The Incredible Story of Ham the Dumpster Cat Who Owes Can Collector His Life


A stray long-haired brown male tabby cat found at the bottom of a trash bin owes his life to an aluminum can collector after almost freezing to death. The unknown Good Samaritan placed a call to the Toledo, OH-based Paws & Whiskers Cat Shelter last week after finding the cat inside a garbage bin at an apartment complex just two miles from the shelter. The manager of the shelter David Plunkett said that the caller had been busy collecting cans when the frightened feline spooked him with a growl. Fearing they would get bitten or scratched, they contacted the shelter, telling them the cat was frozen to the bottom of the bin.

Three volunteers from the shelter made their way to the scene, including Charlie Moorehead III, Dixie Beach and Tim Rawson. There they found the cat inside the bin, with his tail and a foot stuck in the ice.

“There was some spiral ham in there he must have went after,” Moorehead concluded. “There wasn’t much trash in the dumpster and once he got in, he couldn’t get out. Everything was ice-covered.”

Beach was the most limber of the volunteers and she didn’t hesitate to climb into the dumpster to help save the kitty. Placing a blanket over him to help calm the scared cat, she then used her acrylic nails to assist in gently getting his tail out of the ice. Once he was free, she wrapped him in a blanket and they got him safely into a pet carrier. One of the residents of the apartment complex informed them tenants aren’t allowed to keep cats, so he was most likely a stray one.

The cat was taken to the veterinarian where he was checked and neutered. Aside from a small wound on his foot, he had no other injuries and was considered healthy. He hasn’t been officially named yet, although the staff has taken to calling him “Ham” after the spiral ham that was to possibly to blame for him jumping into the trash. Plunkett notes that Ham is mostly feral and tolerates only limited handling. They are holding onto him for while longer and looking to see if they can socialize him. He’s very lucky to have survived the way he did especially under those freezing conditions, which could have very well killed him.

While the shelter has saved cats from some tricky situations before, Ham’s strange story is one to remember.

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