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Chris Anderson
Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter director Chris Anderson holds a cat that was found in an Albertson's semi truck that was unloading groceries in Billings. The truck had been on the road from Salt Lake City. Photo by LARRY MAYER\Billings Gazette

BILLINGS –She has wounds on her back and maybe a broken hip, but a stowaway cat from Salt Lake City has a new chance at life after she was found inside an Albertsons truck Wednesday morning.

Workers at the Albertsons store at 1212 Grand Ave. were unloading pallets from a truck when they heard a noise from under one of the pallets. The employees found the cat, which was barely moving, and put her under some milk crates in the back of the store. They called city Animal Control, and Animal Control Officer Nancy Lindstrom showed up about 8 a.m.

“I was expecting a cat in bad, bad shape,” Lindstrom said. “She appeared that way, but she hissed at me and growled at me. When I got back to shelter, I opened up the box, and I was talking to her and she let out a little tiny meow. Feral cats won’t meow at you.”

Lindstrom gave the snowshoe Siamese cat to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, the city’s animal shelter. Executive Director Chris Anderson put the cat into a warm cage, and it didn’t take long before the cat had filled its belly with food and water. The cat, estimated to be about 10 years old, was very dehydrated, Lindstrom said.

“Holy cow, she gobbled down food right away,” Lindstrom said. “The people at Albertsons didn’t think she was in the truck for long, but we think she was. Cats hide in amazing places, so she could’ve gone unnoticed for a long time. They’re survivalists.”

Albertsons employees weren’t allowed to talk about the cat, so it’s unknown how long the cat was in the truck or if she was accidentally injured while unloading the pallets.

Anderson said the cat would be checked out by a vet and may be ready for adoption soon. She could also wind up returning to Salt Lake City if an owner can be found, or she may become a shelter mascot who spends her days lounging in the shelter’s office.

“We’ll get this girl going and get her rehabilitated, and maybe she’ll just be an office kitty. Who knows?” Anderson said. “Or maybe somebody will want to take her on.”

When asked if the cat had a name, Anderson asked other shelter staffers for ideas. Lucky? Albertson? Alberta?

“We’ll call her Ally. Ally short for Albertsons,” Anderson said. “She wants to live. She wants to live in the worst way.”

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