Reginald, according to his owners, is a “dapper black and white kitten with fabulous eyebrows who looks like he is wearing a tuxedo.” He is also the protagonist of a heartwarming reunion story that took place earlier this week.
Tabitha Hildebrandt is the mother of three children age 10, 11, and 12. She credits the feline’s posh sounding name entirely to her kids. The family lives together with their pets on a farm just outside of New Bothwell.
As Hildebrandt describes it, her farm cats have a nasty habit of snuggling up inside of their pickup truck’s engine compartment to keep warm during the cool months of the year. Aware of this, she and her husband make a habit of popping the hood and checking the vehicle for stowaways before hitting the road. On Friday, however, Hildebrandt lent the truck to her sister, who was unfamiliar with this practice.
“We noticed that afternoon that he was missing,” says Hildebrandt of their beloved kitten. “We were missing our Reginald.”
It did not take long for Hildebrandt to connect her sister to the missing pet.
“We assumed the worst,” she says, flatly. “My daughter immediately started praying that he would be found and that, if he was still alive, he would find a happy home and not be alone.”
At roughly the same time the Hildebrandt’s cat went AWOL, a woman named Tanya Penner was driving from Niverville to Steinbach.
Reginald is described as a black and white kitten that looks like he is wearing a tuxedo.
“That’s when I saw a tiny object being tossed out onto the highway and I knew immediately that it was a kitty,” she recalls. “So I pulled over to the shoulder and found this little black ball huddling in terror on the grass line.”
As a result of the fall, the cat had sustained minor lacerations across its face, but it was alive. Penner, assuming she knew what had happened, was filled with righteous indignation; some ruthless farmer had abandoned the animal to die.
“I’ve seen it before when people huck unwanted kittens out of their vehicle and I think it is the worst thing in the world,” she says.
Filled with compassion, she took the kitten to her house.
Not once considering the fact that the owners themselves might actually want the cat back, Penner posted a video of it to Facebook, offering it up for adoption to a kind and loving home. The Hildebrandt kids, meanwhile, were praying for much the same thing.
Though Hildebrandt did not know Penner, through a series of shares and likes and mutual friends, the Facebook post eventually made it in front of her eyes.
“She was ranting at the nature of humanity while also trying to find a home for this beautiful kitten she had found by the side of the road,” Hildebrandt says of Penner’s post. “And it was Reginald. It was unmistakable.”
She contacted the kitten’s rescuer over social media and decided to meet at Penner’s house. Gathering her children in the same truck the cat had fallen from a few days earlier, Hildebrandt went to intercept their furry friend. The reunion was successful.
“Maybe it was sacrilegious, but we were singing Easter songs the whole way home because this cat had ‘risen again’ after three days,” laughs Hildebrandt. “My kids can’t believe it! They are already plotting: ‘If our prayers get answered so fully and completely, we need to figure out what we are going to pray for next. We’ve got to plan this out now because we’ve clearly got the ear of God!’”
So how did Reginald come to fall from the truck in the first place? Hildebrandt figures he was in the truck box, not the engine compartment, and decided to eject when the vehicle slowed down to turn onto the highway. Whatever his means of propulsion, the Hildebrandts are delighted to have Reginald back in their care. To them, the whole thing is nothing less than a miracle. For what it’s worth, Penner says she too was glad to play a part in a tale that turned out so much more positive than she had anticipated.
“I am blessed by this whole story,” she says. “I could not have ever imagined the ending to be this good.”