Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Kitten Rides the Rails For 1200 miles!
- California Here We Come! -

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Ten years ago, this "Lucky" cat survived riding the "rails" of an RV for 1200 miles! How? Joe and Alice are still trying to figure this out.

As an 8-week-old kitten, Lucky rode for a distance of 1200 miles in the wheel well of a 38-foot motor home (RV) from Cottage Grove, Oregon, to Twentynine Palms, California, and survived!

Up until two years ago, Alice, and Joe and their two cats, Amy and Chloe, lived full time in RV parks. For the previous 16 years they traveled the country, making memories and friends, spending their summers in Cottage Grove, for the "good golfing weather", and their winters in California, at Twentynine Palms Marine Station RV Park,
for the "good golfing weather.

Ten years ago, towards the end of summer, Joe and Alice watched a feral cat and her orange kitten playing at the Village Green RV park. 

As fall approached that year, as per usual, Alice and Joe set out for their long drive back to California. They made many stops along the way for refueling, meals, etc. Also, along the way, they spent one night each in Redding and Santa Nella, California and two nights in Bakersfield, California. Each day, they were on the road for eight hours.

In Bakersfield, while Joe was hooking up the RV's sewer and electricity, he heard a kitten meowing, so he looked under the RV. "There was that little  8-week-old, orange-striped kitten we'd seen playing in the Village Green RV park, running back and forth on the RV's frame rails," said a shocked Joe.

"Alice opened a can of tuna for him, figuring that he was hungry, and I set it up on a rail. When I checked on him a bit later, the can was empty. He sure was a hungry little boy," said Joe.

So, Alice set out more food and water for the kitten which it ate, but when they tried to capture the kitten he resisted, preferring to use the RV frame as his purrsonal jungle gym.
An RV's undercarriage is no place for a kitten, not even a "super kitten" endowed with magical powers enabling it to fly down the freeway!

The next morning, Alice and Joe looked for the kitten but could not find it. But they had to continue on their journey so they reluctantly left, worrying about it's future. "We did not see the kitten as we drove away, but just in case it was riding along with us, Joe, a "careful" driver, drove even more carefully than usual," admits Alice. "If not, we were hoping that someone in the trailer park would give the orange 'hitchhiker' a good home."

After arriving at their winter home RV parking spot, Joe shared the amazing story of the "hitchhiking" kitten surviving it's ride down the freeway with their neighbor. After he finished the story, the neighbor pointed at something. "Do you mean that kitten playing under your RV?"

Alice and Joe turned around and there was the kitten! The little "tramp" either must have loved traveling, challenging his nine lives, or both! As if on cue, the kitten came running out from under the RV and began playing in the camp area.

They already had two cats, plenty for a motor home, but Joe could not part with the kitten. After all, it had "adopted" their lifestyle.

"We named him Lucky for obvious reasons, and then we tried to catch him," explained Joe.  "He was a wild kitten and would scamper away before anyone could approach him."

So Joe baited a cat carrier with food for the little "hobo" who rode the "rails." "Once in the trap he was like a wild tiger," said Alice. "Joe carried the caged tiger into our motor home to give him time to settle down."

Two days later, Joe donned heavy work gloves in preparation to release the kitten. "But the kitten came out purring; it must have known his 'hitchhiking' days were over," said Joe. "For next week, soot and diesel dirt dripped from that little guy's nose. It's a wonder how he survived the drive with all of the freeway noise, the fumes, and the overnight stays.  And the fact that he never fell off the RV onto the freeway! Lucky lost his voice from the experience and he won't go outside for anything. If I take him out on the leash, he bounces right back into the house. He has had his fill of outside life!"

The funny twist in the story of a cat "hell bent on moving to California" and living near the sand and surf is that after 16 years of RV life, Alice and Joe sold their RV and bought a smaller travel trailer.  They packed up their three cats for the 1200-mile drive north to their new home -- Cottage Grove, Oregon. Lucky is back where he started, along with a real home and a loving family, and he rode here "in style".

For a number of years, Lucky and his family lived at the Village Green RV Park before purchasing their cozy retirement home. While there, they adopted another kitty, Charlie. Could Charlie be a distant relative of Lucky's?! He must be, because he was adopted and is also spoiled by, Alice and Joe.


Regarding an earlier Tips 'n' Tales on Purr-eau, the Nevada cat lost in Oregon during the Christmas holidays:  It is a normal thing for Purr-eau's pet parents, Mike and Maria Elena, to travel with a cat because Mike is the son of Alice and Joe. However, unlike their son, rather than losing a cat, Alice and Joe rescued two!

Read "Purr-eau's two newspaper articles:
Avoid "Spring Heat" for unaltered pets. Cats and dogs can become pregnant or impregnate at as young as five months of age. If you can't afford to spay/neuter your pets, contact your Humane Society to learn about assistance programs in your area.

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