Owner: Trapped cat survived 30-day trip in moving box

Deanna LeBlanc on cat's cross-country trip

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The story is hard to believe, but owner Ashley Barth and the veterinarian’s office where her cat is being treated say it’s true: Mee Moowe the cat survived a month-long trip across the country without food or water.

That trip started in Suffolk, when movers went to pack up the Barth family’s home in September. Mee Moowe went missing.

“I was really worried and starting to think the worst,” Barth said. “Maybe she ran away, maybe the movers scared her and she decided it was too much noise and she took off.”

The family delayed their move to Hawaii, staying three more nights in their empty house, hoping Mee Moowe would show up. Eventually, they couldn’t wait any longer.

Photos: Cat survives 36 days without food, water

“It made me sick. It was heartbreaking,” Barth said. “My girls were devastated trying to tell me that I couldn’t leave without Mee Moowe.”

The land and sea journey or the Barth family’s belongings took more than a month. Thirty-six days after their Suffolk home was packed up, the boxes arrived in Hawaii. When movers began unloading, Barth said she heard a quick, faint “meow.”

“The guy goes, ‘what was that sound?’ and my heart just kind of sunk for a minute and I thought, ‘no, no way.’ And then we heard it again. And the guy said, ‘was that a cat?'” Barth said.

Barth said the noise was Mee Moowe, clinging to possibly her last life. The cat, which was anemic and had lost half its body weight, could barely walk. Barth said Mee Moowe’s eyes were crusted shut.

“I was in shock,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I think I was grateful that she was alive, but I was furious this happened to her.”

WAVY.com spoke with the veterinarian’s office that treated Mee Moowe in Hawaii. They said she exhibited classic symptoms of starvation, but somehow, she survived more than a month without food or water.

“She came right up to my daughters and right to me and wouldn’t let us leave her side,” Barth said.

But the reunion was short-lived.

Mee Moowe wasn’t supposed to go with the family to Hawaii right away. She was supposed to stay in Virginia with a family member and finish the vaccination process needed to make the move. Since things didn’t go as planned, Mee Moowe is living at a veterinarian’s office in Hawaii in quarantine for three months, and that’s costing the Barth family $4,000.

WAVY.com checked with the state veterinarian’s offices in Virginia and Hawaii. While both say it’s not likely a cat could survive without food or water for 36 days, they said it’s not impossible. Both vets told WAVY.com a number of factors come into play, like the cat’s health before it moved, the amount of humidity and temperature inside the box and the shipping containers.

Call it curiosity or a moving company’s mistake — either way, Barth is calling it a miracle.

“I’m just as shocked as they are,” she said. “I have no idea how she did it.”

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