When a California Navy reservist prepared to leave Iraq, he knew the kitten he’d cared for might not make it without him.
Brad VanCleave greeted Mr. Meowgi at the Los Angeles International Airport last week, after the cat traveled across the globe to live with the veteran, CBS Los Angeles reports. The Navy reservist had cared for the kitten, who earned his name because of his chattiness, while working as a contractor at the Baghdad International Airport.
It was there that he saw a baby kitten pop his head out from one of the shipping containers. He began feeding the tiny cat and his mom. When the little kitten’s mom abandoned him, VanCleave’s responsibility for Mr. Meowgi grew, as did his love for the kitten.
“Every morning we would pull up and he would run out from his little shelter and just meow his head off,” he told CBS Los Angeles. “It’s kind of a neat little feeling to know when you arrive on a worksite and here comes this meowing little baby to chase after you.”
When it came time to return home, VanCleave felt compelled to bring the cat, too.
“I knew that if I left him there and didn’t bring him back the chance of him being alive when I went back would be pretty slim,” he told CBS Los Angeles.
The journey home occurred with help from SPCA International and Operation Baghdad Pups, a group that connects returning U.S. troops with the animals they’ve helped during their service.
The route they planned for Mr. Meowgi went from Iraq to Germany to New York to Los Angeles. And now, after the long journey, the little cat with the loud voice has a home in a safe environment. Mission accomplished.