Stowaway cat survives 25-day voyage trapped in shipping container
A severely emaciated cat is being nursed back to health after somehow surviving a 25-day voyage trapped inside a shipping container.
The furry little stowaway was only discovered after the container finally arrived at its destination in Prince George, B.C. several weeks after departing from Shenzhen, China.
The 40-foot container was delivered to Independent Glass Distributors Ltd, an auto glass shop in the city.
Foreman Cory Hartel told CTV News Vancouver they usually receive three or four shipments each month, but never one like this.
"As we’re unloading it, right, we’re seeing all this Styrofoam chewed up on the edges of all the glass crates," he said. "They’re joking, like, there’s a big rat in here that chewed up all the Styrofoam, we’re laughing, we’re not even thinking it’s a cat."
Hartel said they were down to the last two crates when they spotted the animal. The company called the city for help, and the cat was captured.
He said the containers are sealed in China and there was no sign this one had been opened, meaning the cat had been inside for close to a month.
"She was pretty skin and bones," Hartel added.
The North Cariboo District SPCA's manager of animal central services Alex Schare said the six-year-old cat, now nicknamed "Stowaway," weighed only around three pounds when she was found.
"She ate cardboard and Styrofoam out of desperation, but there was no food and probably just a tiny bit of moisture to keep her alive," he said.
The BC SPCA believes the cat survived by drinking condensation that formed on the container's walls.
Stowaway was quarantined and is now receiving medical care at a local vet clinic. Schare says she will receive a rabies vaccine once she’s healthy enough, and following that, will be kept for observation for a few weeks.
"She’s slowly on the road to recovery. She has a long ways to go, but she’s slowly started eating again."
Once Stowaway has recovered, a new home will likely be waiting for her. Schare says they’ve already heard from people who are interested in adopting the intrepid traveller.
Hartel says one of his co-workers at the glass company is also interested in taking the cat home.
The SPCA has been collecting donations to cover the cost of Stowaway’s care, estimated at $2,760. So far, they have raised over $11,000.
The animal welfare agency said any excess funds will be used to help another animals. They are also asking for new name suggestions for Stowaway in an online survey.