Nancy Lindstrom of Billings Animal Control said the cat was found Wednesday by workers at Albertson's warehouse in Billings while they were unloading the truck, which originated Tuesday from Salt Lake City, KTVQ-TV, Billings, reported Thursday.
Lindstrom said she initially believed the animal was feral after it hissed and growled at her, but the cat calmed down after she brought it back to the Animal Control office.
"I opened the box and she looked up at me and meowed at me. And I said, 'Aww, you're not feral.' I reached in and petted it," Lindstrom said. "Really nice, very sweet, didn't act wild, so I picked it up and it was just skin and bones."
Lindstrom said she took the cat to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, which shares a building with Animal Control.
"She's very thin and very dehydrated, so it makes me think she has been some place for far longer than 24 hours," shelter director Chris Anderson said. "Twenty-four hours without water, they're thirsty, but they would not be so dehydrated. She is truly bone thin. So she's been some place without food and water for quite a long time."
Anderson said the cat, estimated to be about 10 years old, has a strong chance of recovering.