Biosecurity officers in New Zealand got a surprise when they discovered a cat aboard a cruise ship travelling from Hawaii to Sydney.
The feline was found on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas earlier this month and could have been euthanised if not for the diligent crew, NY Post reports.
Royal Caribbean Cruises president and CEO Michael Bayley put out a statement saying they “believe” a guest smuggled the pet onto the cruise.
“Meet Ovie! The cat smuggled on-board Ovation of the Seas by a guest! We believe that it was in the guest’s sweatshirt and we assume he must have been sedated or something and he wouldn’t beep, since Ovie isn’t metal,” Mr Bayley announced on Facebook.
He added the cat “was not allowed off the ship” in Australia or New Zealand by authorities after the nearly three-week voyage from Hawaii to Sydney, and that the pet “was supposed to be euthanized!”
Biosecurity agents from New Zealand found Ovie in a guest’s cabin, but Royal Caribbean International declined to identify the traveller.
Inspections are mandatory for cruise lines that enter foreign countries to make sure such contraband as plants, fruits, animals and other hazards are not present.
Biosecurity agents were tasked with investigating how the cat managed to get on the boat, as well as making sure the animal was quarantined and free of any potential diseases, TravelPulse reported.
Unless a pet is an “emotional support animal or service dog,” no pets are allowed on board any Royal Caribbean Cruises, according to the company’s policy.
According to Mr Bayley, Royal Caribbean International safely transported the small feline back to the US after being quarantined and Ovie is now living with a new family in Miami after being adopted by a crew member.
“Our Guest service team stepped up to the plate and after several weeks and much back and forth safely brought Ovie halfway around the world to be adopted by one of the guest service team members in Miami. Ovie is now happily living in Miami,” Mr Bayley said.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has yet to confirm how the cat was able to get past cruise security before eventually making it onto the boat.