Since May, Florida’s Robin Wiesneth has been vacationing in Alaska alongside her husband, Charles, and 5-year-old cat, Tucker; but on Aug. 5, their picturesque vacation turned into a nightmare when the couple was involved in a fatal collision with a pickup truck on the Kenai Spur Highway. Although the Wiesneth’s walked away from the accident unscathed, two people were killed, and Tucker disappeared.
Tucker, a 10-pound black-and-white male had been dozing in his cat bed on Wiesneth’s lap when the motor home they were traveling in collided with a pickup truck that had crossed the center divider lines and hit them head on, causing their windshield to explode outwards.
“There’s every chance that the cat was ejected,” Wiesneth said to the Peninsula Clarion. “He had a little round cat bed, and that was in my lap … and I had my arms around him, and I had my safety belt on of course. And as it happened, obviously everything goes forward.”
Although ejection is a possibility, Wiesneth is not convinced. Rather, she believes that Tucker escaped to the shoulder of the highway, and has taken up residence elsewhere – a belief that has her extending her Alaska vacation indefinitely, even as her husband packs up to return home to Florida.
“We searched every possible place in the coach, and of course through the wreckage,” Wiesneth said. “The fire department did an excellent job. As soon as they got us out of the vehicle safely, two fire officers went back into the coach and started looking in every possible place. They had a very long time to search through all the debris, and there was no cat, and there was no evidence of any injury.”
Tucker, a housecat, is on unfamiliar terrain, and timid in disposition, rendering him unlikely to approach strangers, but Wiesneth is keeping her hopes up that someone has spotted him. Reaching out to local veterinarians and shelters, Wiesneth is going full-force in her search – papering the residential streets of Kenai with posters of Tucker, returning to the scene of the accident, searching the surrounding area with volunteers, and extending a $500 reward for his safe return.
“He is a family member,” Wiesneth said. “Five hundred dollars is nothing for me to get him back.”
So far, she has had one response from a resident who thought they had found Tucker; sadly, it wasn’t him, but residents are still trying. Linda Price-Albers saw the accident from her home, and has her family on watch for any sign of Tucker – noting that there are many feline-friendly hiding spots in the surrounding area.
“I was just thinking of all the places that a kitty would hide, because they get frightened,” Price-Albers said. “It might be a little while before it might even come out. If it comes this way, we would surely keep an eye out for it.”