A Tauranga man whose cat has been missing since Christmas was amazed to learn the moggy had been found living rough in the Auckland suburb of Howick - about 200km away.
Jamie Lunam, 32, said he had given up hope of finding his cat Winifred when he received a phone call last Tuesday to say she was being kept at the Pet Doctors Vet Clinic in Howick.
"I was flabbergasted, absolutely. And I was asking lots of questions because it didn't quite seem to add up - how can that be the case?"
The vet clinic had scanned Winifred's microchip, which traced her to the Tauranga SPCA. The society's records revealed Mr Lunam as the owner.
But how or why Winifred hitched a ride north is a mystery.
"Apparently someone dropped her in and said they weren't sure where she came from, but their mother had come to visit from Tauranga, and she'd turned up around that time."
Mr Lunam said his cat did not normally sleep in cars.
"She must've been in a car boot, because she would only have been in a boot to be undetected. She would not have sat in a car for three hours."
There was no reason anybody would take her as she was a humble SPCA cat of unknown breed, he said.
"But she is really friendly, so maybe someone liked her and wanted to bring her back."
Mr Lunam was in Auckland on a business trip yesterday so he picked up a leaner and more streetwise Winifred from the clinic.