Kevin the cat back home – after trip to California

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Cheryl Walls leaves the Greenville Spartanburg International airport with Kevin the cat. At her side are her two children Trent and Megan. (Photo by David Rogers)

A cat named Kevin, missing from it’s Anderson owner for almost two years, somehow made its way to California and is now back home.

According to a news release from the Riverside County Animal Services in California, the orange tabby (pictured lounging inside a planter at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus), was very stealth in his travels, making it all the way to the Arizona-California border without detection. His stowaway days ended after a state Food & Agriculture inspector performed a routine check on a U-Haul trailer that was being towed by a woman.

The inspector asked the driver to open the trailer. The woman complied and that’s when the inspector heard a muffled “meow, meow, meow.”

The inspector asked the woman if she knew a cat was in the trailer. The woman said no – and also informed the inspector that she didn’t own a cat.

The inspection station worker took custody of the cat and later drove him to Riverside County Animal Services’ Blythe shelter. Once there, the dehydrated orange tabby was examined, scanned for a chip and provided nourishment and water.

Employees at the Blythe Animal Shelter discovered that the cat did have a microchip embedded under its skin – and the presumed owner of the cat was tracked to South Carolina location.

“We have handled some pets with crazy back stories, and this is one more for the list,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “The good news is we know the owner, she wants her pet back, and we’ll make that happen. Of course, our friends at START and the ASK Foundation are carrying most of the weight on that effort.”

Kevin lounging inside a planter at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in California.
Kevin lounging inside a planter at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in California.

The cat’s owner, Cheryl Walls, of Anderson adopted “Kevin” from PAWS shelter in Anderson in June 2013.

He was primarily an indoor cat, she said, “but he acted unhappy.” One day she allowed him to go outside. He would come back, but one day in the fall of 2013, Kevin was gone.

“I assumed someone must have picked him up,” Ms. Walls said. “Now,” she joked, “he has seen more of the country than me.” She said she is definitely looking forward to Kevin’s return.

The cat’s name has special significance to her, even though she did not name the cat Kevin. When she first met the cat at the shelter, she was unaware that the shelter employees had named him Kevin. She learned his name after getting to know him and getting ready for the adoption process. It seemed very fitting that it would work out the way it did.

The name also happens to be her late fiance’s first name.

Riverside County Animal Services worjed to get the tabby back to his owner. The Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (S.T.A.R.T. Rescue), the Animal Solutions Konnection (ASK) Foundation and shelter employees have made donations to pay for the cat’s journey home.

START Rescue and the ASK Foundation are two nonprofit organizations that work closely with Riverside County in saving pets and programs that benefit shelter animals.

Riverside County coordinated the cat’s flight plan and he arrived back in the Upstate, at the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Wednesday evening. The story has made the national news.