A cat that was rescued from a central Russian waste processing plant has been named an assistant to the regional environment minister, the administration said Wednesday.
Widely circulated surveillance footage this week showed a plant worker retrieving the cat from a tied plastic bag on a conveyor belt. Veterinarians said the healthy and well-fed cat was likely domestic.
The Ulyanovsk region’s environmental affairs ministry announced a contest to name the rescued cat, which will be made honorary deputy in charge of wildlife protection.
“We’re taking the cat to our ministry and all employees will take responsibility for it,” minister Gulnara Rakhmatulina said in a statement.
Addressing the owners who had disposed of the cat, Rakhmatulina said “if you can’t keep an animal at home, you can always give it away to a shelter.”
Ulyanovsk’s environment ministry said it awarded the waste processing employee Mikhail Tukash and its director with letters of appreciation.
“The cat wasn’t meowing and the bag wasn’t moving,” Tukash told local television. “I needed to cut the bag to screen it for metals. I was just doing my job.”
The plant’s director had said that the animal was seconds away from being killed.
The cat is at least the third animal to be rescued at the plant some 700 kilometers east of Moscow, local television said. Previously, it rescued an African hedgehog nicknamed “Vezunka” (Russian for “Lucky”) and two red-eared slider turtles.