The Luv Train – A Cat Tale

posted November 16th, 2013 by
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by Camille Hulen

The story begins in June, when Dorothy, a hard-working professional woman in her 50s, died suddenly. She lived alone with her two cats: Hara and Ama. Dorothy had no children or family; what is more, she had no living will or other instructions. What would happen to her beloved cats?

Co-worker Jenny knew that something must be done, and sprang into action. She retrieved the scared felines from under the bed at Dorothy’s home and took them to her vet. They were given a medical check-up and remained there for boarding. However, after a few days the kitties remained terrified, cowering in their cages. These 5-year-old girls had never been away from their safe and comfortable home.

It was then that I met Jenny, when she brought Hara and Ama to board with me for socialization. She knew that if they were ever to find new homes, Hara and Ama must learn to trust people. At my facility, they would be in a relaxed setting, not in a cage, co-mingling with other cats and people.

Meanwhile, a fund in Dorothy’s memory was established to care for her kitties. What an awesome tribute! Even former colleagues from out of state contributed, in addition to her local friends—a display of love for a deceased person, as well as for the cats.

As the kitties began to adapt, another crisis ensued. They began to show some symptoms of upper respiratory illness, probably induced by stress. To avoid transmission to other boarders, back to the vet they went, this time, in isolation.

After a two-week stay, they were deemed healthy, so they came back to me. Now they adjusted quite quickly, head-butting and demanding to be petted. They became more comfortable with other cats as well as people. Giant strides, but it was now August; we needed to find a permanent home. Emails were circulated.

An amazing thing happened! A former colleague from Boston wanted to adopt them! She was a real cat person with one cat of her own and had loved Hara and Ama when she had visited Dorothy in the past. Only one dilemma remained: how to get the cats to Boston.

Air travel was not an option. The danger of transporting cats as cargo is well known. Someone could fly with one cat accompanying her in the cabin, but not two cats. Someone might drive the 1,600 miles, or perhaps meet the new owner (“meowmie”) halfway— it still remained a long journey.

Then another friend, Samantha, discovered the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network (URRKN). And so the saga of Hara and Ama’s journey begins. The URRKN is a volunteer organization working to transport rescued cats anywhere in the United States. A route is mapped out, and the trip is divided into manageable segments so as not to be a burden for any one person.

In this case, 17 volunteers participated. Hara and Ama left Tulsa on August 10, arriving in Cambridge, Mass., on August 17. The route was Sapulpa to Vinita to Joplin to Springfield to Lebanon to Rolla to St. Louis to Toledo to Elyria to Youngstown to Brookville to Bellefonte to Bloomsburg to Wilkes- Barre to Milford to Danbury to Hartford to Cambridge and their new home! Whew!

Is it any wonder that we choose to call this operation “The Luv Train?”

At last report, Hara and Ama have settled comfortably into their new home. According to their new meowmie, “The only fatality thus far has been the couch as they take turns shredding it.”

To volunteer or learn more, visit the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/URRKN/ ).

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