As someone who often patrols the sylvan environs of North Kitsap, Deputy Shane Hanson’s had his share of run-ins with wild animals.
But what his patrol cruiser’s headlights illuminated in the wee hours last Monday, no one could prepare for.
A black and gray tabby cat was wandering helplessly in the middle of Port Gamble Road, with something on her head. Hanson got out to take a closer look. He found the feline’s head was completely lodged in a can of tuna, blinding her and keeping her mouth forced open.
He informed dispatchers he was going to check on the cat. Kept his words simple at first, so as to not raise eyebrows with his fellow deputies to start with. The cat could escape and his story might then be seen as far-fetched.
“No one’s gonna believe this,” he said he thought.
The first attempt to help the cat did not go well for the six-year sheriff’s deputy, who spent the first 11 years of his career as an officer on Bainbridge. When he got close, the cat lashed out, tearing her claws into Hanson’s ring finger and palm.
Undeterred, Hanson regrouped and, a member of the county’s SWAT team, he grabbed his department-issued SWAT jacket as defense from kitty’s claws.
The cat ran off several times. Hanson said he worried if anyone should see him, images of keystone cops would fill their heads.
The cat went into a yard and surrendered. Hanson bundled the cat up. He asked some residents if they’d lost an animal; they said no.
Off he went to Animal Emergency and Trauma Center in Poulsbo, whose veterinarians went to work to help the cat. (Hanson’s own hand injury, meanwhile, was further remedied with a Tetanus shot to be on the safe side.)
The vets’ surgery was successful in removing the can. I’m told that even a can opener was used to help in the extraction.
Kitsap County Animal Control Officer Tyrus Edwards picked the cat — believed to be female — up from the center and took her to the Kitsap Humane Society.
Aside from the trauma, the cat has recovered.
Hanson, for his part, said he’s always liked animals — he’s more of a dog person, he admits — and hates the thought of them suffering. He said he was happy to help the animal and was pleased to hear she’s doing better.
Rob Drought, the humane society’s feline coordinator, said she’s semi-feral, though and hopes she’ll go soon to a foster home to recuperate. Because she’s only around a year old, there’s a reasonable chance she could one day go home with a family.
“I have a funny feeling we may be able to rehabilitate this girl,” Drought said.