Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland
"Du, ich habe deine Katze verschickt."
-- Manuela Lueginger
A one-year-old black cat named Janosch from Rottach-Egern in Bayern recently found out the hard way that a shipping crate is not necessarily the best place to take an impromptu snooze.
While visiting the house of his neighbor, Manuela Leuginger, he crawled into a crate containing a child's seat that she had recently sold on eBay. Not realizing that she had a stowaway inside, Leuginger sealed the package and took it to the post office. (See photo photo below.)
Twenty-four-hours and seven-hundred-seventeen kilometers later, the package arrived at the post office in the Rhineland city of Dorsten. An alert employee noticed that it was moving and freed a forever grateful Janosch who was not any worse for the wear despite some rather anxious moments.
The post office informed Lueginger who in turn broke the news to Janosch's owner, forty-four-year-old Gitti Rauch. "Du, ich habe deine Katze verschickt," she is quoted by the Suddeutschen Zeitung of Munchen on July 10th as saying. (See "Du, ich habe deine Katze verschickt!")
Because it is not unusual for Janosch to stay away from home for days at a time, Rauch was not even aware that anything was amiss with him. Tatsachlich, she did not a first believe Lueginger. "Wenn sie nicht gerade schwanger ware, hatte ich gedacht, sie ist betrunken," she confessed to the Suddeutschen Zeitung.
Unfortunately for Rauch, locating Janosch was only the beginning of her travails. Due to the demands of her job as a waitress, she was unable to drop everything in order to immediately go and collect him so the post office turned him over to a shelter in Dorsten where he remained for the next twenty-seven days.
This led to many sleepless nights for both her and Janosch. In particular, she was frequently on the telephone reminding shelter officials not to give away her cat.
Once she was finally able to make it to Dorsten, retrieving Janosch cost her $440 in shelter fees and train fare. "Du bist eine teure Katze," she is quoted by Bild on July 10th as telling Janosch upon their reunion. (See "Kater Janosch als eBay Paket Verschickt.")
Despite the dent in her wallet, Rauch is not crying like a stuck pig. "Aber das war's mir wert, wir sind froh, dass er wieder da ist," she told the Miesbacher Merkur on July 8th. (See "Die Abenteuerliche Reise von Kater Janosch.")
Nor was she surprised that her easygoing cat got trapped inside the shipping crate. "Diese Katze war schon immer etwas speziell, sie fahrt gern Auto, mag Kisten und beschwert sich nie," she told the Miesbacher Merkur.
True to his gentlemanly nature, Janosch neither damaged the child's seat nor fouled the box during his long enforced confinement.
Having apparently learned his lesson, Janosch is said to be staying close to the home fires these days. "Er ist so dankbar, will nur noch bei mir sein und gestreichelt werden," Rauch told Bild in the article cited supra.
The fact that she is making sure that he gets plenty of his favorite dish, Wiener Wurstchen, also could have something to do with his newfound contentedness. (See photo above of the happy pair.)
Because of their diminutive stature and tendency to hide whenever there is considerable hustle and bustle going on around them, especially when boxes and furniture are being moved, cats quite often unwittingly wind up in all sorts of untenable predicaments. For example, a cat named Neo had an experience similar to Janosch's two years ago. (See Cat Defender post of November 6, 2006 entitled "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado.")
Cats such as Emily, China, and Spice have been forced to endure excruciatingly long sea voyages after becoming trapped inside shipping crates. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2005, May 17, 2006, and July 16, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship," "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China," and "Accidentally Trapped in a Shipping Crate, Calico Cat Named Spice Survives Nineteen-Day Sea Voyage from Hawaii to San Bernardino.")
For every cat that survives such grueling experiences, countless others die agonizingly slow deaths either in their makeshift tombs or shortly after they are rescued. (See Cat Defender posts of March 21, 2008 and April 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Malli Survives a Thirty-Two-Day Voyage from Johor Bahru to Cleveland Trapped Inside a Shipping Crate" and "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")
Cats even can become unwittingly trapped inside both storage sheds and the walls of houses and businesses. (See Cat Defender posts of January 23, 2008 and April 20, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Emmy Survives Being Locked in an Outdoor Storage Shed for Nine Weeks Without Either Food or Water" and "Molly Is Finally Rescued After Spending Two Weeks Trapped Inside the Walls of an English Deli in Greenwich Village.")
It is therefore clear from all of these examples that both cat-owners and the business community have a duty to double-check all shipping crates, storage facilities, and modes of conveyance before sealing them. Not only will such a precaution save innumerable lives, but it also will spare all concerned considerable expense and angst.
Rauch is indeed fortunate that Janosch was neither injured by the post office nor sickened by unhygienic conditions at the shelter. More disturbingly, he easily could have been mistakenly killed by one of the attendants.
Sometimes it also is difficult to retrieve animals once shelters get their hands on them. That is the sad fate that has befallen Hamilton, New Jersey, resident Sheila Berg.
Dying of cancer, she surrendered her three cats to Tabby's Place, a feline sanctuary in East Amwell, on October 1st of last year. She also turned over $30,000 for their care.
Her health has since taken a miraculous turn for the better but Tabby's Place is steadfastly refusing to return her eleven-year-old black cat, Onyx. This is in spite of the fact that she has offered not only to pay an adoption fee but to allow the sanctuary to keep the $30,000 in toto. As far as her other cats are concerned, one of them has since died while the third one has been adopted by an employee of the sanctuary.
"I feel like I really goofed with them," she told The Times of Trenton on June 13th. (See "Suing Shelter, All Woman Wants Is Her Cat Back.") "It's not fair. I don't understand. There's nothing I can do but fight for him (Onyx)."
Toward that end, she has filed a lawsuit against Tabby's Place which will be heard by Maria Sypek, presiding Chancery Court judge for Mercer County. In the interim, lawyers for Berg and Tabby's Place have reached an agreement that prevents the sanctuary from adopting out Onyx until the case is settled.
"It's horrible," Berg's lawyer, Corey E. Ahart, told The Times in the article cited supra. "All she wants is her cat back and they won't give it to her. They say they don't think she can take care of the cat because of her fight against cancer. We've provided them with a doctor's note saying she can take care of the cat and they said that's not good enough."
Photos: Theo Klein of Bild.