17:02 PM

Meows of distress. A can of tuna. A desperate note. The story of one lucky kitten’s rescue in a TPA garage.

No one knew how a kitten wound up under the hood of a car in the Short Term Garage. But the Guest Services team was determined to get him out.

It was Thursday afternoon, May 16, at Tampa International Airport and a woman approached the Information Center kiosk in the Main Terminal. She had come from the 7th floor of the Short Term Parking Garage where she’d heard what sounded like a yowling kitten in distress.

TPA’s Guest Services team sprang into action.

Guest Services Supervisors Jiomarie Santiago and Colin Murphy followed the guest to the garage where they were able to pinpoint where the meows were coming from – a Hyundai sedan that had been parked there for at least a day. Someone had already placed a note on the car's windshield the day before, warning the car’s owner of the cat sounds. Using a flashlight, Jiomarie and Colin were able to see the kitten hanging out inside the car’s undercarriage but weren’t able to reach the scared animal. They tried to lure him out to no avail, and with no way to identify the car’s owner or lift the hood, there was nothing they could do.

“We knew at least the kitten wasn’t stuck,” Colin said. “But we still couldn’t get to it.”

A little while later, Colin’s phone rang. It was the car’s owner. She read the notes and looked under and around her car, and hearing no sounds, she started her car and began to back out of her parking spot. She didn’t get far before hearing a distinct, sharp mew, so she stopped her car and called the number on the note.

Colin and Jiomarie rushed to the garage and had the woman open her hood. There on top of the engine, sat a frightened kitten. 

Colin grabbed him and the scared and clawing kitten was brought to the Guest Services office, placed in a box with some food and water.

Colin called a couple of local animal shelters, but without reassurance that the kitten would be spared from being euthanized, he took the kitten to a vet instead. The vet confirmed the kitten – which was thought to be female and named “TIA” initially – was a 4- or 5-week healthy male, so Colin changed his name to Archie.

Colin, who is a new employee at TPA and just recently moved into a newly purchased house with his family and two other cats, was reluctant to add a third but was already attached.

Archie is now safe and sound in his new home with the Murphy family.