A Te Puke moggy who spent 18 days locked in a shipping container bound for Adelaide is now back home with his friends at Tesco drilling company.

Douglas the 18-month-old jet black cat, named after former All Black Doug Howlett, was found in a plastic bag at the end of a driveway by residents living near the drilling company yard.

Since then the inquisitive feline has spent his days basking in the sun and entertaining international visitors to the company's New Zealand base.

As Douglas is renowned for getting inside cars and shipping containers, on March 29 staff were sure to listen out for his distinctive cry before shutting up three containers of drilling equipment bound for Australia.

"We normally hear him crying and moaning if he gets locked in anywhere," Tesco technician Andrew Leota said.

But after Douglas hadn't been seen for two weeks, Mr Leota contacted customs to report his disappearance and asked them to check for him when the containers were opened on Saturday.

Knowing how hot it can be inside the containers, Mr Leota said staff had grave fears for their feline friend's safety and a vet was on standby when the containers were opened.

An initial search revealed no sign of the stowaway but the following day Douglas strolled from one of the containers seemingly unscathed. "If he'd left a month earlier [when the weather was warmer], I'd say he would have been toast," Mr Leota said.

Douglas was flown back to New Zealand over the weekend and despite more than two weeks without food, Mr Leota said he did not appear to have lost a lot of weight.

Mr Leota said plans would be put in place to make sure Douglas did not take any more illegal overseas trips. "We're probably going to write up a work procedure involving Douglas just to double check," he said.