SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - A cat whose owners thought was lost spent nearly three weeks crossing the Pacific Ocean in a shipping container with no food or water - and appears to be just fine.
The voyage began after Pamela Escamilla lost sight of her 3-year-old calico, Spice, while packing a huge container with household goods in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.
The container was shipped June 15 to Southern California. Escamilla, 39, and her husband couldn't find the cat before taking their flight and asked neighbors in Hawaii to call if Spice returned.
While the Escamillas feared the worst, Spice spent 18 days in the pitch-black container without food or water as it crossed the Pacific before arriving at the San Bernardino home of Escamilla's parents on Tuesday.
"We really thought that cat was going to be dead," said Edward Gardner, Escamilla's father.
When Escamilla opened the container, she and family members huddled around her noticed fluffs of cat hair on the floor.
They started removing items, and Escamilla climbed into the container to search.
"I saw (Spice) poke her head out from behind some bicycles, and I started to scream," said Escamilla. She gently picked up the cat and went to the veterinarian, who said the feline's prognosis was good.
"It's always a good day when the cat's alive," said Escamilla. "We didn't know what we would find."
Spice's kidneys had shrunk and her bowels were backed up, but she managed to get some food and water down at the vet, Escamilla said.
The vet gave the Escamillas a soup recipe for Spice made of chicken broth and marrow.
"(The vet) said, 'That's a calico for you,"' Escamilla said. "They have a survival instinct."