Char Gruber had just left work January 5 and was driving on Interstate 35W near Black Dog Road in Burnsville when she spotted something sitting on the side of the highway.
She turned around and found it was a skinny black cat just sitting there watching the cars whiz by.
As Char said on her Facebook page, "No where to go, river to the north, freeway to the west, a huge wetland to the east. He lifted one cold paw, then the other. I went up to him and he dove into a 25' long drainage pipe and was living under the off ramp."
Char drove off, but knew she couldn't just leave the little cat out there. The temp at the time was 2 degrees above zero, and the image of him lifting his frigid paws in the air pushed her into action.
She called her friend Carolyn Kirstine (skilled at catching cats in live traps) and the two of them hiked down a steep embankment and set a pair of traps.
Within minutes the skinny black cat was caught in one of them.
The ladies called their friend Anne Cieko, who agreed to give the wayward pet shelter.
Anne soon found that the cat had a chip in him, his name was Freddie, he belonged to a man who lived in south Minneapolis, and had been reported missing September 20, 2015.
The ladies contacted Justin Frey, who was overjoyed at the news his friend was still alive one year, three months, and 17 days after he slipped out of the house.
"If it weren’t for these three, and microchipping, Freddie would not be home today. He saw the vet this morning and the vet had no major concerns," Frey reported on his Facebook page.
"He is a good weight with a pretty healthy coat. Freddie jumped right onto my bed last night as if nothing had changed, and remains there this morning basking in the winter sun.
"Thanks again to Char, Anne and Carolyn! My heart is full today."
The lesson of the day, according to Char: It takes team work, never turn your back on a wily cat, and CHIP your animals!
(KARE - Jan 9, 2017)