TUESDAY, March 17, 2015 – A cat somehow made its way from South Carolina to California and now Riverside County Animal Services is trying to get the tabby back to his owner.
The Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (S.T.A.R.T. Rescue), the Animal Solutions Konnection (ASK) Foundation and shelter employees have made donations to pay for the cat’s journey home. START Rescue and the ASK Foundation are two nonprofit organizations that work closely with Riverside County in saving pets and programs that benefit shelter animals.
The orange tabby was very stealth in his travels. He made it all the way to the Arizona-California border without detection. His stowaway days ended after a state Food & Agriculture inspector performed a routine check on a U-Haul trailer that was being towed by a woman.
The inspector asked the driver to open the trailer. The woman complied and that’s when the inspector heard a muffled “meow, meow, meow.”
The inspector asked the woman if she knew a cat was in the trailer. The woman said no – and also informed the inspector that she didn’t own a cat. The inspection station worker took custody of the cat and later drove him to Riverside County Animal Services’ Blythe shelter. Once there, the dehydrated orange tabby was examined, scanned for a chip and provided nourishment and water. Employees at the Blythe Animal Shelter discovered that the cat did have a microchip embedded under its skin – and the presumed owner of the cat was tracked to a South Carolina location.
“We have handled some pets with crazy back stories, and this is one more for the list,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “The good news is we know the owner, she wants her pet back, and we’ll make that happen. Of course, our friends at START and the ASK Foundation are carrying most of the weight on that effort.”
Cheryl Walls, an Anderson, S.C. resident and the cat’s rightful owner, adopted “Kevin” from her local shelter in June 2013. He was primarily an indoor cat, she said, “but he acted unhappy.” One day she allowed him to go outside. He would come back, but one day in the fall of 2013, Kevin was gone. “I assumed someone must have picked him up,” Ms. Walls said. “Now,” she joked, “he has seen more of the country than me.”
She said she is definitely looking forward to Kevin’s return. The cat’s name has special significance to her, even though she did not name the cat Kevin. When she first met the cat at the shelter, she was unaware that the shelter employees had named him Kevin. She learned his name after getting to know him and getting ready for the adoption process. It seemed very fitting that it would work out the way it did. The name also happens to be her late fiance’s first name.
Riverside County is coordinating the cat’s flight plan. The flight arrangements are still in the works, but a tentative plan has been scheduled for Wednesday morning. The departure will happen either from the Palm Springs International Airport or the Ontario International Airport. The cat is currently being cared for at the county’s Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
Department of Animal Services
Robert P. Miller, Director