Spice, the kitten from Albuquerque who mysteriously made her way to Maine, will be reunited with her owner Thursday.

Two staffers from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland will fly to New Mexico, feline in tow, to return Spice.

Southwest Airlines will pay for the flight, and Jonathan Ayers, the CEO of Idexx Laboratories, will pay for accommodations for the two Animal Refuge League employees once they arrive in New Mexico.

The cat’s owner, who has not been named, is “very excited” to be reunited with her pet, said Jeana Roth, community relations manager at the shelter. Roth and ARL’s executive director, Patsy Murphy, are making the trip with Spice.

The pink-nosed, pint-sized kitten was discovered inside a duffel bag outside the Catholic Charities Maine Thrift Store on St. John Street on Nov. 5, five days after it got out of its owner’s apartment on Halloween night. Bob Watterson was browsing at the store and discovered the bag when he helped someone unload some donated furniture. He brought the bag into the store, assuming it contained donated items, and noticed that the bag was moving. He unzipped it and Spice leapt out.

Watterson, who already had a cat and a dog, took the cross-country traveler home with him, but Spice wore out her welcome there after she used a bed as a litter box.

Spice was turned over to the animal shelter Nov. 11. A microchip was found between the cat’s shoulder blades, and her owner was contacted 2,300 miles away.

The cat remained in Maine while it was being treated for an upper respiratory infection.

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