It has been a long road to recovery for a cat who was found emaciated and terrified inside a shipping container in April. The stowaway cat, who was later named Journey, survived a harrowing three-week voyage from Shenzhen, China to the Port of Vancouver before being discovered hiding in a crate delivered to an auto glass distribution company in Prince George.
Facing life-threatening medical issues, Journey was kept in quarantine at a local veterinary hospital in Prince George where she received fluids and was slowly reintroduced to food. Terrified of human contact, the six-year-old feral cat would hiss and growl at staff who tried to approach her.
As she became stronger, Journey was transferred to the BC SPCA’s Maple Ridge Branch for care.
Journey received ongoing treatment for a liver parasite and had oral surgery to extract damaged teeth and address her severe dental disease. Because of her intensive fear of humans, it was challenging to provide the medical care Journey required, but staff used low-stress handling techniques and immediately began implementing a behaviour modification plan to help her adjust to being handled. Progress was slow, but staff were delighted to see small improvements in Journey’s emotional welfare each week.
Journey is currently being fostered in Vancouver by Dr. Karen van Haaften, a board-certified veterinary behaviourist who serves as the BC SPCA’s senior manager of behaviour and welfare. With Dr. van Haaften’s expertise and care, Journey has made incredible progress. The cat who was once petrified of all human contact has gradually begun to play, uses the litter box consistently and does not run away when people enter the room. “This little girl is becoming braver and is more willing to show her personality around people,” says Dr. van Haaften. “She is very playful and will play with wand toys in the open now. The next step is to slowly get Journey to become comfortable being touched and cuddled to ensure she will be well-adjusted enough to find her forever home.”
Journey will need a few more months in her foster home before she’s ready to be adopted into a home as the only cat. The SPCA is not currently accepting adoption applications for Journey but will provide an update to the public when applications will be open for this special cat.
Journey’s amazing story of recovery would not be possible without the supporters who fund the BC SPCA’s life-saving work. Please consider donating towards behavior therapy to help other traumatized animals like Journey.
This Stowaway cat needs your help
Original story: April 8, 2019
The BC SPCA North Cariboo District Branch is asking members of the public to help with the costs of care for a severely emaciated stowaway cat who arrived from China.
The six-year-old cat was trapped inside a 40 ft shipping container for over three weeks without access to food or water travelling from Shenzhen, China to the Port of Vancouver and then up to Prince George.
“I knew right away when I heard that this cat had spent weeks in a container that she not only had an amazing story but also that she would require extensive care and rehabilitation to recover from her ordeal,” says SPCA North Cariboo District animal centre services manager Alex Schare.
Staff at a Prince George auto glass distribution company found the cat among the pallets, shredded cardboard and styrofoam inside the container. It’s believed that she survived by drinking condensation that had formed on the walls.
Animal control officers brought the extremely weak animal to the North Cariboo District SPCA. The SPCA is following strict CFIA quarantine conditions to ensure the animal poses no threat to animals and people in Canada. The cat was taken to the local veterinary hospital where she weighed in at just 1.5 kg, was put on fluids and monitored in isolation from other patients.
“We rushed her to the vet because she was in such poor condition that we knew she would require intensive veterinary care for an extended period of time to regain her strength,” says Schare.
The cat is being fed small portions of food to ensure that her body adjusts properly and to avoid having her develop refeeding syndrome, which can be life-threatening. She has also undergone bloodwork and will receive a rabies vaccine and dental work when she is strong enough. The cat will remain in quarantine, separated from other animals, until two weeks after her vaccination. Her cost of care is estimated to be $2,760.