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Wayward Cat Gets Free Flight Home
April 5, 2010

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Charles the cat is a bit of a wanderer, it would seem. Or did he have help traveling the 1,300 miles from Albuquerque for Chicago? No person knows, and Charles isn't talking (at least in language that humans can understand).

What is known is that the tabby somehow ended up in Chicago, even though his owner wasn't there. She wasn't at home, either, which might have been part of the problem.

Seems the owner was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, helping rebuild New Orleans, when she got a call from Chicago Animal Care and Control. The folks there had identified a stray cat by the microchip under his skin and traced his home to New Mexico. After a bit of digging, they got the phone number for Charles's owner and placed the call.

What should we do, they asked? The owner didn't have enough money to pay for the airplane ticket to go from New Orleans to Chicago to Albuquerque and back to New Orleans. Fearing that her beloved tabby would be put down, she went public.

Turns out another cat-lover whose pet resembles Charles had booked a round-trip ticket from Albuquerque to Chicago. This cat-owner was flying in for a wedding but was more than happy to give Charles a helping hand or two. Through the man's efforts (not to mention a bit of publicity), the airline waived Charles's travel fee. He even got a company to donate a cat carrier.

The two new friends will soon fly home. How long Charles stays before his next adventure is up to him (naturally).

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