06/25/2009 at 01:55 PM EDT
On a hot Saturday afternoon in mid-June, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier discovered an unusual parcel on his Boston route: an 8-week-old kitten, left inside a mailbox.
With the help of a neighbor who witnessed the unusual pickup, the furry parcel, dubbed Postina, was delivered to animal rescuers in decent shape. The drop-off was a reminder of the economy's adverse effect on pet ownership, says Brian Adams, a spokesman for the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). "People are abandoning pets at a higher rate now," he tells PEOPLE Pets, adding that it's a felony in Massachusetts.
The MSPCA introduced Postina at a press conference last week, hoping to find a more suitable permanent address for her. "We started receiving about 10 calls an hour" as well as emails, says Adams, from would-be adopters as far afield as Holland. But the MSPCA wanted to place the kitten in a closer zip code.
Dani-Jean Stuart, a 49-year-old freelance television director based in neighboring New Hampshire, spotted Postina while compiling her story for a nightly newscast for New England Cable News. She immediately called her husband, 55-year-old USPS supervisor George Knapp. "I have found your kitten," she told Knapp, who'd been bereft after losing his "best friend" and beloved cat, Trouble, about a year ago.
Stuart promptly emailed the MSPCA with their details, mentioning the fact that they'd adopted their 14-year-old Doberman mix, Caesar, from them too. She also told them about her husband's loss, and assured them they'd keep the kitten indoors, "to stay safe."
They soon found out they'd been chosen as the family to adopt Postina. Adams says Knapp's postal employment is "an interesting tidbit" but didn't skew the decision. The MSPCA chose the couple "based on their history of adopting, the history of the care they provide animals, and also the fact that they were relatively local," he says.
Stuart and Knapp arrived in Massachusetts on Monday, after Postina had been vaccinated and spayed. As soon as they met her, they were hooked. "Bold as brass, there she was," laughs Stuart. "They brought her out and she was climbing all over George," she says. "She's a little sherpa; she climbs everything."
Now settling into her new home in New Hampshire, the kitten is getting used to her surroundings and has already batted Caesar on the nose. "She's adopted two out of three of us and that ain't bad for starts," jokes Knapp. In a few weeks, they plan to adopt a playmate for her from a New Hampshire shelter, and Stuart says she hopes their actions will "inspire people to go out and adopt a pet that fits their family and their budget" or at least donate to a shelter or food pantry.
Meanwhile, they're adjusting to the energy of a kitten and Postina is adjusting to a new name: Postage Due, "PD" for short. "She was undeliverable," explains Knapp, who's now proven just the opposite. See more amazing rescue stories on PEOPLE Pets:Piper the Kitten Survives Several Days in a PipeA Siamese Cat's Wheel Ordeal