DUBLIN -- Ponyo, a 2-year-old cat that calls Dublin home, decided to gamble one of her nine lives last week and head to a Nevada casino.
On Aug. 27, it's thought (Ponyo isn't talking) the cat curled up in a neighbors' car trunk for perhaps a little rest and relaxation. Instead, it found itself on a 220-mile journey to Reno, where the family was traveling to spend some vacation time at Circus Circus.
Ponyo was first spotted by parking valet attendant Mitch Whelan around 4:50 p.m., crouched under a Chevrolet Tahoe, according to Yvette Monet, a spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International.
Once the Tahoe lurched forward, however, the cat darted out from under the moving car and shot across the parking lot to find a safe haven under a bench near the attendant's desk, Monet said.
Whelan and one of the resort's security officers, Miles Anderson, cornered the frightened feline and called Washoe County Animal Control.
Despite the heat, Ponyo appeared to be in "pretty good shape," Monet added.
Once animal control arrived, the officer checked to see if Ponyo had a microchip. Thankfully, the cat was able to be traced all the way back to Dublin, and Ponyo's unsuspecting owner, Devon Hayzlett, was notified her pet was missing but safe. She and her husband drove the 440-mile round trip to Reno to rescue the wayward cat.
Hayzlett could not be reached for comment, but according to the Associated Press, Hayzlett said she and her husband
Tim Finnegan of the Washoe County Animal Control said it is not unusual for animals to suddenly find themselves far from home.
"It is not uncommon for a cat to (travel)," said Finnegan. "It's typical for them to just climb into a truck and end up going 20 miles across town. When we find them, we definitely scratch our heads and wonder how they got all that way." Ponyo was safely returned to the Hayzlett family the following day, and Finnegan said that was due in large part to microchipping.
He said without a microchip, it is often hard to return cats to families because they tend to wander and spend time with multiple families.
"Cats do cheat on you," he said. "They may sleep in your bed, but they were also sleeping on someone else's couch earlier that afternoon, too."
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.
what is a microchip?
A microchip is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin of a dog, cat, horse, parrot or other animal. The chip, about the size of a large grain of rice, uses passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. Shelter staff or a veterinarian can implant the chip, and when the owner completes the necessary pet and contact information, the animal can be found virtually anywhere through the use of a special computer scanner.