Ovie the cat may have a new home in Miami, Florida, but Royal Caribbean now faces question about how the feline stowaway came to be on board Ovation of the Seas on her way to Sydney.
The line’s President Michael Bayley sparked the debate after revealed a picture of the well-travelled moggie on his Facebook page.
He revealed that biosecurity officers in New Zealand found the feline when Ovation of the Seas was travelling from Hawaii to Sydney.
He said Royal Caribbean Cruises the line “believes” a guest smuggled the pet onto the ship.
“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,” Bayley announced on Facebook.
Knowing how tough Australian and New Zealand authorities can be on smuggled cats – remember the Jonny Depp‘s dog Mooh caused a legal drama eight years ago which sparked this bizarre apology – the cat was kept on board and was “supposed to be euthanised”.
According to reports in the New York Post, biosecurity officials investigated how the cat managed to get on the boat, as well as making sure the animal was quarantined and free of any potential diseases.
Unlike some other lines, Royal Caribbean bans pets unless they are service dogs.
The line says: “Royal Caribbean International welcomes service dogs on all ships. Please note we do not accept pets. A service dog is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”
The cat was adopted by a crew member and kept in a guest room.
Royal Caribbean took the cat, now named Ovie, back to the US after it was quarantined.
“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.
Bayley’s post has, howoever, sparked questions with cruisers asking who the owner was, and why the cat wasn’t detected as the owner boarded Ovation of the Seas.
Scott Sanfilippo asked on Facebook: “How does one smuggles a car on the ship. Bags go through Xray?”
Lisa Patterson, however, said: “ A good choice for the kitty and for Royal Caribbean. While Royal certainly would be within its rights to put the cat down, it was the best decision for the cat that did nothing wrong and also for Royal PR. Poor cat. It’s the former owners that should be punished for their actions. Good choice, Michael Bayley!”