Home U.S. Stowaway Cat Gets 500 Miles from Home in Amazon Returns Box

Stowaway Cat Gets 500 Miles from Home in Amazon Returns Box

Stowaway Cat Gets 500 Miles from Home in Amazon Returns Box


When Carrie Clark got a phone call on April 17 from a veterinarian in California informing her that her cat, which had vanished from her Utah home a week earlier, had been found some 500 miles away, her first reaction was disbelief.

“I could not believe that it was true,” Ms. Clark said in an interview on Sunday night. “I told her: I think this is a prank.”

It wasn’t. Galena, her 6-year-old American shorthair, had sneaked inside a 3-by-3-foot cardboard Amazon returns package alongside five pairs of steel-toed boots. Then the cat was transported two states away to one of the company’s warehouses, where it was discovered by Amazon employees.

Galena survived the unexpected journey without any food or water, Ms. Clark said.

Despite her ordeal, Galena was in relatively good health with no issues apart from mild dehydration, Ms. Clark said. Two factors had helped: One seam on the box had come unglued, allowing oxygen to circulate, and mild weather kept Galena from overheating or freezing.

“It’s really a miracle that she was able to survive,” Ms. Clark said.

Ms. Clark said she thought that Galena got into the box while her husband was packing it, by jumping inside when he left to fetch some tape to seal it up.

“She doesn’t meow a lot and she loves boxes, so for her, she was really happy in that moment, I’m sure,” Ms. Clark said. “Although I’m sure that wasn’t the case later on.”

Since the box already weighed over 30 pounds, Ms. Clark and her husband, who live in the city of Lehi, near Salt Lake City, did not notice the added weight of a stowaway when they mailed it on April 10, she said.

But they did quickly notice that their shy, indoor cat was missing that same day. After days of searching the house and the neighborhood turned up nothing, worst-case scenarios started running through her mind, Ms Clark said. Had Galena darted outside without anyone noticing? Had she been snatched up by a predator? Or end up in the river behind the house?

“We had absolutely no idea what had happened,” Ms. Clark said. “It was really challenging; I was definitely in a lot of grief.”

Then she received the call from a veterinarian in Riverside, Calif. An Amazon employee, Brandy Hunter, had brought Galena in, and the veterinarian identified her through her microchip and contacted Ms. Clark.

Ms. Hunter, who could not immediately be reached for comment, said on Facebook that she received a call from co-workers who had opened a returns box and found a cat inside.

“We have gotten some pretty crazy things in my time but never anything like this!” Ms. Hunter wrote. She said she had driven to the warehouse to catch and look after the cat, which she said had spent days in the box “in the back of a trailer full of items being returned to Amazon.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment. After products are dropped off at an Amazon returns center, they are inspected for damage and signs of use to determine if they can be re-listed for sale, according to the company.

When Ms. Clark got the call, she and her husband quickly booked a flight to California. The next day they arrived at the veterinarian’s clinic, where they were reunited with Galena.

“When I got to hold her again, she stopped shaking and knew that I was there for her,” Ms. Clark said. “It was such a miraculous moment.”


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