Now named Hopper, the kitten is sure thankful for the excellent hearing from William Montero and John Kase.

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A pair of alert sanitation workers in New York City managed to rescue a 10-week-old kitten who'd been thrown out in a trash bag—moments before the garbage truck's trash compactor would've crushed the feline to death.

The two heroic workers, William Montero, 40, and John Kase, 52, were working their route in Queens on Monday when they were doing their job as usual, the New York Daily News reports. Namely, picking up an ordinary bag of trash and tossing it into the back of the truck. 

Then they heard something. 

"It was about eight bags and a couple of cans," Montero told the newspaper. "As I threw the first couple of bags in I heard a meowing sound and I said, 'Please let that be a toy.' We picked up a couple of more bags and we heard the meow again and sure as day there was a kitten inside." 

Kitten stands on edge of trash receptacle
Credit: Dima Berlin / Getty

The orange cat had barely made it. The bag he occupied was going to be squashed by the truck's hopper, the machinery that compresses the trash so the garbage men can collect as much as possible. 

"The cat definitely would have died," Kase told the Daily News. "As the truck cycles through, there is a piston on the hopper that's 2,200 PSI. I've broken bowling balls in the back."

Phew, close one. Our heroes dutifully looked through the rest of the trash to make sure the kitten—now named Hopper!—wasn't accompanied by any littermates. Thankfully, he was alone. 

Kase ended up cradling Hopper, who didn't like traveling in a cardboard box, as he drove along the rest of his route. Soon, a supervisor came to pick Hopper up and took him to Noah's Ark Animal Rescue, the newspaper reported. 

A veterinary exam revealed that Hopper was suffering from upper respiratory and eye infections. Denise Hock, Noah's Ark's founder, told the Daily News she plans to rehabilitate Hopper and eventually find him a new, permanent home.  

She mentioned something that we really shouldn't have to even talk about: When it comes to surrendering a cat, you always have better options than throwing your pet away. 

"What would go through someone's mind to tie a cat in a bag and kill it?" she told the paper. "If you don't want it, call someone. Take it to a precinct. There are so many shelters. It makes no sense why someone would do something so horrible."