The freight train had just pulled into Edmonton, Canada after a five-day trip from Chicago when a worker heard the muffled cries of two stowaways.
He unsealed a container and there, in a corner, cowered two palm-sized kittens.
“They were inside a sealed contained for at least five days without food and water,’’ said Shawna Randolph, spokeswoman for the Edmonton Humane Society, where the kittens were taken. "They are lucky to be alive."
No one is sure how the kittens found themselves in the shipment that left Chicago late last week. The train arrived in Edmonton Tuesday, and a worker was loading the cargo onto a truck when he “heard two tiny mews and found these two dirty, hungry and very scared kittens,’’ Randolph said.
“He was not expecting kittens,’’ Randolph said. “We’re just so glad that he brought them to us so quickly."
"They just gulped it down and ate meal after meal for a few hours,’’ Randolph said.
The head of the Edmonton Humane Society has christened the kittens “Chicago Joe” and “Boxcar Willemina.”
Randolph said it's possible the kittens' mother placed them in the container to keep them safe, but then it was sealed while she was gone.
Both kittens are doing well in foster care, where they will remain for the next month or so. After that, they will be spayed and neutered and may be eligible for adoption, she said.
Randolph, who saw the kittens Wednesday, said they are in “relatively good shape" but are still “very timid.’’
“They need a lot of socialization,’’ she said. "They are just so lucky to be alive. . .Only a month old. It’s just amazing. What’s most important is that they survived. They were so lucky.’’