Kevin, Orange Tabby Cat Missing Since 2013, Ends Epic Trek in California Desert

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This is the story of a cat with an extreme case of wanderlust.

It ends happily.

His name is Kevin. The orange tabby was adopted in June 2013 by a woman in Anderson, South Carolina. She kept him as an indoor cat. "But he acted unhappy," she later told rescuers.

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One day, she let him go outside. He vanished. Months passed. "I assumed someone must have picked him up," the owner, Cheryl Walls, recalled.

On March 4, a woman was driving a U-Haul trailer across the California/Arizona border and was stopped by a food and agriculture inspector, officials said. The inspector looked inside and heard muffled mewing.

The driver said the cat wasn't hers, and had no idea how it got there.

Kevin, a tabby cat, made its way from South Carolina to California where Riverside County Animal Services is trying to return him to his owner.Riverside County Animal Services

So the inspector took the dehydrated cat to a Riverside County Animal Services shelter in Blythe, California, where workers fed him and found a microchip embedded under his skin.

Information on that microchip led them to Walls. But it didn't explain how he'd made it so far.

A reunion is now in the works, arranged by Riverside County officials. Kevin was put on a flight from Palm Springs International Airport alone, in a crate, and was scheduled to land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport at about 8:30 p.m. ET. Wednesday.

“We have handled some pets with crazy back stories, and this is one more for the list,” Riverside County Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “The good news is we know the owner, she wants her pet back, and we’ll make that happen."

— Jon Schuppe