Rascal Hops on a Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga
"I'm glad the cat came across our path, so we could get it back to where it's supposed to go."
-- Brian Casey of Primavera
Because they are curious creatures and prone to doing a certain amount of unescorted roaming, cats sometimes get into trouble. Their diminutive stature and proclivity toward secreting themselves away in nooks and crannies whenever frightened are sans doute contributing factors in their misadventures.
It is only because of collars, tattoos, and microchips that a clearer picture is finally starting to emerge of not only the extraordinary scrapes that cats manage to get themselves into, but also of the innumerable precipices that await them both at home and in their own neighborhoods. All of this is, of course, in addition to the deadly machinations of bird lovers, wildlife proponents, and other inveterate ailurophobes.
Take, for example, the case of Rascal. (See photo above.) Since her house in South Bend is located next to the train tracks, it probably was just a matter of time before she hopped on board one of them.
Whether she was in hot pursuit of a mouse or just trying to escape the hustle and bustle that accompanies trains, she climbed aboard a southbound freight train one day back in March and was unable to get off until the choo-choo finally stopped almost five-hundred miles down the tracks in Chattanooga. Fortunately for her, the train came to rest directly in front of cat-friendly Primavera, a floor covering distributor.
"They (the railroad's employees) must have opened up a car or something like that and (she) jumped out and she wandered over here," Primavera's Brian Casey told WRCB-TV in Chattanooga on March 8th. (See "Curious Cat Takes a Choo-Choo into Chattanooga.")
Thanks to the fact that she was wearing a collar, Primavera was able to locate her flabbergasted owner in South Bend. Arrangements were made with the owner's father, a truck driver, to pick up the wayward feline on his way through Chattanooga and to return her to South Bend.
Although the employees at Primavera hated to see Rascal go, they were glad that they were able to reunite her with her rightful family. "I'm glad the cat came across our path, so we could get it back to where it's supposed to go," Casey added philosophically.
During her brief stint at Primavera, Rascal helped employee Pam Hollowell input some data into the computer and generally just soaked up all the attention bestowed upon her. "She's a loving cat, she's sitting there purring all day and just having a great time once we got a cat box for her and some food," Casey told WRCB-TV.
Rascal's extraordinary adventure brings to mind the misadventures of an Appleton, Wisconsin cat named Emily who crawled into a cargo container and wound up in Nancy, France and a Texas cat named Neo (See photo below) who got trapped in a neighbor's moving van and ended up in Colorado. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2005 and November 6, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship" and "Trapped in Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado.")
As was the case with Rascal, both Emily's and Neo's misadventures ended happily. These fortunate felines are, however, exceptions to the rule.
Untold numbers of cats disappear each year simply because they wander into either vehicles or onto trains and are thus transported many miles from home. Others get trapped in luggage, furniture, and appliances and are never seen again.
These extraordinary cases highlight the need for all cats to be equipped with collars. More importantly, their rambles need to be scrutinized.
Photos: WRCB-TV (Rascal) and Eric McCracken of the Daily Times-Call of Longmont, CO (Neo).