Washington cat found in Alaska returns home safely: 'He got grounded permanently'


A lost cat is home safe and sound after going on an adventure of a lifetime.

Panda, a black-and-white cat, disappeared on October 8.

Christina Clevenger and her husband weren’t overly concerned since he’s the type of cat who tends to wander around the neighborhood and around their 40-acre property.

But all that changed when Panda was gone for way longer than expected.

The family began to worry about his whereabouts and organized a search party.

"We had about a dozen people helping us look for some sort of sign or clue, like if he ended up getting caught by a coyote," she explained to TODAY.

On October 11, Clevenger was feeling hopeless and decided to post some pictures of Panda on Facebook hoping someone would recognize him or have some information.

That information didn’t come until about two weeks later, when a family member spotted Panda in a photo on social media.

The Washington-native was found alive and well in Alaska!

"My husband's aunt is the one who actually found the post ... she came running down to our property and asked me, 'What color collar was Panda wearing?'" Clevenger said. "And I said a bright green one. And she turns her phone around and goes, 'Isn't this Panda?'"

"I was holding my daughter's little Chihuahua, and I hate to say this, but it's true, I ended up dropping the little Chihuahua, and my phone," Clevenger said. "I instantly started bawling. ... The fact that she turned the phone around and he was right there, I lost it. I was emotional for the whole day,” she told the outlet.

Panda was found roaming around a Home Depot in Kenai, Alaska more than 45 hours from home.

Unfortunately, Panda cannot recount the details of his journey, but Clevenger believes that he accidentally boarded a boat or a truck that was bringing a shipment to the store.

Clevenger connected with the animal rescue organization, United Angels, who immediately began the processing of getting Panda home.

"It was amazing that they got a hold of us and jumped to help right away," Clevenger said.

"Honestly, if it wasn't for (United Angels), we would probably have not gotten Panda back, because there was so many hoops to jump through,” she added.

Those hoops included getting Panda – who the vet said was dehydrated and lost a substantial amount of weight – to get checked out and cleared for takeoff.

He was taken to Anchorage and handed off to an airline that delivered him to Washington’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he was greeted by the Clevenger family with open arms.

"It was hectic, but it was a good hectic," Clevenger said. "I just want to thank everyone. I know that sounds cheesy, but everybody came together. They helped us get our baby home."

Following the joyous reunion, Panda’s roaming privileges have been suspended so that he doesn’t accidentally go on another trip.

"He's spending all of his time inside," she said. "I learned my lesson the hard way ... He got grounded permanently. We gave him more toys to play with; he gets more treats. He's more spoiled than he ever was."

It seems like Clevenger could really use the app that translates cat meows to hear all about Panda's escapade.

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