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Cat facing euthanasia after being smuggled onto cruise gets a second chance at life, thanks to ship crew

When an unsuspecting kitty was found onboard Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas cruise, it was decided by federal authorities to euthanize it.

Cat facing euthanasia after being smuggled onto cruise gets a second chance at life, thanks to ship crew
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Michael Bayley

We often read about many cases where animals are illegally smuggled overseas. Even if they are caught, these poor animals face an uncertain fate. A cat named Ovie wouldn't have survived its illegal journey aboard a cruise ship if it wasn't lucky enough to find a forever home. The unsuspecting cat was discovered by the crew of Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas cruise ship on November 18, 2023. The staff suspected the feline was smuggled onboard the ship by a guest.

Image Source: An aerial image of Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas sitting empty of passengers in Sydney Harbour on March 21, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Image Source: An aerial image of Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, sitting empty of passengers in Sydney Harbour on March 21 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

The CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, shared a Facebook post detailing the cat on the cruise ship that has made stops in Australia and New Zealand. "We believe that it was in the guest's sweatshirt, and we assume he must have been sedated or something," Bayley spoke about Ovie on social media. The cat would have gone unnoticed if it hadn't been spotted by several crew members and the case was "reported to New Zealand authorities per their bio-security protocols," as per Royal Caribbean's statement to PEOPLE.



 

"Royal Caribbean worked with local authorities and the guest to see if the cat could be legally brought into the country," the statement continued. "Unfortunately, due to federal regulations, this was not possible." Bayler further wrote on his Facebook post that the cat wasn't detected at the security check by metal detectors for obvious reasons. Ovie was not allowed off the ship in Australia or New Zealand by authorities and was about to be euthanized.

However, the cruise's guest service team stepped in to see what they could do with the feline and after a lot of hassle, Ovie traveled halfway around the world and got adopted by a guest service team member with whom the kitty is starting a new life in Miami. According to Royal Caribbean International's guidelines, service dogs can be brought to ships, but the company does "not accept pets" onboard.

Image Source: At the length of 348 m (1,142 ft) and gross tonnage of 168,666, it's the world's fourth-biggest cruise ship, and the largest to visit Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Image Source: At the length of 348 m (1,142 ft) and gross tonnage of 168,666, it's the world's fourth-biggest cruise ship and the largest to visit Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

As per their website, they mentioned a service dog is the on who is trained to perform tasks for the advantage of a person with a disability. Nevertheless, they are not considered pets. Moreover, service dog care and supervision is the sole duty of the owner. Also, the team on ships will not provide food or care for the dog.

People from the Facebook community who came across Bayley's post shared their mixed reactions to the cat finding a forever home after facing euthanasia due to the acts of an irresponsible guest on the ship. Stephanie Scott commented, "So is it normal practice to euthanize animals they don't want in their country? Because that's pretty messed up. Imagine if that was done to humans as well. I don't care what the reason is, but taking a life because of a bureaucratic mess is unconscionable. Pathetic. Glad the cruise ship crew managed to save him."

Image Source: Royal Carribbean cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas returns to Sydney on December 16, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Image Source: Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas returns to Sydney on December 16, 2019, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Amanda Kirk wrote, "I hope the real owner takes legal action to get their cat back. This was not a stray cat; it had an owner. The owner may have broken a rule by bringing the cat on board, but that does not give anyone the right to steal their cat. That is unconscionable." Bob Addicks added, "So we’ve been accepting and understanding of all of the cuts in quality and service since Covid, yes Royal is still recouping from millions in debt, so how do we rationalize thousands of dollars to repatriate a cat? We have and love our cats, but we don’t expect others to pay for them or for mistakes we’ve made." However, Ovie is safe and sound in its new home.



 

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