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Help! Meow! Traveller packs cat in suitcase

January 15, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The striking photo below of a cat peering out of a suitcase, the animal having been packed by its owner into checked airline baggage, together with jeans, shoes and clothing, tells a disturbing story – but in this case one with a happy ending.

America’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in charge of airport bag screening in the US, says one of its officers found a cat packed inside checked luggage at Pennsylvania’s Erie International Airport.

The adult tortoiseshell cat, named Slim, was curled up in a pile of clothes inside the bag.

“While this could have been extremely dangerous for the 6-month old cat, Slim is just fine and is currently residing under the care of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania,” the TSA wrote on Instagram.

The TSA has used the incident to publicise the correct way to convey cats on flights – which is not to pack them in luggage. It’s not the first time such a thing has occurred.

Cats should be conveyed in special carriers, which are carried in the cabin of the aircraft, not in the hold. They do not need to go through the screening X-ray.

“We do not X-ray pets,” the TSA assures travellers. “However, there have been many occasions where passengers have assumed their pet needed to go through the X-ray. You can imagine the surprise of the X-ray operator when they see Fluffy’s skeleton roll across their monitor. It is not an unusual occurrence.

“Your pet will need to come out of its carrier, so it is a good idea to know how your pet will react. Many a cat has gone into a feline frenzy after being removed from its carrier. An angry cat is never a good thing.”

The US is highly attuned to animals travelling on planes. There has been speculation that Slim’s owner may not have wanted to pay for the cat to fly in the cabin. It’s not cheap, apparently.

“Still, poor kitty,” one reader commented.

Written by Peter Needham

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