A Cat-Rescue Road Trip: 2 Cats, 7 People, and 1,400 Miles


Around here, we like to rescue cats. But we don’t just rescue cats and find them homes with the neighbors down the street. No, we find them homes several states away — and then figure out how in the world to get them there.

This is a tale of two kitties, Chalse and Wendy. Chalse is a stunning, sea-foam-green-eyed tabby from Florida (the shelter worker actually had the nerve to call him “unremarkable” — harumph!) and Wendy is a gorgeously dainty, sweet-faced Georgia peach. How the two of them became brother and sister is a story for the record books.

It all started when I posted a picture of Chalse on the Facebook page of my blog, Your Daily Cute, asking whether anyone could give him a home. His wasn’t a happy story. He was surrended to animal control with his littermates, and one by one his brothers and sisters got sick and had to be put down. There are germs in shelters, and it’s usually only a matter of time before cats come up with sniffles and URIs. But Chalse was strong (and did I mention handsome?!) and he deserved to get out.

So I made it my mission and shared his picture and then a video of him purring and making biscuits like the happiest kitty in the world. Shelter? What shelter? I’m a happy guy no matter where I am!

That’s when a friend of my blog, an angel named Marsha, commented that he had stolen her heart and that she would love to adopt him … but she lived all the way in St. Louis, Missouri. Was there any way, she asked?

Heck yes, I answered!

So I put out a call for transport help. It wouldn’t be easy. Chalse would have to travel about 1,400 miles to get to Marsha, but I knew we could do it!

The pieces were starting to fit together and amazing, wonderful, generous people were stepping up when I happened to notice Wendy’s picture on Winging Cat Rescue and her face was just too sweet to not share.

Her story was even worse than Chalse’s: It was her last day. She and several other cats were on “the list” and they needed rescue, like now.

And the most amazing thing happened when I shared Wendy’s picture — that angel Marsha spoke up again. Wendy’s description said she was a cuddly lap kitty, and Marsha had always wanted a lap kitty (see where this is going?). Was there any way, she wondered, that she could possibly adopt them both?

HECK YES, I answered! Probably all in caps, too.

Chalse would have to travel through Georgia to get to St. Louis — so he might as well pick up Wendy on the way! Two cats from twostates would be safe now! All we needed were the drivers and to set a date to start their travel.

A bunch of emails later, many Facebook comments and messages later, and too many texts and several phone calls later, an amazing group of friends of my blog had come together. Chalse and Wendy were ready to roll.

(During those weeks of preparation and planning, Chalse got neutered and vaccinated and boarded at the vet for 10 days, Wendy had the same treatment and was quarantined for 10 days — it’s Georgia law before she can go out of state — and both got health certificates needed for cross-state transport. Details!)

I took the first leg with Chalse and drove him from Fort Lauderdale halfway to Tampa, where I met my sister to hand him off. She then drove back up to Tampa, where she lives, and passed him along to Melissa, a great friend of my blog.

Chalse stayed with Melissa for the night, then they left for Columbus, Georgia — almost a whole day trip! When they got to Columbus, they spent the night at Melissa’s mom’s house, then woke up bright and early to meet Wendy and get her out of the kennel she was boarding at.

Once they picked up Wendy and had both kitties loaded up, they kept driving and eventually met up with Cindy, a woman from Atlanta who’d be taking them on the next part of their journey. Chalse and Wendy slept at her house with her two sons for a couple of nights (the boys wanted a cat, so this was a great trial run to see how they did!) and they did great there.

When it was time to go, they packed up the car and the kitties and headed off to their next stop, way far away in Louisville, Kentucky! Once they reached Louisville, it was time to switch the kitties off to Lori, who would be taking them to their next stop at the Indiana/Illinois border.

Back on the road! When they got there, they met up with yet another wonderful helper, Wanda, who had the fun leg: She got to take the kitties to their new mom, Marsha!

Many days later — and many miles, wonderful people, cars, and gallons of gas later — it was finally time for the cats to meet their new parents and get to their forever home. It took a lot of work and coordination, but it was worth every second to see this fabulous picture:

Have you ever transported a cat for adoption? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

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