Ship’s crew cares for stowaway cat and her kittens enroute to the US

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Frederica and her kittens are safe in foster care in a community that is part of the Houston, TX metropolitan area after getting the best of care from sailors on a journey from Spain.

A crew of Italian sailors aboard a ship headed to the Port of Houston from Spain discovered a stowaway cat and her newborn kittens and gave them the best of care on their journey. Animal lovers at the Houston end of the trip helped Mama and her babies to enter the US and have them in foster care.

Friends of League City Animal Shelter are caring for Frederica and her kittens, and told the story in a news release, writing:

We would like to introduce you to our newest U.S. citizen, Frederica, a feline stowaway aboard a foreign vessel sailing from Algeciras, Spain to Houston.  This sly and brave mama found her way into a pallet of food that was loaded onto a launch boat (a small vessel that delivers food and supplies to large vessels offshore) and transferred to the Houston-bound ship.

Despite her bright orange coat, she managed to slip onto the ship’s deck without notice as the launch was unloaded.  The ship sailed from Algeciras on the 13th of March and proceeded through the Straits of Gibraltar in transit to the Texas Gulf Coast.

On March 15th, a crew member spotted her from a distance high on the ship and was not sure what he had seen.  The ship was searched with no success.  A bad storm rolled in on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.  A crew member noticed Frederica as he was walking his deck watch.  She was soaking wet and quite weak, so he was able to pick her up and take her inside.  After she was dried off and made comfortable, to the surprise of the crew, she gave birth to a beautiful orange and white kitten–a miniature version of herself.  The insightful crew members decided to go out into the storm to check the area where she had been found in case there were additional babies.  Sure enough, three more tiny kittens were found—wet and cold. They were hustled inside, dried off and placed in a comfortable towel-lined box that was warmed by a lamp. Here mama Frederica took over the care of her tiny charges.

Having no cat food on board, they fed her liver and also bits of fish and chicken prepared by the cook. The crew fell in love with the mama kitty and her babies, and did not want to let them go but a tanker is no place for pets. So, the crew persuaded their captain to implore the ship’s U.S. agent, a volunteer with League City Animal Shelter, to do whatever was necessary for the family to leave the ship and find a new home in the U.S. It was necessary to obtain permission from U.S. Customs: Animal welfare and Agriculture, U.S. Agriculture, U.S. Boarder Protection, and the Texas Department of Health.

In addition, Texas Parks and Wildlife had to declare the mama and her babies to be domestic animals and not wildlife. The facility where the ship was to dock had to agree to this action as well.

“Although we typically get out foster animals from the League City Animal Shelter we just had to make an exception for this international family said Monica Millican, President of The Friends of League City Animal Shelter (FLCAS) and the kitties’ foster mom.  She continued “We are soliciting donations for the family’s care so we aren’t siphoning funds from our League City animals”.

Once the ship docked the evening of April 2, Frederica and her babies were whisked into isolation.  In order for the family to stay in the United States, international and state health certificate had to be obtained. Once Dr. Kim completed their examination, testing, and vaccinating, the family was declared healthy and able to stay in the US.

Through the kindness and hard work of the ship’s crew, the ship’s U.S. agent, and FLCAS, these kitties are now U.S. Citizens and have a chance for a happy life. The crew has named the kittens Bravo, India, Juliette, and Zulu for radio tag signals and are requesting the adopters keep the names. Once the kittens are weaned Federica will be spayed and offered for adoption.

Although their quarantine period is ending it will be a few weeks before the kittens will be available to meet and a little longer before they are available for adoption.

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Friends of LCAS wrote at Facebook: “Volunteers w Friends of LCAS, are helping this stowaway kitty and her family, who came on a ship from Spain! Thanks go out to Dr. Kim at Marina Bay Animal Hospital for vetting her, and providing the needed medical paperwork. Frederica and her kittens are now safe in foster care, w Monica of FLCAS. ”

 

ABC 13 Eyewitness News made this video report on the story:

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 Francesca and her kittens Bravo,India, Juliet and Zulu

Frederica and her kittens Bravo,India, Juliet and Zulu.  Friends of LCAS wrote at Facebook: “Volunteers w Friends of LCAS, are helping this stowaway kitty and her family, who came on a ship from Spain! Thanks go out to Dr. Kim at Marina Bay Animal Hospital for vetting her, and providing the needed medical paperwork. Frederica and her kittens are now safe in foster care, w Monica of FLCAS. “

4 thoughts on “Ship’s crew cares for stowaway cat and her kittens enroute to the US”

  1. Great story. So proud of the sailors who valued the life of this brave mama cat and her kittens. Love the picture of them proudly holding their “charges”

  2. Such a sweet story of this mother cat and her kittens. I’m interesting in adopting one of the kittens . Very touched by their story . Need contact information please . Where can I locate this precious family ?

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