“The bag was not tied up, and I'm assuming the kitten was either thrown out from the bag or had crawled into the bag for a while since the bag was also covered in cat feces,” Vagell said. “My first instinct was to take the kitten off the street, get her checked out and give her all her shots, and then drop her off to a rescue.”
He managed to get the kitten out of the bag, and with the help of Facebook he connected with other community members to find a veterinarian. He also connected with local resident Jana Rosenthal, who offered to help the kitten.
Vagell recently lost his 13-year-old cat and wasn’t ready to bring another cat into his home.
“I did not consider keeping the kitten for myself, but it was in my every interest to make sure she got to a good home,” Vagell said. “Jana offered to take the kitten into her cat rescue and have her adopted, so that was good.”
Vagell took the kitten to The Mobile Vet Clinic on Metropolitan Avenue and paid for her vet fees. During her checkup, he soon realized she was covered in fleas which made her weak due to the infestations.
“There was no indication that the kitten wouldn't live long, but they did tell me if she is not eating normally for the night, I'd have to have her hospitalized to get some fluid in her,” he said.
He took the kitten home and cared for her. Unfortunately, the kitten didn’t make it through the night.
Vagell is a primatologist, specifically an animal behaviorist. He’s always had an interest in primates, animal welfare and animal cognition. His work in research involves ruffed lemurs at Duke Lemur Center, where he tests their color vision through non-invasive practices like training the lemurs to use touchscreen tablets.
He is also a board member for Primarily Primates, a primate sanctuary, where the organization takes in primates from former labs or ex-pets.
Vagell donates to a lot of animal charities, particularly ones for cats, so he was happy to help the kitten.
In the past, he took in a three-day-old kitten that his friend found and nursed her back to health. The cat, Serra, who he named after his favorite “Magic The Gathering” card, is now seven years old.