Cat has free flight home after travelling 1,300 miles

Cat has free flight home after travelling 1,300 miles

Charles the cat travelled 1,300 miles from his home in New Mexico to Chicago, where he was picked up as a stray. He waits at Chicago Animal and Control on Friday. AP

Charles disappeared about eight months ago while his owner was out of town and a friend was caring for him.

“Oh, I was crushed, and I found out while I was away volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and I was so upset because I was in New Orleans so there was nothing I could do,” said Robin Alex, of Albuquerque.

Then earlier this week, Alex received a call telling her Chicago Animal Care and Control had picked up her wandering cat as a stray. Staffers reached out to Alex after finding that Charles had a tracking microchip embedded between his shoulder blades, said the agency’s executive director, Cherie Travis.

But Alex said she could not afford the round-trip ticket to Chicago to bring Charles home, so she was afraid he might be euthanised.

Enter fellow Albuquerque resident Lucien Sims. Sims said he has a tabby cat who strongly resembles Charles, and was moved when his mother sent him an online story about Alex and her pet.

Most importantly, Sims was on his way to Chicago on Thursday for a wedding, so he said he would go to the shelter, pick up Charles and bring him back to New Mexico.

Sims has made all the arrangements for Charles’ return, including getting a company to donate a cat carrier and American Airlines to waive the cat’s travel fee.

Travis said Charles is definitely ready for his next adventure. “He’s in good condition,” she said. “He needs a good brushing. He’s got a little bit of a cold — a little bit of an upper respiratory infection — but otherwise he’s in great condition.”

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