Stowaways aboard commercial ships are often an unwanted burden for a ship’s crew, but for five such furry creatures the experience looks to have had a purrfect ending.
Teekay’s 155,000-cbm LNG carrier Lobito (built 2011) was en route from Singapore to La Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean, when a pregnant cat was found to have decided to leave the Lion City behind and stowed away on board the vessel.
After departing Singapore, the presence of the cat was detected when an eagle-eyed crewmate noticed an unusual shadow lurking while on the bridge lookout.
“The crew began setting up traps and leaving food out with the hopes of catching the cat. She proved to be elusive — sneaking into traps and grabbing food before stealthily making her escape,” Teekay said.
“While searching for the elusive mother cat, the crew found her four kittens.
“Fortunately, the master on board was an experienced cat owner who took charge of instructing the crew on their care,” the shipowner added.
The crew quickly adopted the kittens as Lobito mascots by naming them after the Teekay Gas fleet teams — Clyde, Forth, Spey, and Tay.
“With an expert leading the front, the kittens were well cared for and fed, with the crew even making toys for the felines and played with the kittens regularly,” said Teekay.
“Mama cat, dubbed ‘Merlion’ after the famous statue in Singapore, was eventually found.”
But the issue remained of what to do with the cats once the gas carrier reached La Reunion.
Teekay said the Lobito’s vessel manager, also an animal lover, assisted efforts to find a foster or permanent home for the cats ashore.
As the vessel approached La Reunion, the crew contacted the agent appointed to Lobito about the situation and the agent, being another feline friend, volunteered to foster the cat and her kittens until they could be adopted.
“We are happy to report that Merlion and her litter have all found their forever homes,” said Teekay.
“In fact, Lobito’s agent in La Reunion was quick to fall in love with Merlion and adopted her along with two of her kittens.”