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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Monday, November 06, 2006

Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado

"We cannot without becoming cats, perfectly understand the cat mind."
-- St. George Mivart, The Cat

What started out as an insouciant visit to a next-door neighbor's yard in Crowley, Texas on October 19th quickly morphed into a harrowing seven-hundred-twenty-nine-mile trip to Longmont, Colorado for a handsome longhaired brown cat named Neo.

Employees from Golden Van Lines were emptying the house of its furnishings and the ensuing noise, confusion, and hustle and bustle frightened the little cat. Thinking that he had found a safe harbor, he unwittingly took refuge in one of the items being loaded onto the truck.

Not realizing that they had an accidental stowaway on board, the movers closed up the truck and took off for Longmont. This doomed Neo to spend the next five days alone in the darkness of the truck without either food, water, or sanitary facilities.

Upon arrival in Longmont, the four-year-old cat bolted from his gulag much to the surprise of the workers. Luckily, he did not go too far, however.

The kindhearted employees of the company fed and watered him, gave him a rug to lie down on, a litter box, and a night light. Being a quick study, company Vice President Mike McCarthy immediately suspected that Neo was someone's pet.

"He's a very nice cat. He's not some stray," he told the Daily Times-Call of Longmont on October 27th. (See "Stowaway Cat Takes Moving Truck to Longmont.") "We think he must have gotten in while they were loading up the truck," he surmised.

After making their special guest comfortable in the conference room (See photo above), Golden Van Lines set out to reunite him with his rightful owner. Since he was not wearing a collar, the company first had him scanned by the Longmont Humane Society in order to determine if he had been microchipped.

When this undertaking proved fruitless they photographed him and e-mailed his picture to their customer in Crowley. As it turned out Neo did not belong to the party doing the moving but rather to their neighbors, Amos and Sonja Gaines.

Wanting to spare him another long, grueling truck ride, Golden Van Lines put him on an American Airlines flight to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and he was reunited with his rightful owners on November 2nd.

"Neo does stuff like this," Sonja told the Burleson-Crowley Connection of Cleburne on November 7th. (See "Cat Stows on Board Moving Van.") "Every time people leave their windows down on their vehicles, he likes to get in their open cars. But he's never done anything like this before."

Although locating Neo was certainly a welcome development for the Gaineses, the cat left behind a lot of disappointed would-be guardians in Longmont. "I have about twelve people who want to adopt him," McCarthy told the Daily Times-Call.

Although it is fairly common for cats to get trapped in furniture and shipping crates, usually their misadventures are short-lived. This is not always the case, however. For instance, an Appleton, Wisconsin cat named Emily wandered into a nearby manufacturing plant last fall and wound up in Nancy, France. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

Cats like a quiet and calm environment and they therefore have a tendency to hide whenever strangers show up and conditions become boisterous. Recognizing this petit fait, cat owners can take certain precautions to ensure that their pets do not meet with mischief.

When either moving or having a large number of guests over, cats should be confined to a room that is quiet and secure. As Neo's brush with disaster demonstrates, this is a good idea even if it is only a neighbor that is moving.

Secondly, after the moving van is fully loaded it would be a good idea to make sure that all cats are present and accounted for as well. Should a cat be missing, the van and its contents must be searched before it is allowed to depart.

In order to avoid these types of problems cat owners need to at least attempt to think like a cat. Although there is no doubt a good deal of truth in St. George Mivart's admonition that "we cannot without becoming cats, perfectly understand the cat mind," the effort nonetheless needs to be undertaken.

Finally, kudos are in order for McCarthy and the staff of Golden Van Lines for the effort and expense that they went to not only in caring for Neo but also in reuniting him with his owners. Individuals planning on relocating can rest assured that in Golden Van Lines they have a bona fide cat-friendly carrier.

Photo: Erin McCracken of the Daily Times-Call.