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Friday, 22 December 2017 11:02

Kitty Bitty in the Air, Arriving Home Soon

ASPCA Assists Riverside County with Savannah Feline

FRIDAY, DEC. 22, 2017 – A cat that found his way to one of Riverside County’s shelters is almost home for the holidays, thanks to a major assist from the longest-standing animal welfare organization in North America.

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) coordinated a flight with a member of its Animal Relocation team, so Kitty Bitty would have a personal flying companion to care for him on his trip home.

The 5-year-old, domestic short-haired cat ended up in Riverside County’s care after what could only be described as a strange trip. Kitty Bitty arrived in Riverside on Dec. 13 at a Pepsi facility after, presumably, stowing away on one of the soda company’s cross-country trucks.

It’s uncertain how long Kitty Bitty was inside the truck, but when Riverside County Animal Services Officer John Hergenreder responded to the call from the Pepsi plant, he could see the cat was very underweight. Veterinary Services Division employees examined the skinny cat and treated him for dehydration and provided him nutrition to start getting his weight back to normal.

As it turned out, Kitty Bitty had a special tag around his neck. The tag illustrated he had been vaccinated for rabies and had owner information on it. Riverside County contacted the owner, Teresa Cameron of Pooler, Ga., and she was thrilled to learn Kitty Bitty was still alive – but puzzled at how he ended up in the Inland Empire of California. Ms. Cameron said Kitty Bitty vanished on the Fourth of July.

Riverside County reached out to the ASPCA to see if it could help make a reunion happen faster. That got the logistical ball rolling.

“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,” said Jill Buckley, ASPCA Senior Director, Los Angeles Programs. “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.”

ASPCA Relocation Driver Therese Holmes took off on a flight this morning (Dec. 22) with Kitty Bitty out of Los Angeles International Airport. She and Kitty Bitty left at about 6 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The flight was bound for Savannah, Ga., after a brief stop in Charlotte, N.C.

Ms. Holmes and Kitty Bitty will land in Savannah at approximately 5:20 p.m. (EST). The flight is being paid for, courtesy of the ASPCA and donations by employees at Riverside County Animal Services. The ASPCA is handling the bulk of the expenses.

“The ASPCA illustrated what an amazing partner it is on this special mission,” Riverside County Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “Each year, the ASPCA assists us with the relocation of homeless pets and hundreds of lives are saved, thanks to those efforts. But this flight was an extra special gesture by our friends at the ASPCA. Just awesome work.”