Long-Haul Cat Hitches a 300-Mile Truck Ride

A lucky black cat that rode unscathed on the rear axle of a tractor-trailer from Yakima, Wash., to Eugene, Ore., may soon have a new home.

Offers to adopt the 15-year-old female have come from two states since the feline, now nicknamed "Hitch," took her death-defying 300-mile trip.

Authorities said Hitch's improbable journey began May 13. A truck driver for wholesale chain Bi-Mart was preparing to leave Yakima when he heard a cat's meow and checked the rig, but found nothing.

At subsequent stops in The Dalles, Ore., and an Interstate 5 weigh station, the driver could still hear the cat's cries but could not find her.

When the truck made its final stop at Bi-Mart's warehouse in Eugene, Hitch was discovered. The driver called animal control officer Bill Waugh to coax her from her hideout.

"When we found her, she was still on the axle. She wasn't going to move," Waugh said. "The cat was instantly friendly when I got it off the axle."

Hitch is spayed and has very few teeth. She was wearing a pink and white flea collar.

The cat is staying at a animal shelter in Eugene. No one has claimed her, but several people have offered to take her in.

"We have had a very enthusiastic response," said Sandy Lane of the Central Washington Humane Society. "But it could be a tug of war between two states. The people of Eugene have become kind of attached to her."

Lane speculated that Hitch was probably looking for a cozy place to nap when she crawled onto the axle.

"Cats are very curious, and they fit in small places. We are always surprised but never shocked when a cat does something like this," she said.

If Hitch's owner can be found, Bi-Mart will bring the cat home in style, with a ride in the passenger seat of a truck this time, said James Schulker, manager of the Bi-Mart store on Fifth Avenue in Yakima.