaving it…….. fancy not searching home, garden and storage container….. ! The mind boggles

  7. A cat can survive almost for a month without food but with water.II exp-erienced it first hand in my first cat “Trixie(1995 -2007) who once caught some virus and just refused to esat food. at that time of my life i was emp0loyed as a “Marine engineer” on a ship and hence away from home. When i returned back to Mumbai i was shocked to see the cat nothing but a bag of bones, just a skeleton. My aged parents were confused by her symptoms and since she was drinking water just gave her the same without taking her to the vet.I immediately rushed her to the vet by taxi and he immediately injected her with some injection and she recovered quickly after that and gained weight.She lived for a few more years after this death defying illness and later succumbed to cancer.Read her blog to understand the symptoms and the luck of this cat in being adopted by me. :-

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