One day, when Elysia Caris was on her way home from work in New York City, she heard a faint meow. After a few moment of searching, she suddenly spotted a paw protruding from a small crevice beneath a fence. When she knelt down to have a better look, she discovered a cat trapped in the crawl area, freezing and filthy.
The space that the cat, later named Ying, had gotten himself into was too small and cramped for Caris to reach in and pull him out from, so she went to a nearby deli, bought a can of cat food and tried to lure him out of the space with it. According to neighbors, Ying had been in the crawl space for weeks at that point, and seemed to have no desire to come out, even though he clearly needed help.
Even with the promise of food, Ying was still too scared to venture out of his tiny space to get some.
“He poked his head out and came out just a tiny bit, but would dart back in if a car passed or if I got too close,” Caris told The Dodo. “I stayed for about an hour trying to get him out of there before I got too cold and had to go in. I didn’t want to leave him, though.”
Caris desperately wanted to assist him, so she pushed the food can into the crawl area in the hopes that Ying would at least be able to eat and gain some strength. While driving home, she kept thinking about the unfortunate cat and realized she needed to keep trying to save him.
Caris remarked, “I felt like he was already my cat. I was unable to leave him there. The thought of him spending so much time in such icy environment makes me sad.
The following morning, Caris returned to the area where Ying had been hiding, and she was thrilled to see him still there.
“I, again, got a can of food and this time put some on my hands to get him out of the gap,” Caris said. “He got closer and closer and proceeded to eat from my hands. When he finally wriggled all the way out, I scooped him up and took him home.”
Ying was scared at first and meowed in protest as Caris carried him inside, but he soon began to relax and started purring in her arms, realizing that he was finally safe.
Once they were inside Caris set Ying down on the floor and, after exploring his new home for a bit, he curled up in front of the heater, exhausted from his ordeal and so happy to finally be warm and comfortable again.
Caris made a vet appointment for Ying, and was pleased to discover that, despite spending weeks living in the crawl space, he was in pretty good shape. He had ticks and a lot of dirt in his ears, but other than that, he didn’t have any lasting medical issues.
The vet got him all cleaned up and vaccinated, and then Caris took him home again — and knew that he was officially there to stay.
Caris is happy that she decided to adopt Ying since he has become fixated on her. The tiny cat now has the nicest new home and can’t stop expressing his mother how appreciative he is that she didn’t give up on him.
“He circles around me if I’m sitting down and rubs against my legs when he wants to be picked up,” Caris said. “He’s been by my side ever since I took him in. I feel like he’s adopted me in a way!”