updated 7/6/2007 10:43:58 AM ET 2007-07-06T14:43:58

A cat that spent nearly three weeks crossing the Pacific inside a shipping container with no food or water appears to be just fine.

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Pamela Escamilla lost sight of her 3-year-old calico, Spice, while packing a large container with household goods in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii. The container was shipped June 15 to Southern California.

Escamilla, 39, and her husband could not find the cat before taking their flight and asked neighbors in Hawaii to call if Spice returned.

As it turns out, Spice spent 18 days in the pitch-black container without food or water before arriving at the San Bernardino home of Escamilla’s parents on Tuesday.

“We really thought that cat was going to be dead,” said Edward Gardner, Escamilla’s father.

When Escamilla opened the container, she and family members noticed fluffs of cat hair on the floor. They started removing items, and Escamilla climbed into the container to search.

She said she saw Spice poke her head out from behind some bicycles.

“I started to scream,” she said.

Escamilla gently picked up the cat and took her to a veterinarian who said the feline’s prognosis was good. Spice’s kidneys had shrunk and her bowels were backed up, but she managed to get some food and water down at the vet, Escamilla said.

Escamilla said the veterinarian told her that calicos have a strong survival instinct.

“It’s always a good day when the cat’s alive,” said Escamilla. “We didn’t know what we would find.”

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