WESTBROOK, Maine — A New Mexico woman’s missing kitten has been located in Westbrook. Exactly how the kitten made the 2,300-mile trip remains a mystery.

The 6-month-old kitten is named Spice, and she has quite a story.

“Spice arrived to us on Nov. 11 in a very mysterious way,” Jeana Roth of the Animal Refuge League said.

Just days before Spice showed up at the Animal Refuge League, she was found by someone working at a thrift shop on Saint John Street.

“A gentleman was assisting the delivery of a donation and found a duffel bag outside of the store, brought it inside and it started moving,” Roth said. “Spice was inside. She had cat food and cat litter in there, so whoever left her there, left her with some necessities.”

It’s not unusual for stray or abandoned cats to turn up at the animal shelter, but it’s what happened next that makes Spice’s story hard to believe.

“When Spice arrived here, we do a normal intake process, which includes scanning her for a microchip,” Roth said. “And luckily Spice has a microchip inside of her, which linked her to her owner, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”

Somehow, Spice made it all the way from New Mexico to Maine.

“It’s a mystery,” Roth said. “She went missing Halloween night from her owner in Albuquerque, and how she ended up in Portland, Maine five days later is a mystery to us.”

The shelter has talked to Spice’s owner, who says Spice slipped out the door on Halloween night and she never thought she’d see her again. The owner is thrilled with the news, but she’s not sure what to do next.

“She does want her cat back. Unfortunately she doesn’t have the financial means to send Spice across the country home,” Roth said.

However, the shelter says the CEO of Idexx has offered to cover the cost of flying Spice and a travel companion back to New Mexico.

In the meantime, Spice is a bouncing, cheerful, healthy kitten and a walking advertisement for the microchip.

“This is a really important lesson to our community that micro chipping your animal is the fastest way to reunite them if they get lost,” Roth said.

A spokeswoman for Idexx says the CEO is waiting to make sure Spice is given a clean bill of health before sending her back home. It is estimated that Spice will be reunited with her owner in New Mexico on Dec 5.