The call of the wild … kittens

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Monday morning, Kent Gwaltney thought he heard something unusual.

His store, the Farmer’s Feed and Seed located on Main Street, was closed for the Memorial Day holiday and Gwaltney had popped in to check on a few things.

While in the store, he was sure that he heard a cat meowing. In his store, there is a line of toys that make noises based on motion sensors, so, Gwaltney thought, something must have made those go off.

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The next day, however, Gwaltney’s theory was proven wrong.

Customers who were shopping in the store heard the same noises Gwaltney had dismissed the day before.

“The customers were coming up and saying, ‘It sounds like cats are in the wall,’” Gwaltney said. “They just kept crying and crying and I knew I had to do something.”

After some concentrated listening, Gwaltney isolated the meows to one corner of the store.

He thought he could just remove part of the wall to free the cats.

He thought wrong.

“We kind of decided they must be behind the insulation,” Gwaltney said. “So we took out this part of the wall there, but we couldn’t see them.”

So, Gwaltney removed part of the 2×4 that held up the wall.

“Nothing,” Gwaltney said. “And you can still hear them.”

While Gwaltney was tearing up more and more of his store’s walls, customers were coming in and calling his attention away.

“You would hear them,” Gwaltney said. “Then they would be quiet for a while, and I just thought, oh, no, they’ve died. Then, they would pick back up and again.”

After a few more attempts to find the cats in the wall, Gwaltney went to another wall in a neighboring room in the store. He removed a chunk of the wall, and there in the wall’s insulation were three kittens, about one month old.

Gwaltney said he has no idea how the kittens could have gotten down in the wall. He checked the store’s walls and roof, and he could find no holes where the kittens could have fallen down.

He said he does not know to which cat the kittens belonged, because stray cats roam around the streets near his store all the time.

“I kind of leave (the strays) alone,” he said. “They help out with mice, and I don’t bother them.” But he said none of the stray cats he has seen has the coloring of these kittens, making their arrival in his store even more confounding.

Gwaltney is keeping the kittens in his store (one of the three made a quick escape again Wednesday night, but was found Thursday morning), but he said he wants to give them to anyone who will care of them.

To contact Gwaltney, call 539-5551.