It ironically happened during the dog days of summer.
Shortly after Independence Day, a Regions Bank customer at the Fort Smith Main branch in Northwest Arkansas heard an unusual noise coming from the automated teller machine (ATM). Branch associates called the Fort Smith Fire Department, which discovered the unimaginable: a kitten trapped in the ATM.
With ATMs sealed tight, it’s a mystery as to how the kitten got in.
“Initially, there was a lot of shock and disbelief about how this occurred,” said Troy Dryzga, consumer banking manager for Regions in Northwest Arkansas. “Those thoughts quickly turned to appreciation for the local fire department who immediately responded and assisted.”
Fire department personnel rescued the grey tabby, who was dehydrated, hungry, and well, a bit feisty. Fort Smith Animal Haven, (FSAH) a nonprofit rescue shelter for homeless, abandoned or feral animals, then took him in.
Along with needing some TLC, the wannabe cat burglar also needed a name.
One month later, Cash has a new lease on his eight remaining lives. He’s healthy, weighing 1.5 pounds. Brenda Altman, an FSAH board member, offered to foster Cash since the shelter was full.
“He is a sweet baby boy, full of kitten energy,” said Altman. “I take him to my office daily, and he enjoys cat naps on the laptop computer.”
And soon, Cash will be heading to his new fur-ever home after being adopted by a local family.
On August 4, Dryzga and Regions Fort Smith Market Executive Megan Nichols presented Fort Smith Animal Haven with a $1,500 contribution and pet supplies to celebrate Cash’s adoption and thank the nonprofit for its work in fostering animals like him.
“The amazing donation we received in honor of Cash will go toward medical supplies, vaccines and flea and tick preventative treatments for future animals coming into the shelter,” said Rick Bennett, director of operations with FSAH.
The check presentation also kicked off a weekend pet adoption awareness campaign that placed 24 dogs and 11 cats and kittens into adoptive homes.
“I believe we were successful in adopting a large number of animals because of Regions making the community aware of Cash and of Fort Smith Animal Haven,” said Bennett.
Dryzga considers the events of the past month a reflection of Fort Smith itself.
“From the fire department to Fort Smith Animal Haven to the volunteer who offered to adopt Cash, this really has become a full community moment,” he said. “The pet adoption awareness event also served as a valuable reminder that Cash isn’t the only one needing a forever home for others eager to help.”
Altman said the Animal Haven is supported by a team that’s dedicated to creating a better quality of life for animals in need.
“What I have done taking care of one special little kitten is nothing compared to the shelter employees and fosters we have the pleasure of working with,” she added. “We currently have a total of 385 animals in the system. Fosters are the backbone of Fort Smith Animal Haven.”
Cash has become quite the celebrity; but don’t worry, the feline doesn’t take it or anything else seriously.
“He loves to play with the toys Regions gave him, and he enjoys playing with my grandchildren,” said Altman. “They wear him out, and he then takes long naps.”
A furry tale ending for all involved.