The cat was bound for a dangerous trash separator.

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Workers at this Russian waste-sorting facility probably find some pretty weird stuff, but we’re not sure if they’ve ever found a cat—until recently, that is. 

Reuters reported Thursday that the cat plucked from the conveyor belt is now living a new life as the Ulyanovsk region’s “deputy environment minister,” his new honorary title bestowed upon him by his new owner, the region’s (actual) environment minister. 

You can watch the cat’s rescue in the above video. The middle worker on the right, Mikhail Tukash, retrieves a bag from the moving conveyor belt just before it moves underneath the barrier—and ever closer to a trash separator (and almost certain death). He cuts it open to reveal a black-and-white cat staring back at his own bumfuzzled face. 

“I felt something soft inside the bag,” Tukash told the tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets. “I cut the bag open slightly and I saw eyes looking back at me.”

His rescue made headlines, and the Environment Minister Gulnara Rakhmatulina soon adopted him. The cat, who will get his name from a nationwide naming contest, is in good health, according to a vet, Reuters reports. 

In the meantime, he’s looking around his new home and napping on a chair in Rakhmatulina’s office. 

cat rescued from trash conveyor belt
Credit: Courtesy of Reuters on Youtube

“I want to appeal to pet owners: Remember that you are responsible for those you have tamed,” Rakhmatulina said, per Reuters. “If you can’t keep your pet at home, you can always leave it in good hands or at a shelter.”