Squeek the cat roars into big adventure

Di Bawden with her dog Chewey. Inset: Squeek is now living it up in Melbourne.        
Picture: David Baylis  d452651
Di Bawden with her dog Chewey. Inset: Squeek is now living it up in Melbourne.         Picture: David Baylis d452651

Squeek the black cat survived 10 days locked in a sea container with no food or water and temperatures above 40 degrees.

His story began at Brookleigh Equestrian Estate, where he lived with owner Di Bawden, two dogs and many horses.

He was given to Ms Bawden by a friend, who found Squeek and his twin sister Squawk abandoned.

Squawk did not make it, sadly, but Squeek grew stronger and became a great worker, helping to keep the mouse population on the property under control.

Ms Bawden decided to move to another property just 2km away, taking Squeek and Chewey the dog with her.

“I moved to Copley Road and leased a property off owner Quona Cooke,” she said.

“Squeek wasn’t so sure about his new place and since it was literally a couple of kilometres along the river, he returned to the farmhouse a couple of times before he finally accepted that Copley Road was his home.”

Ms Cooke, meanwhile, was preparing to move to her new property in Melbourne.

She had hired three sea containers to pack all her horse gear in, much to the curiosity of Squeek.

Once everything was packed, the containers began the 2700km journey to Melbourne by train.

“It was quite common for Squeek not to come home every night,” Ms Bawden said.

“But usually he would turn up every second or at least every third day.

“So after four days I began searching for him, thinking he may have headed back to the farmhouse again because there’d been so much loud noise while the sea containers were being packed up.”

After five days of no Squeek, Ms Bawden decided to check a storage room in one of the barns.

She used a bolt-cutter to open the door, as the key had been taken to Melbourne, but there was still no sign of Squeek.

In Melbourne, meanwhile, after a couple of days of temperatures over 40 degrees, Ms Cooke was looking for a ladder in one of the containers that had arrived a few days earlier.

As she opened the doors to the jam-packed container, there appeared a little black face.

Ms Cooke quickly got on the phone to tell Ms Bawden the good news.

“Squeek had been without food or water for 10 days and he was still alive,” she said.

“He had survived being lifted by a crane, trucked, trained, trucked and then some of the hottest days of summer, and still had the strength to run and hide in amongst the panels and rubber where Quona couldn’t reach him.”

In true Squeek style, he had decided he was not ready to part with the sea container.

It took Ms Cooke three weeks of leaving food and water at the doorway until finally Squeek decided he had had enough of his temporary home.

Ms Cooke quickly grabbed Squeek and put him into a ‘cat-proof’ building, with food, water, pats and a soft blanket to sleep on.

He was very happy to see people by this stage and was all purrs and cuddles.

“All Quona and I had to do next was wait for someone we knew travelling from Melbourne to Perth to take Squeek with them,” she said.

“A couple of friends were driving back towing horses from Victoria, but a three-day trip in a car with a yowling cat was too much to ask and poor Squeek didn’t really like car travel much at all.”

When a friend was flying back from Melbourne in mid-March, plans were made to book Squeek on the flight.

However, it turned out that the pet transport company did not operate on that day as it was a public holiday.

“Quona kept reassuring me Squeek was fine,” Ms Bawden said.

“He was comfortable with her dogs and he was looking sleek and shiny.

“So eventually I said to her ‘why don’t you keep him there?’.

“If he is happy, I am happy.”

Ms Bawden said Ms Cooke’s only reluctance about keeping Squeek was feeling a little like she had stolen him, but it was Squeek’s curious nature that had led him to hitch a ride to the other side of Australia.

Squeek is now happily living in Melbourne on a new horse property with his new doggy friends and new owner.