When Carrie Clark got a phone call on April 17 from a veterinarian in California informing her that her cat, which had vanished from her Utah home a week earlier, had been found some 500 miles away, her first reaction was disbelief.

“I could not believe that it was true,” Ms. Clark said in an interview on Sunday night. “I told her: I think this is a prank.”

It wasn’t. Galena, her 6-year-old American shorthair, had sneaked inside a 3-by-3-foot cardboard Amazon returns package alongside five pairs of steel-toed boots. Then the cat was transported two states away to one of the company’s warehouses, where it was discovered by Amazon employees.

Galena survived the unexpected journey without any food or water, Ms. Clark said.

Despite her ordeal, Galena was in relatively good health with no issues apart from mild dehydration, Ms. Clark said. Two factors had helped: One seam on the box had come unglued, allowing oxygen to circulate, and mild weather kept Galena from overheating or freezing.

“It’s really a miracle that she was able to survive,” Ms. Clark said.

Ms. Clark said she thought that Galena got into the box while her husband was packing it, by jumping inside when he left to fetch some tape to seal it up.

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