Friday, December 02, 2005
Feline takes long trip to France
APPLETON, Wis — Emily always has been an adventurous cat.
The Lesley and Donny McElhiney family got the cat last Christmas, and Emily has gone missing before, even ending up “jailed” once until the family bailed her out of the Fox Valley Humane Association.
So when she disappeared four weeks ago, the family began checking the humane association shelter every Monday, expecting the little tiger to show up.
It turns out they were looking a little too close to home. Emily showed up all right, but this time it seems she went to France. As in Nancy, France, about 175 miles east of Paris and not far from the French-German border.
As the crow flies, that's more than 4,200 miles, although Emily was shipped, not flown, across the Atlantic Ocean.
Employees at a French lamination company found her in a cargo container, checked her tags and called Emily's veterinarian at Tri-County Veterinarian Center in Kimberly. Emily's vet, John Palarski, called Monday to tell the McElhineys that Emily was safe, although a little thin and a little thirsty.
Oh, and she was in quarantine — in France.
"(She) probably had access to food and water," said Palarski. "I doubt if (she) went three weeks without it. There must have been a lot of mice on the boat.
"Even if (she) was in the cargo department, you would assume there was water down there. She had to have something."
The McElhineys are guessing that Emily ended up in the cargo container while she was prowling around a paper warehouse near their home on S. Fidelis Street near Kensington Drive.
From there, the container was shipped to the East Coast and across the ocean before it was unloaded in France and trucked to Nancy.
"She was probably hunting," Lesley McElhiney said. "She usually comes home. She's run before and we found her at the humane society."
This time Emily's return won't be so easy. The veterinarian has faxed Emily's vaccination records to France hoping to get her out of quarantine, but the McElhineys aren't quite sure how she will get home.
The friend of a co-worker is headed to Germany next week, and the family thinks that maybe the friend can bring Emily home. "The only thing we can think right now is buying a plane ticket," Lesley McElhiney said.
"She already cost us some the first time we got her from the humane society. She's getting to be an expensive little thing."
The children in the family ages 5 and 9, just want Emily home. The family has two other cats, 11-year-old Tori and 7-year-old Ringo. Tori “goes out but she doesn’t run away,” McElhiney said, and Ringo stays inside.
Emily, she said, is "an adventurer and she's a lover and she makes friends."
Palarski said Emily will need a health certificate from France to return home, and she'll have to go through quarantine again when she enters the United States.
And that's not the end of Emily's troubles. McElhiney said when the family gets Emily back, she'll be grounded.