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Once upon a time I came home from elementary school and heard a noise in my room. As I explored, I found it was a sort of scratching coming from a big trunk/chest sitting in the corner. When I opened the top, my family house cat shot out of the trunk and sprinted for the door. I realized I had left the trunk lid open the night before and he must have climbed in to sleep on the blankets inside. Then I closed the lid in the morning, trapping him. I felt terrible he spent eight hours in there, but it was nothing compared to the ordeal a Utah cat named Galena went through recently.

One day, Carrie and Matt Clark were puzzled by the disappearance of their indoor cat, Galena. They spent hours searching the house for their quite kitty. When they finally decided she’d escaped somehow, they called friends and neighbors. In a last ditch effort, they plastered the neighborhood with posters. But day after day went by with no sign of Galena.

Then six days later they got a call. Someone had found Galena. In California. Inside a box with shoes Carrie was returning to Amazon. Galena came very close to dying, but only survived because of three “miracles.”

WhoGalena, the calico house cat
WhatShipped to California with an Amazon return
WhenSix days (without food or water)
HowSnuck into an open box and curled up
Why“If it fits, I sits”

The way Carrie Clark told the story, she decided to return multiple boxes of shoes, put them in a larger box, and left it out. Later that day, Matt closed the box, taped it shut, and took it to the post office. Galena, who loved snuggling up in tight spaces, must have wedged herself in beneath the shoe boxes. And Matt never saw her. Even wilder, she didn’t make a sound on the way to the post office–or during shipping. But she did get very lucky. Miraculously so.

Carrie explained, “She loves to hide in boxes, so she was pretty happy in there. She didn’t make any noise.”

The first “miracle” that Carrie suspects saved Galena was that Matt accidentally didn’t seal the box completely. So there was a hole for Galena to breathe.

The second “miracle” was that while Galena was trapped in the box, the weather was unseasonably cool. The poor cat probably spent hours in warehouses and parked trucks–with no water. So it’s remarkable that she survived.

A calico cat sits outdoors, the sun setting through a tree's leaves visible in the background.
Calico cat | Abdullah Oguk via Unsplash

The third and final “miracle” was who found Galena. The package traveled 650 miles to an Amazon facility in Riverside, California. When an employee opened it, they immediately called their boss. That boss was returns manager Hunter Brandy who loves cats and has fostered other rescues. Even though she was off duty, Brandy rushed into the warehouse with supplies to try and save the starving, dehydrated cat.

Brandy said, “She eventually warmed up to me and let me pet her…I could tell she belonged to someone by the way she was behaving, so I took her home that night.”

Though Brandy would have happily kept Galena, she did the responsible thing and checked the cat for a microchip. When she got the Clarks’ contact info, she called them right away. And without hesitating, the couple flew to California for a tearful reunion with Galena.

Carrie Clark said, “We literally had emotions of laughing hysterically to crying hysterically…They were so intense. It was just the strangest emotion feeling both of those at the same time.”

Next, read why a lost cat was found at a gas station 1,200 miles from home, or see Galena’s box and hear her story in the video below: