RIVERSIDE — A cat from Georgia had a wild ride in the back of a soda truck all the way to Riverside County, but he arrived back home for the holidays with the help of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The 5-year-old, domestic short-haired cat, Kitty Bitty, ended up in the county’s care after he was discovered at a Pepsi facility in Riverside.
Officials believe he got to Inland Empire by boarding one of the Pepsi’s cross-country trucks Dec. 15, according to an ASPCA news release.
When Riverside County Animal Services Officer John Hergenreder responded to a call from the Pepsi plant, he could see the animal was underweight.
Animal Services employees examined the skinny cat and treated him for dehydration.
The cat’s cross-country sojourn didn’t just come as a surprise to animal control officers, but also to the cat’s owner, Teresa Cameron of Pooler, Georgia.
Cameron said she was thrilled to learn her cat was still alive, but she was confused about how he could have ended up all the way in California.
Kitty Bitty was connected to Cameron because of a special tag around his neck. The tag said that he had been vaccinated for rabies and had Cameron’s information printed on it.
After discovering the cat had an owner, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services reached out to the ASPCA to get the ball rolling and to get Kitty Bitty home.
“We’re excited to have one of our ASPCA Relocation team members accompany and care for Kitty Bitty on his long trip back to his family in Georgia, in coordination with Riverside County Animal Services,” Jill Buckley, ASPCA senior director of Los Angeles programs, said. “We believe the safest place for animals is in their own loving homes, so we’re very happy to help reunite Kitty Bitty with his family in time for the holidays.”