TOWNSEND — The kitties made it out, safe and sound.
The dryer, however, was a goner.
It was an evening, just like any other evening, when a neighbor knocked on Mitzi Roy’s door.
She was crying hysterically.
Kittens started screaming after she turned on the dryer in her cellar, the neighbor said. She didn’t know what to do.
“I think I killed the kittens,” the neighbor told her.
Roy found a screwdriver and some pliers so her neighbor could look for the animals stuck in the machine. But her neighbor needed more help than the tools.
Roy said she did what anyone else would do — went over to the house and tore the dryer apart.
“We didn’t know who to call,” Roy said. Using only pliers, Roy removed all the bolts in the back of the dryer, which by then was lying face-down on the floor.
“I could reach in and feel the kitten’s bottom,” she said. But the cat was not coming out.
The women moved the dryer and found more bolts to remove. The kitten stopped crying.
“Oh, my God. He’s dead,” Roy remembers thinking.
As she bored into the machine, she got closer to the animal and could see it was breathing.
“He was inside the plastic motor,” she said. Its leg was stuck.
Using those trusty pliers, she pried the motor apart and found a second kitten hidden by the first. She slipped them out of the side.
The two kittens joined two littermates the owner of the dryer, who asked not to be named, found walking around in the cellar.
Roy speculates that the kittens got in through the vent. The mother cat is a feral stray.
Community members quickly stepped up to help.
The next day, Roy visited Sallie Thurber at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital on the common. “She charged me very little,” Roy said.
“The kittens are fine,” Thurber said. The mother cat kept them nice and warm. The veterinarian wormed the babies and sent them on their way.
“These are going to be good cats,” Thurber said, estimating the kittens were about a month old. “They’ll be good pets.”
Problems remained. Roy’s friend no longer had a dryer and a new dryer was not in the budget.
Roy walked down to Forest Appliance to see if they could help.
“I brought the kittens over to kind of butter them up,” she said.
It worked. “I thought it was great that her friend brought the kittens in,” said Tammy Rajaniemi, who wears many hats at Forest. She mans the front desk, does the office work and works in sales.
“It just so happened that I had a conversation with a customer,” she said. The customer wanted to donate a washer and dryer to somebody who might need them after their new appliances were installed.
Roy’s next stop was Farmers Exchange, where she bought kitten formula and received some advice from manager Valerie Sears.
The kittens require lots of care. They were not weaned and needed help with toileting. Two remain with Roy and the other two are with a friend. They swap the animals back and forth between households.
Life should be good for the four little ones. They all have homes, once they are ready to move on.
The mother cat has been seen in the yard, but is too feral to be approached.
“The mother is probably missing them right now,” Thurber said.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.