There is a good reason why we still say, “Curiosity killed the cat.” All too often, cats get themselves into trouble when they decide to explore places that they shouldn’t. A cat named Baloo recently learned this lesson the hard way when he decided to climb into a box and ended up 700 miles from home.
Baloo’s shipping adventure brought him from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Montreal, sending him halfway across the country. His owners, meanwhile, were at a loss to say where he had gone.
“We knocked door-to-door. We searched the woods. We searched under decks, in garages, under steps,” said his owner, Jacqueline Lake. “He was gone.”
Lake has several other pets at home, so she didn’t immediately notice that Baloo was missing.
But when she did, the Lake family organized a search party and went looking for the tabby.
“A friend of mine made signs for me at her work,” Lake said.
Meanwhile, in Montreal, a driver saw some urine leaking from a shipping box and was concerned. The box was investigated, revealing Baloo, a little worse for the wear but OK.
The Purolator office in Montreal was concerned that Lake had shipped the cat on purpose.
They accessed her contact information and called her personal phone number to ask what was going on. For Lake, it was a stunning call.
The post office sent Baloo to the Montreal SPCA, where he received a thorough examination and medical care. Thankfully, he was all right — though probably a little hungry and shaken.
“They asked if they can bring us the cat to us,” said Anita Kapuscinska of the SPCA. “Of course, we said yes. As soon as he came to us, we had him checked by our vets, and we’ve been taking care of him ever since.”
Everyone was relieved to hear that Lake had not put Baloo in the mail intentionally.
And Lake was thrilled to hear that her cat had been found safe and sound.
Freedom Drivers, a nonprofit that usually removes cats and dogs from animal shelters, will return Baloo home. Hopefully, he’ll be back with his family by Christmas — probably a little grayer and wiser.
But Baloo isn’t the first animal to have a mishap and end up far from home.
Back in March 2018, a German Shepherd named Irgo had a much more traumatic experience when an airplane mistakenly sent him to Japan instead of Kansas.
Irgo, who belongs to the Swindle family, was supposed to be sent from Oregon to Kansas via a connection in Denver. But in Denver, he was mixed up with a Great Dane, who was on its way to Japan. When his owner, Kara Swindle, arrived in Wichita to claim him, she found the Great Dane — but no Irgo.
The Swindle family was soon in a complete panic over their dog.
But no one could tell them what had happened to him.
“They had no idea where the dog was,” Swindle said. “I burst into tears instantly because this has just all been a whirlwind. They didn’t know until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday when the plane landed in Japan.”
The flight from Denver to Japan is 16 hours, during which time Irgo did not have any food or water. He also did not have anyone to give him the medication he needed for an ear infection. The Swindles were deeply upset about the incident.
“I’m hoping that from now on they take better care of animals,” Swindle said. “They kind of treat them like they are luggage. I’m hoping they can put something into policy so that this will never happen again. Maybe putting a picture of the animal on the outside of the pen. I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through this again.”
United Airplanes issued an apology to the Swindle family and flew Irgo back on a private plane.
Thankfully, both Baloo and Irgo arrived back with their families safe and sound.
Not every pet is so lucky, though.
On a separate United flight in March 2018, a French bulldog passed away after it was stored in an overhead compartment during the flight.
The bottom line? Pets are precious, so make sure you know that they’re being well taken care of if they’re ever traveling with you.
And it might be worth saying: If you own a cat (especially a curious one), double-check your packages before you put them in the mail.
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