WASHINGTON - What do you get when you combine a cop, a cat and compassion? A happy ending.
If you've visited the Maryland Transportation Authority Police station in Annapolis lately, you may have heard loud meowing from inside one of the offices there. Ask if that is, indeed, a cat you are hearing, and some staffers will giggle and say, "Yup, it's the Captain's cat."
Manuel Crew, a captain with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police in Annapolis, stands cradling the grey-and-white cat in his arms. The cat is plastered against Crew and burrows his face into the big man's neck, purring so loudly you can hear it from across the room.
Crew explains the cat showed up outside his fiancee's home. "He had an injured leg, so we initially took him to the vet," he says. They didn't plan on keeping the cat — they had several of their own. So once they got the leg mended, they took the young cat to a local shelter figuring he'd be adopted soon.
Instead, they got a call from the shelter saying that the shelter wasn't having any luck finding a new home for the stray. If Crew wouldn't take him, the cat would likely be euthanized. Crew's response? A quick trip to the shelter to pick up the cat he now calls Chance.
But when he did arrive at the shelter, Chance wasn't looking so good. He'd picked up a respiratory infection and had lost weight. "We had to take him to the vet," Crew explains; there were several treatments along with a convalescent period. "We had to feed him by hand with a syringe," Crew says, until the cat's appetite returned, which it did. "You can see now, he's fully grown, and weighs about 10 pounds," he says.
Crew and his fiancee each have several cats of their own, so Chance had been staying at the police station. He spent his days roaming the office, lounging at the desk while Crew worked or playing among the scratching posts and toys scattered around the office.
Staffers joked the cat is a "time thief" because when they would stop by Crew's office, they'd spend an extra minute or two petting or playing with the cat. But that's not where Chance will stay. After Crew's fiancee lost one cat to cancer, the decision was an easy one - he'd be joining their extended family.
Asked why he chose to call the cat Chance, Crew smiles and says, "Because ... he got a second chance." And judging from the way the cat responds when Crew picks him up, the captain has a devoted friend for life.
Follow @WTOP on Twitter.
© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.