In search of ponies: Stowaway cats meet adventure

Sharna Johnson

The dark pockets and crevices, nooks and crannies surely held a plethora of mystery and fun, or that’s how it must have looked to Kisten anyway.

Several hours later, whatever fun might have hidden there was long gone as Kisten — wide-eyed and dropping thousands of stressed follicles by the minute — climbed up toward the light that seeped through the rising trunk lid.

“If you’re looking for your cat, don’t worry, he’s with us,” Leslie told her daughter on the phone.

Leslie and her husband Paul discovered Kisten in the trunk of their car three hours from home while on their way to Colorado Springs for a vacation.

He was a lucky cat, because he would have had a long ride if Paul hadn’t stopped to search for his eye glasses.

As it was, Kisten got to spend the rest of the ride up front in comfort.

And his curiosity bought him a visit to Grandma’s where he got acquainted with his “cousin cats and cousin dog” as Leslie puts it.

It was a real adventure for an only pet. Leslie said Kisten doesn’t really even know he’s a cat, much less know how to take other animals.

He was a pleasure on the trip, minding his P’s and Q’s and respecting his hostess’ home (with the exception of one excursion up the drapes during the adjustment stage) and he made quite an impression.

“My mother-in-law commented on what a beautiful cat he was … we offered to leave him,” Leslie said laughing and quickly adding that she didn’t mean it, of course.

Instead, when vacation was over, Kisten rode back in a borrowed pet carrier (in the front of the car of course) and seemed relieved to be back in Clovis, taking off for his favorite hiding spot as soon as the carrier was opened.

The tendency of cats to hitchhike is not a new thing.

Less than a month ago, a British cat named Charlie hitched a ride on a truck and traveled 400 miles from Cornwall to North Wales, where she was found scrounging for food and returned to the arms of her loving mum.

In March 2010, a trucking company went to the media for help after a cat was found hiding behind pallets inside a grocery delivery truck in Billings, Mont., that had just come from Salt Lake City.

Bam Bam was returned home in January after being gone two months and traveling 100 miles away when he hitched a ride to St. Paul, Minn., in the back of his contracter-owner’s work truck. His relieved mom found him pictured with Santa Claus on a pet adoption website.

I suppose what all this tells us is that Kisten is simply luckier than other curious cats because at least he jumped into his own people’s trunk.

By the same token, he might have just gotten a ride around the corner to a convenience store on a midnight milk run. Or he might have jumped in while the trunk was being unloaded, then trapped for the weekend or, worse yet, until the next time they needed to open it for some reason.

Luck may be selling this kitty a little short.

After all, none of those possible bad things happened. Instead, he went on vacation with his favorite people, met family and experienced life on the road from the comfort of a warm lap — even if it did cost him a couple hours in a hot, noisy, bumpy trunk.

When asked if Kisten will be included in the next family trip, Leslie’s short answer was, “Willingly? No.”

While Kisten is very loved and an enjoyed part of the family, it looks like his next planned trip away from home will be moving out with his now-teen, true owner.

“He’s my daughter’s cat. She always reminds me that,” Leslie said. “We are looking forward to a life of cat freedom.”

But I’d be willing to wager the fun isn’t over yet.