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Utah Cat With a Fondness for Cardboard Takes Surprise Trip to California in an Amazon Box
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By Associated Press
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 1, 2024

A Utah cat named Galena, known for her love of cardboard, ended up on a surprise journey to California in an Amazon return box. The incident led to a frantic search, a rescue, and a heartfelt reunion. (AP/Carrie Clark)

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Galena, a 6-year-old house cat from Utah, likes hiding and playing with cardboard.

Earlier this month, the combination of the two made for a stressful trip in an Amazon package, a feverish search, a California rescue and a tearful reunion.

Her family is still waiting to “reintroduce cardboard to her again,” owner Carrie Clark said Tuesday, because they don’t want to stress her out.

Clark got Galena as a kitten after her aunt rescued a pregnant feral cat. The American short hair with calico and Siamese coloring has been a constant companion and source of emotional support.

“I’ve been through a bunch of health things and she and I have gone through all of that together. And she’s she just has this extra great part about her personality that’s very loving. And she can tell when you don’t feel well,” Clark said. “And she’s just really, really special to me.”

The Disappearance and Search

So when Galena disappeared on April 10, Clark was beside herself.

They searched the neighborhood, put up flyers and posted notices on Facebook lost pet pages in Lehi, Utah.

“Not knowing what had happened to her was pretty excruciating,” Clark said, “I cried my eyes out for seven days trying to figure out what had happened.” Clark also ran through all the worst-case scenarios, wondering if the cat could have gotten out of the house and been nabbed by a predator or run over by a vehicle.

The Unexpected Journey

Clark said she received a “text that changed my life” on April 17, saying that Galena’s microchip had been scanned, so Clark knew she had been found somewhere. Soon after, she got a call saying her cat was near Riverside, California, after being found in a box along with steel-toed boots that had been returned to an Amazon warehouse.

Clark’s husband had ordered several pairs of boots, kept one and returned the rest in a large box on April 10.

“We realized that that our sweet kitty must have jumped into that box without us knowing,” she said.

The Rescue and Reunion

Amazon employees knew just who to call when they found the feline — co-worker Brandy Hunter, who rescues cats, Clark said.

Hunter took the cat home and to the vet the next day, where the microchip was scanned.

Clark spoke with Hunter who “calmed me down and told me that my kitty was OK,” despite having spent six days in a cardboard box without food or water.

“I wanted desperately to be with her,” Clark said. She and her husband flew to California the next day, reunited with Galena at the veterinarian’s office and rented a car to drive home.

“We did what we needed to do because I just adore her,” Clark said.

It was an intensely emotional week.

“I went from hysterically laughing that she was stuck like that — we mailed our cat — you know … just the humor part of that, to hysterically crying all within like five seconds,” Clark said.

The family was lucky to get Galena back, Clark said, in part because the weather was not harsh during the time the cat was missing, the box was torn at a seam, allowing her to get more air, and because Hunter who took her to a vet and had her scanned for a microchip.

Lessons Learned

Since word got out, Clark has been sharing her cat’s story, with advice to microchip your pets and to double-check your Amazon boxes before returning them.

Galena is a quiet cat, Clark said.

“She didn’t meow,” Clark said. “We would have loved for her to meow so we knew that she was,” in the box.

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