Mischievous moggie rides rails to Rocky
HE'S the train-travelling tom cat melting hearts on his incredible journey.
Big Red, as he's been affectionately dubbed, jumped aboard the north-bound Spirit of Queensland at the Maryborough West train station on Wednesday night and made the 400km trip to Rockhampton.
He was taken in that night by Queensland Rail catering attendant Kiah Joyce (pictured), who was working on the train, and is now in the care of Capricorn Animal Aid cat co-ordinator Rochelle Vycke. Both women are convinced that the sneaky stowaway is not a stray because he is so affectionate and is house- trained.
Kiah said the train had left Maryborough after 7.30pm on Wednesday when the supervisor alerted her and fellow staff to Big Red's presence.
"He had been running around one of the carriages and they took him to the staff area. They fed him and gave him some water and he slept on one of the staff seats all the way to Rockhampton," she said.
"He was no trouble. He was quite happy and made himself at home.
"Apparently a lady had seen him get on (at Maryborough) and had tried to get him off the train but the doors closed before she had the chance."
Kiah decided she would take Big Red home with her when the train arrived in Rockhampton.
She contacted her partner, who met her at the station with the cat cage.
"He didn't want to get in the cat cage. He wouldn't have a bar of it," Kiah said. "He was happy for us to curl him up in a blanket and to be nursed all the way home.
"I feel like he's definitely someone's pet. He's very affectionate and very loving and he's litter trained."
On Thursday, Kiah took Big Red to a Rockhampton vet surgery and found that he was not microchipped.
While she would have loved to keep the friendly feline - she has two adopted pets of her own - she reluctantly surrendered him to Capricorn Animal Aid.
Kiah said further investigations found that Big Red had befriended the station cat at Maryborough West and had been seen there regularly in the past couple of weeks.
Rochelle is now spreading the word on Facebook in the hope the owners come forward. "He's a beautiful boy," she said. "He's very cuddly and unlike a lot of toms, he's not aggressive at all. Because he is so loving we are sure he has a loving home somewhere and we would dearly love to get him back there.
"I would say he's probably four or five years old. He's got a particularly big head and he almost reminds me of a miniature lion."
Big Red is currently staying in Rochelle's "guest room" and is lapping up the attention from her family.
"The kids love him. My daughter Ciara, 5, sat and read him a story last night as he fell asleep," she said.
"I've never had a case like this before. It's a beautiful story of a mischievous cat."
To temporarily foster Big Red, contact Rochelle on 0488 229 877.