Kitten survives ride at eastern Iowa recycling center - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Kitten survives ride at eastern Iowa recycling center

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

For the past few months, Brittney Heasley has worked on the conveyor line at Cedar Valley Recycling and Transfer in Waterloo. She helps sort recyclables out of curbside garbage.

Heasley is usually at the end of the line, by this point it's mostly just paper left on the belt, which is why she was very surprised one day to find not only paper, but a kitten!

"The cat came down the line. All I saw was this little fur ball, so I picked it up, and I didn't know if it was going to be dead or alive and it was alive," said Brittney Heasley.

Heasley believes the kitten was about a week old at the time.

"It's eyes weren't open. It could barely walk," she said.

A co-worker put the kitten in a bin until the end of Brittney's shift. A vet told her the kitten needed to be bottle fed, so that's what she did for several weeks.

Brittney wanted to keep the kitten, but she already has several pets. Instead, a family friend was able to take the kitten a home. It was an easy decision for the Dettmers to add the kitten, now known as Taz, to the family.

"All you have to do is look at him and you can see why," said Dennis Dettmer.

Looking back at Taz's journey at the recycling center, it's incredible he made it all the way to Heasley.

First, he likely got picked up by a skid loader, then dumped on the conveyor belt. Next he had to go on a metal separator! Somehow Taz got through it all and made it way down the line to Brittney Heasley.

Workers at the recycling center aren't a hundred percent sure, but they say there are many cats around the recycling center, so they think it's likely the kitten was actually born on site, probably in or near the garbage pile.

But where Taz's journey started isn't as important as where it ends -- his new home.

Taz is a "mitten kitten" meaning he has an extra toe similar to a thumb on his paws. He even has his own Facebook page. Just search "Taz Recycled Cat Dettmer."

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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