After a cat slipped out of a motorhome unnoticed, a frantic search ensued.
By Vicki Cole, F415473
My husband, Steve, and I are animal lovers to the core. We purchased our Winnebago Sightseer motorhome in 2010 to avoid kenneling our pets while traveling. This is our story of an agonizing, intense, and, ultimately, joyful experience from last year. It’s why we now constantly keep our eyes on our cat.
Heading home to Menomonie, Wisconsin, after our annual trip to Grand Marais, Minnesota, we planned to spend a few nights at Pattison State Park near Superior, Wisconsin. On the way to the park, we made only two stops. One was in Two Harbors, Minnesota, for lunch in a strip mall parking lot. The second was to gas up at an unattended station along Highway 61 near Duluth, Minnesota.
Upon reaching the state park, we filled our water tank near the entrance and proceeded to our campsite. Our rescue animals, a dog named Raven and a cat named Coach, are generally at the door, as we usually allow them outside in their harnesses upon arrival. This time it was only the dog. What a feeling of panic!
I immediately returned to the park entrance, assuming our kitty escaped while we were getting water. It’s a very woodsy area. Having no luck finding him, we decided to retrace our steps to Two Harbors, a 45-mile drive.
At the unattended gas station, we were glad to see a man mowing the expansive area. He introduced himself as T-Bone, brother of the owner. He hadn’t seen a cat while mowing, but he offered some paper from the office so that we could attach notes to the pumps that said, “Missing: 10-Year-Old White Cat With Tabby Markings — Very Friendly, Named Coach, Reward.” We included my phone number. T-Bone also said his sister’s printing business in Duluth could make posters, if needed.
We then returned to the strip mall in Two Harbors, placing “missing cat” notes on the bulletin board of Super One Foods, as well as on the windows of other businesses.
I contacted our two daughters in Illinois. I was too distracted to concentrate, so they placed announcements on the websites of organizations that help find lost pets in Minnesota, as well as Lake and St. Louis counties, the locations of Two Harbors and Duluth.
Then all we could do was return to our campground, hope, and pray.
At 1:10 a.m., my cell phone rang. The caller identified himself as Ben, said he was in the Coast Guard, and was traveling from St. Ignace, Michigan, to Minneapolis. He stopped for gas and while reading a note on the pump about a missing cat, a feline matching the description began rubbing on his leg! This young man was conscientious enough to call us.
Since he was heading south, Ben offered to meet us at a Kwik Trip store in Superior, reducing our drive to only 15 miles. Coach the cat slept on his front car seat, exhausted from his busy day that included being missing for approximately 12 hours. We couldn’t have been more grateful to Ben, who wouldn’t even accept our reward.
Traveling with our pets has made our trips more enjoyable by keeping the family together. But we are ever more mindful of their whereabouts in our vehicle, especially Coach, the slippery cat.
Coach, the Cole family’s “slippery” cat, looks none the worse for his adventures in Minnesota.
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