Paradise Valley feline survives harrowing flight abroad

Posted 11/5/19

After surviving a harrowing flight, a cat named George has resumed his normal activities including relaxing at his Paradise Valley home near the pool.

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Paradise Valley feline survives harrowing flight abroad


After surviving a harrowing flight, a cat named George has resumed his normal activities including relaxing at his Paradise Valley home near the pool.

A world traveler, George is used to flying, but one flight landed him at an emergency pet hospital in Nova Scotia, where he also lives part of the year with his owners, Andrew Inkpen, an Arizona State University professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management, and his wife, Pat Seary.

An only pet, the 15-year-old part-Siamese cat is accustomed to getting all the attention, being spoiled and receiving treats.

But, one night while he was happily lounging on the upstairs deck at his Boutiliers Point waterfront home, in Nova Scotia, his owners got concerned when they noticed that he suddenly disappeared.

Ms. Seary, who first shared the account with The Chronicle Herald in Nova Scotia, recalled how he was nowhere to be found after she went to let him in despite the barricade to the stairs still being in place.

Then, she said, he reappeared on the deck about a half hour later, soaking wet.

“He was just sitting there, not a little bit wet, but like sopped,” she said to the media outlet. “But, as I’m drying him off, I turn him over and he has these two big rips in his skin; and, a little later and I noticed these puncture marks.”

She described how she thought George “went on an adventure” down to the rocks and fell in the water. However, she realized that his wounds were not from rocks but from a bird catnapper; somehow escaping and surviving a failed attempt as the bird of prey “tried to pick him up, struggled, and knocked him into the water,” she said.

George, weighing “6.1 kilograms,” which is about 13 pounds, reportedly was taken from the deck by a great horned owl, transported to the water about “20 metres,” nearly 70 feet from the deck and dropped in the St. Margarets Bay.

“So the poor little guy swam home, climbed up the stairs, went across the lawn, climbed up all the other stairs and was just waiting for us to find him,” Ms. Seary said.

The bird may have dug into his skin but his weight made him too heavy to carry, which may have contributed to his survival despite internal injuries sustained.

Fully-recuperated, the feline is back to enjoying the very deck he was nabbed from and well enough to travel back to Arizona.

Mr. Inkpen recently answered questions for the Independent about George’s experience, risking one of his “nine lives” to return to his life of luxury in Paradise Valley.

How was it determined that he was catnapped, swam ashore and climbed up multiple flights of stairs? The vet made the determination that his attack was from an owl. She could tell from the cuts. When we found him he was completely wet with salt water so he had to have fallen in and somehow made his way back to shore.

What did surgery entail and how long was recovery? He had two large cuts with multiple punctures. The skin was separated from the muscle and had to be stitched up. A piece of fur from the cuts was pushed down between his skin and muscle to his underbelly. He had 20 stitches in total.

Are you surprised that he was able to survive what he endured? Very surprised. If he had not fallen he would have been eaten. If he had fallen on land or on the rocky shoreline instead of the water he could have been killed or seriously injured.

What has his demeanor been like since his traumatic experience? It took him a few days to recover. The surgery tired him out a lot.

Do you spoil him more since his plight? He was already spoiled – hard to spoil him more.

What is his favorite things to do and treats he enjoys? He is 15 years old so his favorite thing is to sleep on one of his owners. He is the ultimate lap cat. Every day at 5 p.m., he gets five treats – the highlight of his day.

What do you think he’d say about what he went through? He is a very laid back- he seems to not even remember that it happened.

Has he had other near-death experiences to use up some of his “nine-lives?” No, he has always been an indoor cat. He is a great traveler. He has traveled to Canada 15 times and earlier this year spent three months in Germany. He is now happy to be home in Paradise Valley.