Cats might like to roam, but most manage to stay within a few miles of their home. Others have bigger ambitions. Earlier this summer, one puss in particular decided to show the world what a cat with a plan can do when he jumped aboard a passenger plane headed from California to Maine. The A C-17 cargo plane traveling out of the Travis Air Force Base in California didn’t realize it had an unexpected guest on board until it reached its destination of Bangor International Airport. Airport staff were left scratching their heads at how the puss (since nicknamed Cargo in honor of his preferred mode of transport) had managed to get aboard in the first place, although the general consensus is that he managed to sneak his way on when the plane made a pit stop at Colorado Springs.
“He apparently caught a ride,” Kathryn Ravenscraft, Director of Development at the Bangor Humane Society, told wkyt.com. “The plane made a brief stop in Colorado Springs where we think they picked him up. Then when they landed in Bangor, they discovered there was a half-eaten muffin onboard and a pile of poop.” As the pilot of the cargo plane, United States Air Force Capt. Daniel Cotton, told the bangordailynews.com, it was lucky the cat was discovered when he was – with the plane just about to take off for Europe, the little cat might have had an even longer journey in front of him than he’d already had. As it was, he managed to make his way up from the cargo hold to the flight deck (all the while in total darkness) to be discovered. “I’ve been on hundreds of flights all around the world and landed on pretty much every continent and never had a hitchhiker like that,” Cotton mused.
The Search For His Owners
After discovering the muffin-munching cat in the cargo, the airport staff turned him over to Bangor Humane Society, who spent the next few weeks desperately trying to trace the cat’s owners. But with no real idea of whether he’d journeyed from California or from Colorado, the chances of success were slim. After 3 weeks of fruitless searching, they decided to call it a day. But fortunately, the story wasn’t over for little Cargo.
Two workers at Bangor International Airport, Nanci Hamlin and her boyfriend Justin Proulx, had followed the story of Cargo ever since he’d been discovered. When they heard Bangor Humane Society would be placing him up for adoption, they jumped at the opportunity to give him a home. After several weeks of getting to know their new family member, Hamlin can well understand how he managed to hitchhike his way across the country. “Knowing Cargo the way we do now, we can understand why he was on that plane,” she says. “He’s got no fear and loves to get on top of or inside everything.” But for Proulx, the cat’s story is still a mystery. “You can’t just walk onto a military base and animals are frowned upon on any sort of an airfield,” he’s puzzled to nbc29.com.
A New Home
While the mystery of how Cargo managed to travel halfway across the country might always remain a puzzle, what’s clear is that he’s managed to find a very happy home with Hamlin and Proulx. Thanks to his playful spirit (which tends to reach its peak at about 2 am in the morning, much to the couple’s chagrin), they’ve nicknamed him the Tasmanian Devil. Over the last few weeks, he’s settled comfortably in with the couple’s four other cats, but it’s their Alaskan husky, Akiko, that’s he’s bonded with most. “We really didn’t know how the husky would be with him, or he with her,” Hamlin said. “We brought Cargo home and they are now inseparable and the best of friends.”
As to his origins, the couple has developed the theory that Cargo was a stray (a conclusion they came to after seeing how unfamiliar he seemed with certain household furniture), and had made a home for himself underneath one of the pallets onboard the aircraft. “He was probably sleeping curled up underneath the pallet and all of a sudden there was this light and noise and he was going up, up and up,” Capt. Cotton says. “It must have felt like an alien abduction.”
Whether or not Cargo has found his forever home with Hamlin and Proulx remains to be decided. Cotton had previously expressed an interest in adopting Cargo himself, but was deployed before he got the chance. Now, the couple is waiting on the captain to return before they decide whether Cotton will take over his care, or if Cargo will stay where he is. “We told (Cotton) we will keep Cargo for him if he wants to adopt him when he gets back,” Hamlin said. “Right now he’s not sure if he can and we told him that if he can’t, we’ll keep him and make Cargo part of our family.”
Either way, Kathryn Ravenscraft is delighted that’s Cargo’s adapted to his new life so well. “We are thrilled for Cargo to have a home, and not at all surprised to hear about his personality — he’s a character,” she’s said. “He would have to be to have taken himself on such an epic adventure.”
An End to the Adventures
Hamlin and Proulx, meanwhile, remain convinced that however happy Cargo is with his new indoor lifestyle, there’s a part of him that’s still a wanderer at heart. “I feel he wants to know what is out there,” Hamlin says of Cargo’s love of gazing out of the window. “But he’s an indoor cat now.” But whether indoors or out, we’re sure his love of adventure will keep him, his new family, and, of course, Akiko the husky, well and truly entertained for a long time yet.