Stowaway Cat! 5 Grannies Unknowingly Take Kitty on 700-Kilometre Adventure!
A cat in a bag | Photo Cred: Blog Tyrant | Flickr

A Burmese kitty named Kooks hitched a ride from Rondebosch to St Francis Bay… 700 kilometres away and the 5 grannies who were going on holiday, had no ‘kooking’ clue!


Western Cape, South Africa (24 March 2022) – This is the incredible story of a beautiful Burmese kitty named Kooks. A resident of Rondebosch, Kooks became an accidental tourist on holiday in St Francis Bay. She gave everyone involved grey hairs. But they all lived to tell the ‘tail’.

Scene set: Five Rondebosch Grannies are all set for a week on the coast to enjoy the sea, sun, sand, peace and each other’s company. One Granny shared the tail timeline.

Sunday 13th March

This Granny rode the Cape Town Cycle Tour – relevant because she’d switched on Bluetooth in order to download Strava (a mobile app for cyclists and runners) on her phone. By chance, she didn’t turn it off.

Monday 14th March

6.40 am: Grannies leave Mulvihal Rd, Rondebosch, in a Land Rover Discovery 5. We make five pit stops:

  1. Peregrine Farm Stall – for coffee
  2. Riversonderend – for breakfast and more coffee
  3. Engen near Mossel Bay – a real pit stop
  4. Knysna Fruit and Veg – for provisions and lunch
  5. Blue Bottle Liquor Store St Francis Bay – for liquid refreshments

5.00 pm: We arrive at Beauvallon Rd, holiday destination

Tuesday 15th March

08.21 am: Phone checking, we see on the Mulvihal Rd WhatsApp group that a Burmese kitty named Kooks has been missing from her home in Jamieson Rd since Saturday – and amazingly was now in St Francis Bay. Kitty lovers all, we are, needless to say, very concerned. We make a call to Kooks’s distraught ‘mother’, Celeste, to offer our help, seeing as we too are in St Francis Bay.

Kooks before she went missing | Photo Cred: Supplied

Celeste explains that Kooks collar mounted tracking device had started moving at 6.40 am on Monday and… how weird is this… stopped at all the above mentioned Granny stops and appears finally to have stopped at the Blue Bottle Liquor Store!! With sinking hearts, it dawned that us Grannies were, in fact, the catnappers!

And so the interrogation and flagellation begins.

How did a tiny little creature such as she manage 700 km under a vehicle weighing several tons, at what must have been frightening speeds? Had we really brought someone else’s precious kit on holiday with us – unbeknown? How is it possible that Kooks hadn’t left the vehicle on any one of our many stops – even in need of a pit stop herself? What were we thinking! Could this warrant a criminal record?!

Controlling rising panic, we drive quickly to Humansdorp to have the Land Rover jacked up for under-carriage inspection. Great collective Granny relief as no stowaway cat, dead or alive, was to be seen – though a clue to note is the comfortable little, barely visible nook where a kit could just have hidden herself away. And wait – was that a cat hair… or two?

Now on the tail trail, we walk the streets around the Blue Bottle Store, eyes peeled and systematically scanning. We share the story with some incredulous residents – all of them helpful, concerned, and very soon a cat scanning search party is mobilised.

Wednesday 16th March

After a fretful night’s sleep, the new day sees the Grannies back buzzing around the Blue Bottle, asking anyone and everyone if they’d seen a kit called Kooks. Some, perhaps to appease this strange collection of cat women, say they thought they might have seen her – but no definite sightings, no paw tracks to follow.

We’d been told that Kooks is shy and doesn’t meow much – not helpful for our quest – and that she’s a deep chocolate brown – ideal for hiding in dark places. In addition, the Blue Bottle Store environs are bushy – impenetrable for even the most gung-ho Grannies. All the while, Kook-mama Celeste is being diligently and daily updated on developments by one Granny’s tracker-friendly son-of-a-gun Duncan – and amazingly, she remains optimistic and convinced that the Grannies would deliver her prized fur-baby intact. To say this was turning into an emotional roller coaster holiday for said Grannies would be to understate the case.

Thursday 17th March

Another day, another plan. Reasoning that the wise travellin’ cat had probably not alighted at the Blue Bottle at all – but had opted to end her journey at the house – with us. Thus we pick a new search location close to where we are staying – high five to the unfailingly helpful residents – who may secretly have felt our cause was already lost – like the kit.

Clever cat that she is – it’s much quieter around these parts. We imagine how hungry and thirsty she must be and think to lure her with food and water. A cat whisperer advises against this as their plan is to tempt her into a cat trap. This is set up with her preferred food, as recommended by Mama Celeste – but, sadly, no luck.

Friday 18th March

It soon becomes evident from the tracking device that she is on our property or very nearby. We are advised to give her a wide berth – this is however not a problem as we have no idea of her exact location anyway.

Come midday, the phone rings, and a desperate Mama Celeste declares that she can’t stand it any longer and has booked a flight to Port Elizabeth from where she would drive through to the Bay and find Kooks herself. As promised, on the stroke of 8 pm at night, a wide-eyed and determined Celeste arrives at our door – torch at the ready. She steps out into the dark – and soon spots – could it be, a pair of shining eyes! At the sound of her name, from the voice of her cherished owner, sure enough, Kooks comes running. Within half an hour, Celeste is back, Kooks nestled into her jacket – both of them tired but thrilled to be reunited.

Celeste Perry with Kooks after they found her | Photo Cred: Supplied

There was much elation – and relief, especially amongst the Granny brigade – as Kooks tucked into a very welcome supper, as did her owner. The purrfect pair overnighted in peace and unity at the i-Lollo Lodge before heading back to Cape Town – by car – with Kooks on the inside this time – and we suspect rather fewer pit stops.

There may not be much of a moral to this story, but lessons are:

  • Make sure your kit has a tracker – and
  • Never go on holiday without checking the underbelly of your car.

The very best of this story is that it has a happy ending. By the way… the Grannies had an eventful holiday week – and an especially happy last day.

Sources: Written by Nancy Richards | Submitted by Celeste Perry 
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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