Oscar has just used up one more of his nine lives.
It isn't the first time the Anselmi family cat has traveled the country, but it might have been his last if it weren't for the animal lover who found him. Oscar has been across the country twice, usually riding on the dashboard of the family car. But his latest adventures took him to Spokane, Wash. this time without his family.
The 6-year-old stowaway, who owner Christy Anselmi said is very curious and very friendly, made his way into a moving van parked on a Salt Lake street last Saturday. The neighbors were having furniture moved in and the Anselmi family was gardening when Oscar was mistakenly closed into the trailer as it was preparing to leave.
"We went on a search of the neighborhood yesterday morning, asking the neighbors to open their garages, thinking he may be inside one of them," Anselmi said. Not long after the search, she received a phone call from the driver, Vince Simons, saying he had found their cat riding in with his load.
Oscar had been in the rafters of the trailer for nearly three days, without food or water. When he found the cat, the only food Simons had in his truck was Cheerios, and Oscar gladly accepted.
"We were so excited, it made our day so bright to find out he had been found," Anselmi said.
Anselmi said she has offered the driver reimbursement for any supplies he needs to purchase for the cat's safe return, "and then some."
Simons is letting the black-and-white cat roam around in his big rig and often finds him in the top cabinet snuggled in with his T-shirts. During transport, Oscar can be found sleeping on the floor mats.
"Generally cats want to follow their furniture," he said. "But this wasn't his furniture."
Oscar is scheduled to return to his home next week, following a business trip with Simons heading from Tacoma to Montana and then on to Salt Lake City.
"In looking at a map, I see that cat will have been to more states in the U.S. than I have," Anselmi said. The family has thought about giving Oscar a new nickname, reminding them of his adventure. And they are definitely going to keep a better eye on him.
"He's just so quick. I just hope he can have the rest of his six lives, or whatever he has left, here at home," she said. Oscar has been seen running into neighbors' homes on occasion and neighbors have had to hunt for him before.
Next-door neighbor Cathi Butler said the cat gets chased out of her home by her two cats all the time.
She said it is much like "Where's Waldo" with Oscar. He's always somewhere, and he always shows up.
"You would have to know Oscar to know why everybody in the neighborhood thinks the world of him," Butler said. "He's just the greatest cat."
Anselmi said that if Simons is ever in the area again, he can visit the cat any time."We're pals now," Simons said. "We talk all the time; he just doesn't answer in English."