Cat hitches ride to new life

By Mohamed Hassan

Scarlett Hayes, 4, is keeping an eye on her uncle's cat.  Photo / Natalie Slade
Scarlett Hayes, 4, is keeping an eye on her uncle's cat. Photo / Natalie Slade

A cat with an adventurous spirit has hitched his way from Christchurch to Auckland on a lengthy train ride inside a container.

Three-year-old Chiefie got into a container on Wednesday last week while the quake-hit Keppel family were packing, and spent four days and five nights inside until rescued.

"The curious cat jumped in the container a few times and I kept pulling him out," said Shane Keppel. "Somehow he managed to get in again last minute."

The container was locked and sent to Auckland by train and at first, Chiefie's absence was not considered out of the ordinary.

"We thought he'd just gone off to one of his hiding spots again."

However, once the weekend came around, the family realised something was wrong.

KiwiRail customer service manager Catherine Ellett said she received an email from them on Monday night, telling her the cat might be stuck in the container.

"I contacted the container terminal and the staff called out to the cat," Ms Ellett said.

Once they heard his miaowing, the staff cut the container lock and a starving Chiefie emerged.

"He was in pretty good condition," Ms Ellett said. "He turned his nose up at the milk, but he scoffed down the biscuits."

Shane's sister, Amanda, picked Chiefie up on Tuesday and said he has already made himself at home.

"He's found himself a little cubby hole, and seems very content. The kids love him."

Chiefie was adopted from a rescue shelter with a broken tail three years ago.

Last year, the Keppel family lost their home in the February earthquake.

They spent the year gathering their possessions to move to Clarks Beach in South Auckland.

- NZ Herald

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