Moosie the 2-year-old grey tabby survived a 64-day journey, crossing thousands of miles while trapped inside a futon mattress packed away with the rest of his owners’ belongings. Moosie’s owners, Kymberly and Jesse Chelf, thought they had lost him when they left El Paso, Texas, to move to Fairbanks, Alaska, two months ago. The family had to move when Jesse, who is in the United States Army, received a new assignment at Fort Wainwright. It was early April, and everything was going fine. All the boxes had been packed and all that remained was for the loaders to get everything put into the moving truck. As the items were being loaded, however, the Chelfs realized they could no longer find Moosie. The cat had been there earlier that day, but somewhere along the line he had vanished. The family searched for their cat everywhere they could think, but came up empty time after time.
They stayed in Texas for three days after the movers took their things. Several times each day they returned to the home and searched again.
At first they thought he may have jumped into one of the moving boxes, but all the boxes had been packed and sealed before he went missing. Only the furniture had been left unpacked for the loaders.
“We just assumed he had run away, which was very unlike Moosie,” Kymberly said. “He’s just a very loyal, loving cat.”
They put out the word to all their friends and neighbours. They activated his microchip in case anyone found him and reluctantly left.
“We have so many good friends down there that were constantly looking for him. We had a really good support down there,” Kymberly said. “We had a plan (for) when we found Moose,” she said, “’cause we were confident we would find him.”
A friend in El Paso had offered to pick Moosie up from whatever veterinarian or animal shelter at which his microchip might be scanned.
So they were ready in case he showed back up at home.
What they didn’t expect, according to Kymberly, was to find Moosie in Fairbanks. When the family’s furniture arrived in Fairbanks on Thursday, they unpacked everything from the moving truck - the large futon was one of the last things to be unpacked.
The mattress seemed as inanimate as any of their other household items until the movers had unwrapped it and carried it halfway up the stairs. Moosie broke his long silence and came out with a meow Kymberly will never forget.
“He’d given it everything he had to let us know he was in there,” she said. “It just broke my heart.”
Kymberly ran to the garage to tell her husband the shocking news - they had found Moosie, and he was alive. They looked up Fairbanks veterinarians and were able to rush him to Mount McKinley Animal Hospital. There, Dr. Hayden Nevill was able to rehydrate Moosie and nurse him back to relative health.
It wasn’t Moosie’s first brush with tight spaces or near death. As a newborn kitten, Moosie and his siblings were rescued from a wall of a home owned by one of the Chelf’s neighbours. The mother of the litter had become tangled in some wires and died, but the Chelfs were able to rescue Moosie and adopt him into their family.
Since she was just three weeks old, Moosie received care and attention from Kymberly.
“I’m pretty much mama to him,” she said. “Bottle feeding a kitten, they really do become attached to you.”
Now, the family is doing everything it can to make sure Moosie’s marathon survival wasn’t for naught. They’ve spent several thousand dollars in veterinarian bills to get him back toward full health.
After hours of surgery, a blood transfusion and nearly a week in the hospital, Moosie may be nearly ready to return home, Kymberly said.
“It’s unbelievable, but we are so glad to have him alive, and we can’t wait for him to come home,” she said. “It’s a long road to recovery for him, but we’re looking forward to having him back and getting him nice and fat again.”
You can read more about Moosie the miracle cat at his Facebook page.