One cat, four tire rims and a long Purolator trip

One cat, four tire rims and a long Purolator trip

Last December a Maritime cat had everyone across the country talking about him after he traveled 1,200 kms in a Purolator box. Meet Baloo!

April 3, 2019 By Violaine Charest-Sigouin

Baloo is a particularly mischievous, large tabby cat who loves hiding in boxes and bags. This obsession of his led him far away. “The problem is that he is also very quiet,” said owner Jacqueline Lake of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “Baloo purrs very loudly, but never meows.” However, a little meowing might have helped him on his cross-country adventure...

The story was in all the Canadian papers. It was just before Christmas. A friend who had recently moved to Alberta had asked Jacqueline to send him some clothes and the 4 rims from his Cadillac by Purolator. While sealing the parcels, Jacqueline didn't notice that Baloo had slipped inside one of them.

About three hours went by before I loaded the boxes into my minivan. And then I was at Purolator for a good hour. I noticed that one of the boxes containing the rims was about 10 pounds heavier than the others. I found that odd, but I never could have imagined that I was about to mail my cat somewhere!"- Jacqueline Lake

It was only on the following day that this Nova Scotian noticed that Baloo was missing. “I don't let my cats go outside. Baloo is a particularly curious cat when it comes to what goes on out there. We always have to make sure he doesn't escape through the front door. So, I just thought he ran away,” she explained.

Over the next few days, Jacqueline and Dawson, her fifteen-year-old son, combed the neighbourhood looking for their cat. “It was the beginning of December and starting to get cold,” she recalled. “Baloo is only a year old. He's still a baby. I was thinking he must be terrified out there.” They searched the woods, knocked on neighbours' doors and plastered the streets with posters, all to no avail.

The family has another cat named Bagheera. “They are the best of friends,” said the mother of three. Bagheera was also looking for his friend. “He'd go to all the spots in the house where Baloo usually hides. I could see that he missed him. After a few days, he seemed angry. He was hissing as if to say: “Where is my brother?””

Jacqueline was starting to seriously worry when she got a call from Purolator. “The woman asked me what I had sent in the mail. When I told her, she said: “Oh, so you didn't send a cat?” I was completely taken aback. So, I asked: “Is my cat ok?” For a second, I thought I was responsible for killing him. I was reassured when she told me he was at the Montreal SPCA.”

Baloo travelled in a cardboard box with the tire rims for 17 hours. The SPCA employees were wonderful, said Jacqueline. “It was two weeks before Christmas. I'm a single mom and I had no way of going to Montreal to get my cat. They said: “Don't worry, you'll have your cat back before the holidays.” And that's exactly what happened. They even offered to vaccinate and microchip him to avoid losing him again.”

Freedom Drivers was the organization that provided transport for Baloo's second 17-hour trip—this time heading home. “We were all so excited to see him again. When my nine-year-old daughter, Victoria, saw him, she burst into tears. She was so happy. It was a beautiful reunion,” said Jacqueline, who was deeply touched by these perfect strangers who came to her aid.

As for Baloo, he doesn't seem to be too traumatized by his ordeal. Three days later, he was back to his good old habits, including playing nocturnal games with Bagheera.

Baloo with Mélanie, animal health technician at the Montréal SPCA.
Photo credit: Montreal SPCA.

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