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Cat Survives Rough, 400-Mile Journey Clinging to Semi-Truck's Undercarriage

by Jana Ritter - Published: 3/07/2017

Paul Robertson is a 57-year-old long haul semi-driver from Minnesota who cures his lonely hours on the road by taking along his beloved feline traveling companion, Percy. But a few weeks ago, everything went south when Paul was struck with a bout of food poisoning in the midst of a long haul delivery job. He had pulled over at a rest area in Ohio and went to sleep hoping it would help him recover enough to finish the trip. But while Robertson was fast sleep, Percy decided he wanted to go on his own adventure and stepped on the power switch to open the window, then jumped out.

                                                           Cat survives 400 miles under truck

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When Robertson awoke and discovered what had happened, he immediately began searching the area for his furry friend. He also tried to lure Percy back to the truck by putting out his food, litter box and a pair of dirty socks. Still, there was no sign of the cat and Robertson realized he may have already ventured far beyond the rest stop. So the truck driver turned to the Facebook community with a heartfelt plea for help. "When Percy got out, his words spoke so deeply to all of us, especially ones that have been in that position of losing a beloved pet," said Teresa Schutz Esler, who is a close friend of the truck driver. "It might just be him and his kitty in the truck hauling down the road day after day, but when he logs onto Facebook, they have an entire extended family online, new and old, looking forward to hearing about their day's adventure."

                                                           Truck driver Paul Robertson and Percy the cat

The Facebook community sprung into action, sharing the post, offering prayers and tips, some people putting out calls to nearby animal shelters and creating a Go Fund Me page to help raise money for a reward. One person who lived in the area even drove out to the rest stop to help Robertson continue the search through rain and lightning. But after nearly 24 hours of searching and still no sign of Percy, Robertson realized he needed to get back on the road. A winter storm was moving in and he still had to make his delivery deadline. "I felt hollow and low and terrible," recalls Robertson. "But I couldn't be days late because my cat went missing."

                                                          Percy the cat

Robertson says that driving those next 400 miles was the worst stretch he’s ever endured in his six years of truck driving. “Snow, rain and crappy old dirt roads ... potholes, puddles, you name it,” he describes. When he finally reached his destination in Shoals, Indiana, Robertson unhitched the trailer and drove the tractor to the parking lot to sign the paperwork. Then he suddenly spotted what he thought was a stray cat running out from underneath the truck. He walked closer to get a better look and couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Percy. Very dirty, very scared but very much alive. Robertson realized that the cat had been clinging to the undercarriage of the 18-wheeler through the 400 miles of snow and rain at highway speeds. By some miracle Percy had survived. Robertson quickly shared the good news about the joyous reunion on Facebook:

CALL OFF THE SEARCH!!! PERCY IS OKAY!!! :-) <3

“He was cold and miserable and a bit wide-eyed...he stinks like 400 miles of bad road and old truck ... but somehow this amazing animal rode with me all day today hanging onto the undercarriage! …

Aside from needing a warm bath, medication for an eye infection and Percy proof window switches, the truck driver and his co-pilot have since resumed their life and adventures on the road together. And with such an unlikely twist and happy ending, Robertson's story has since gone viral. 

"This is the feel-good story of 2017," he smiles.


Trucking Unlimited
Trucking Unlimited
Tammy Ann Arnett
Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson
Great story! I found a cat one evening many years crying for help behind the 12ft high fence that lines the service plaza in Damian, CT. I was finally able to get him under the fence the next morning at 5:00a.m. Figuring he was local and much too early to call the number on his collar, I took him with me, knowing I was coming back later that evening and could get him to his owner then. I made the call at 7:00a.m. And, to my utter surprise, and his owner, RVers from Colorado, who were visiting friends in the Boston area, had stopped in the Hartford area a week previous, and he got out then, which they didn't discover until later that day! Over 70 miles from where they stopped to where I picked him up a week later! I met them at a pull-off area near Boston to give him back. They were all very happy. :-)
Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson
...many years AGO... :-)
Trucking Unlimited
Trucking Unlimited
Yours is great story as well! That must have meant the world to those people when you called them to say you had their cat!
James Collier Jr.
James Collier Jr.
Great, heartwarming story, but it begs the question -- Pre-trip inspection? *raises eyebrow*
Trucking Unlimited
Trucking Unlimited
No kidding - haha.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
I have two kitties that were raised in a semi
Trucking Unlimited
Trucking Unlimited
Seems like there are a lot of cat loving truck drivers : )
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Ken Lines
Ken Lines
Used to truck with my dog. Much easier with cats they can use a litter box it saves time at not having to stop to let them out to potty. At the time I ran nonstop with two log books there was no time to make extra stops. What's funny is I was hauling for PetSmart.
Stacey Bredow
Stacey Bredow

Stacey Bredow
Stacey Bredow
I have 2 also.
Jose Oyervides
Jose Oyervides
Awww that is a lovely story I'm glad that found his pet and his friend.
Harold Buller
Harold Buller
I found a chicken roosting on the pump of my tractor at a truck stop once
Richard Lewis
Richard Lewis
Even tho her last name isn't Lewis. We know the Lewis blood runs thru her
Stacey Bredow
Stacey Bredow
I cover my switches so my babies don't accidentally get out. Having them loose somewhere is the most horrifying thought.
Susan Traweek Allen
Susan Traweek Allen
Oh I Great he did😻☀️🐱👍🏻
Ivan Machmueller
Ivan Machmueller
What a great heartfelt story
Jeff Webb
Jeff Webb
Morris?
Johnny Schuett
Johnny Schuett
Happy to know the kitty got his home back
Carl Morse
Carl Morse
Awesome that cat is never leaving his sight
Charles Marsh
Charles Marsh
Glad it worked out ok.
Sally Wuestenberg
Sally Wuestenberg
Wonderful story.
Rodney Hoskinson
Rodney Hoskinson
That's a big 10/4. Rubber duck
Stacey Bredow
Stacey Bredow

John Hamby
John Hamby
Great looks happy now
Mickey Kubelka
Mickey Kubelka
Awesome
James Brown
James Brown
Cool
Brian Surratt
Brian Surratt
Jenna Surratt JustJenny Quigg
Ivan Machmueller
Ivan Machmueller
Julie Alibrando
Paul Stone
Paul Stone
Lisa A. Kelley
Kenneth Roberson
Kenneth Roberson
Gary Roberson
Eldon Arnold
Eldon Arnold
Poor cat
Darryk Cromwell
Darryk Cromwell
I bet it smells just lovely inside that truck.....
Kerry Norm Brobst
Kerry Norm Brobst
There's always one jackass and you get the honor 🖕🏻🖕🏻
Darryk Cromwell
Darryk Cromwell
Kerry Norm Brobst Ummm GO fuck yourself...
Braxton Anders
Braxton Anders
Danyelle Brooke Bosworth