Cat that survived 70 miles under pickup finds home

WENATCHEE -- Now it's certain. Lucky the stowaway cat really is darned lucky.

The 5-month-old kitten -- who rode 70 miles at 70 mph hidden in a pickup's undercarriage -- has found a loving owner and a playful feline family.

She's an indoor cat whose curiosity leads to adventures that most often end with her curled up and asleep in her new owner's lap.

"She's a wonderful, funny girl with a great personality," said Shanna Lingel, of Wenatchee, who adopted Lucky in September. That was just two weeks after the kitten -- 6 weeks old at the time -- zoomed nonstop from East Wenatchee to Moses Lake.

"She's incredibly curious and -- oh, my gosh -- she loves to crawl into things. Bags, boxes, anything with an opening, anything that can be explored."

That figures. On Sept. 16, Lucky crawled behind the skid-plate of a 2004 Ford F-150 owned by Rod Thomas, a sales rep for Day Wireless Systems in Wenatchee.

He headed that morning for a business meeting in Moses Lake and didn't know Lucky was riding underneath until he reached his destination and heard, he said, "the faintest, tiniest meowing."

When he looked underneath the pickup, he saw a thin, furry tail protruding from behind the skid-plate, a metal sheet that protects the pickup's transmission.

Thomas tugged gently on the tail, and a little fuzzy head peeked out.

He coaxed the nervous kitten from the undercarriage, made a bed for her in the back of his pickup, and then named the hobo kitten "Lucky."

The kitten's story was picked up by news outlets across the world. Googling "lucky kitten wenatchee" brings results in the thousands.

And the question on everyone's mind?

Did Thomas keep the cat?

"No," he said last week. "But sending her to the pound was never a consideration. No question about it."

Thomas had Lucky for about two weeks when he learned that friend Lingel had room at her home for another cat.

Lucky's arrival at her home "has been a good thing," Lingel said.

Her older cats -- Willie, 14, and Zoey, a 4-year-old Maltese -- accepted the kitten as a long-lost friend.

"Zoey and Lucky run and play all up and down the house," said Lingel, who e-mails Thomas photo updates on Lucky about every two weeks.

"She's become a member of the family. She's a real sweetheart."