Young, playful and full of adventure, Xena the small but mighty warrior is one brave feline.
The kitten hitched a 300 kilometer, 3 hour ride from Woodstock, New Brunswick, all the way to Dieppe in the wheel well of a Subaru Forester.
“We had to get right up under the rear of the car and finally could see it’s little face up in there,” said Angela MacIntyre Harris, who found Xena in her car.
“I was worried it was going to be quite injured and honestly, it came out. It did take us quite a while, over 30 minutes, but it came out without a mark, it was not dirty, it was, as I said, like a miracle, quite unbelievable.”
Although the cat was uninvited and unexpected, Xena joined the Harris family on their way home from a seven day road trip.
“We had stopped in Woodstock, it was our second to last stop before we were headed home to the Greater Moncton Area and stopped at this store to grab some snacks, it was probably about 9 o’clock at night, and we noticed the kitten kind of dart out of somewhere,” she said.
“We tried to catch it and lost sight of it.”
The family arrived home from their vacation around midnight and used a different vehicle the next day when they went out for another 12 hours.
While they thought the cat was long gone, Xena was closer than they ever could have imagined.
“I was standing in the driveway and I thought ‘there’s no way’ and I was just kind of frozen in place and it kept meowing more and I realized that it absolutely had to be the kitten from the night before,” said Harris.
She says it took about 30 minutes, bribes of canned tuna, a makeshift cat toy and a lot of patience to get the kitten down from the wheel well.
The Harris family only had Xena for about 24 hours, nine of which the feline was actually out of the car. Harris says that while the kitten made a lasting impression, family allergies meant that the hitch hiker couldn’t stay with his chauffeurs.
“Much to my broken heart, we really wanted to keep this kitten that we nicknamed Lucky. Unfortunately, my husband is very allergic,” she explained.
“We had lots of people saying ‘you have to keep this kitten! Give (It) allergy meds,’ but, (it’s) very very very allergic, we couldn’t keep the kitten, we couldn’t even take the kitten into the house, but we did connect with a local rescue.”
Currently, Xena is with a foster family through Riley’s Legacy Cat Rescue in Moncton. The non-profit organization focuses on homing friendly stray and abandoned cats.
Officials with the rescue say there are about 50 cats and kittens looking for a home and at times they’ve had closer to 80 in their care.
“All cats and kittens in our care are examined by our vet, tested for feline Leukemia, treated with revolution, vaccinated (first vaccinations for kittens), and if needed, treated for other medical needs they may require. Also, all are spayed or neutered prior to adoption,” states its Facebook page.
The group also advocates for spayed and neutered pets to help keep down the number of unwanted pets. Officials say there is an enormous over population crisis in the Greater Moncton Area right now and they have to turn down dozens of felines every week.
“The number of cats we can allow into our program is directly related to the number of cats that we adopt into loving homes, thus freeing up a foster home to allow another cat in need to come into care.”
Right now, Xena is not up for adoption and is instead taking a break from traveling to spend time with the foster family and grow a little bigger.
Although Xena wasn’t able to find a permanent home with the Harris family, the feline has definitely found a permanent spot in their hearts.
“We feel lucky that we’re apart from this story too,” said Harris.