Malli Survives a Thirty-Two-Day Voyage from Johor Bahru to Cleveland Trapped Inside a Shipping Crate
"It's just amazing she survived."
-- Jed Mignano
There is a very good reason why cats are said to have nine lives. Between the evil deeds done to them by ailurophobes as well as their own penchant for misadventures, they certainly need all of them just in order to survive for a few precious years on this earth.
A good case in point is Malli, a twelve-week-old black and white kitten who only recently survived a thirty-two-day combination sea and land voyage while trapped inside a steel crate containing a five-thousand-pound roll of cable. (See photos above and below.)
Malli's epic journey began February 4th when she, then about six-weeks-old, became trapped inside a shipping crate in the Malaysian port city of Johor Bahru. The ship sailed three days later and did not dock in Los Angeles until February 25th.
From there the crate was transported overland by truck to Cleveland where it was opened by employees of Samsel Supply on March 7th. Inside they found not only Malli but the remains of her mother and siblings who had perished during the long trip.
"It's just amazing she survived," Jed Mignano of the Cleveland Animal Protective League (CAPL) told The Plain Dealer on March 8th. (See "Kitten Survives Transpacific Journey Hidden in a Roll of Cable.")
Despite her rough introduction to this wicked old world, all indications are that she is going to be just fine. She is currently being quarantined at CAPL but if all goes well she will be a free cat again in a few weeks.
Although dozens of individuals, including one from as far away as Italy, have inquired about adopting her, the brave little kitten already has a home waiting for her. "Little Malli is going to live with one of the wonderful people who helped rescue her from the shipping crate," the CAPL's Sharon Harvey confided to The Plain Dealer on March 12th. (See "Cat from Malaysia Doing Well at Humane Shelter, Has Adoptive Home.")
As extraordinary as Malli's saga is, it is far from being unusual. Quite a few cats, as well as other animals, get trapped inside shipping crates each year but they seldom make the headlines due to the simple fact that they usually do not come out alive.
Only last summer a cat named Spice from Waikoloa Village on Hawaii's Big Island spent nineteen days at sea after she inadvertently became trapped inside a crate containing her family's furniture. Everything turned out all right for her, however, when she was freed upon the arrival of the crate at her new home in San Bernardino. (See Cat Defender post of July 16, 2007 entitled "Accidentally Trapped in a Shipping Crate, Calico Cat Named Spice Survives Nineteen-Day Sea Voyage from Hawaii to San Bernardino.")
Last spring, a cat named China miraculously survived an even more arduous journey that took her from Shanghai to Hendersonville, North Carolina. All totaled, she was forced to go without food and water for an astonishing thirty-five days. (See Cat Defender post of May 17, 2007 entitled "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China.")
In 2005, a cat named Emily unwittingly got trapped inside a shipping crate in Appleton, Wisconsin and wound up in Nancy, France. She was saved from the hangman by the generosity of her rescuers at Raflatac, a laminating company, who paid to have her quarantined. Continental Airlines later volunteered to fly her home gratis. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")
Earlier in 2001, Port Taranaki's resident feline, Colin's, wound up in Yeosu after she was either carried or ventured aboard a South Korean ship. This necessitated her caretaker, Gordon MacPherson, being forced to fly to Yeosu in order to reclaim her. (See Cat Defender post of May 31, 2007 entitled "Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen.")
Stateside cats are even more prone to misadventures than those who accidentally take to the sea. In particular, innumerable cats mistakenly climb aboard trains, moving vans, and trucks never to be seen again. Rascal of South Bend and Neo of Crowley, Texas were two of the lucky ones in that they were later reunited with their owners. (See Cat Defender posts of June 7, 2007 and November 6, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Rascal Hops Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga" and "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado.")
All of these stories make great copy for newspapers but the fact remains that if either the shipping companies or the cats' owners had acted more responsibly in the first place none of them would have been forced to suffer.
Being diminutive creatures who live close to the ground, cats are not only afraid of loud noises but also of scurrying feet overhead as well. Consequently, they have a tendency to seek security in small places when their environment becomes hectic.
For domesticated cats this could could mean fleeing into a shipping crate or a moving van in order to escape the hustle and bustle churned up by movers. For homeless cats, such as Malli's mother, it could entail seeking a warm and dry place in order to give birth.
The lesson to be learned from all of these cats' misadventures is that shipping companies should always check their crates for cats and other animals before sealing them. Operators of such ubiquitous modes of conveyance as cars, trucks, and vans should likewise check their vehicles for animals hiding inside.
Above all, it is especially important that motorists check underneath their hoods for cats before starting their engines in cold weather. (See Cat Defender post of January 5, 2006 entitled "'Miracle' Cat Survives Seventy-Mile Trip Down New Jersey Turnpike By Clinging to the Drive Shaft of SUV.")
Finally, if foreign companies are unwilling to take steps to ensure that their cargo containers do not contain any cats, American importers should insist that they do so as a precondition for doing business with them. After all, a number of importers have publicly acknowledged that they often find dead animals inside consignments.
Photos: Steve Trueman of CAPL.