A photo of Colin's at sea, sent by staff on the tanker. Photo: supplied / NZ Herald
A photo of Colin's at sea, sent by staff on the tanker. Photo: supplied / NZ Herald

The incredible journeys of wayward pets

IN 2001, a humble cat that hung around Port Taranaki became a minor celebrity after she travelled far from home.

Named after a port employee, "Colin's Cat" was a friendly tortoiseshell that lived at the tanker terminal in New Plymouth - which is how she ended up travelling to South Korea.

The epic voyage began when Colin's (yes, that's what they called her) was invited for a meal by a crew member on the Tomiwaka, a South Korean methanol tanker.

"Unfortunately, both of them fell asleep in his cabin - and by the time they woke up, the tanker had sailed," Port Taranaki staff member Garth Stone told the New Zealand Shipping Gazette.

Initially, staff had hoped to transfer Colin's to a ship travelling back to Taranaki, but the mission was deemed too dangerous. While at sea, her friends back home were given regular updates by the tanker's captain, Chang Seong-mo.

"She's still healthy and has been keeping the good condition. When I have seen her until now, I think she's very nice cat. When I gave her the Pringle potato chip this afternoon, she ate very well," he reported by email.

Globetrotting Port Taranki cat Colin's was accompanied home by employee Gordon MacPherson.
Globetrotting Port Taranki cat Colin's was accompanied home by employee Gordon MacPherson. NZ Herald

On her arrival at the South Korean port of Yeosu, Colin's was greeted like a celebrity by four Korean camera crews and Port Taranaki tanker terminal superintendent Gordon MacPherson.

Whiskers catfood shouted the pair a business class flight back to New Zealand, where Colin's received a similar welcome.

The company also awarded her a lifetime supply of cat food. While Colin's died in 2009, she is remembered with a memorial stone outside the tanker terminal.

But she's definitely not the only pet to take such an incredible journey. Here are some other honourable mentions:

Sophie Tucker the Australian cattle dog

In 2009, Sophie's owners thought it was the end when she fell overboard while sailing in choppy waters off the coast of Queensland.

But the remarkable dog swam five nautical miles through stormy, shark-infested seas before reaching St Bees Island, the Daily Mail reported.

She was found four months later by rangers, who discovered she had managed to stay alive by hunting wild goats. Initially, they believed she was wild, until her owners heard that a cattle dog had been seen in the region and she was rescued.

Despite her ordeal, she quickly readjusted to life as a family dog and a book was written about her adventure.

Cairo the quarantined kitten

Last year, a 6-week-old kitten survived a 4828km journey from Egypt to the United Kingdom, after sneaking into the cargo hold of an Emirates plane.

Cairo soon after arriving in the UK

Posted by Solihull Council on Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The little ginger-and-white moggy was discovered by staff at Birmingham Airport when they unloaded the aircraft.

She was named Cairo, as a nod to her beginnings, before being transferred to quarantine facilities for a 14-day stay. What a welcome.

Emirates bosses kindly agreed to pay more than £1000 for another three-and-a-half months of quarantine, Yahoo reported. She was then transferred to a cat rescue sanctuary in Derby, before being adopted.

The stowaway schnauzer

Late last year, a pet schnauzer dog took an international adventure after he stowed away in his owner's suitcase - talk about puppy love.

He was meant to stay with family in Hong Kong while his owner took a leisure trip to Japan, but the loyal pet wasn't discovered until the destination was reached.

When the dog's owner's mother-in-law texted him to say she couldn't find his pet, the owner checked his luggage.

The dog had been in the suitcase for about seven hours in total, the Daily Mail reported. It is unknown how he made it through airport security.

Unfortunately, the loyal pet was not allowed to continue on holiday with his owner and was sent back to Hong Kong.

The high-flying moggy

It's common for cats to get stuck up a tree, but this black-and-white feline found itself in a much greater quandary.

After falling asleep on the wing of an open-cockpit glider in French Guiana, this cat was taken for a terrifying flight by two people who had no idea of his presence.

Video uploaded to YouTube shows the cat emerging from its hiding place and clinging to the wing of the plane, his fur blowing wildly in the wind.

Luckily the cat managed to hang on for the duration of the flight and was reportedly safe and well once on the ground. But it's an incident that would definitely have used up a few of its nine lives.

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