(CNN) – People take weird things on planes – this is nothing new. And the bag that was checked on JFK’s flight from New York to Orlando, Florida, on November 16th certainly contained some abnormalities. As it passed through the X-ray machine, TSA officials were able to see what appeared to be bottles, wine glasses, and a pair of slippers — and the life-size outline of a cat.
It turns out the outline was life-size because the cat was an actual cat: Ginger, alive and apparently unharmed from the last few hours of being stuffed into a bag and dumped on the way to the plane. An airplane could of course easily have died during flight.
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told CNN that officers who saw the photo, then opened the case to find the cat, were “shocked.”
The staff found the cat alive.
Although they deal daily with everything from unauthorized firearms to illicit cranberry sauce, “it’s rare to find a live animal in a checked bag,” she says. Fortunately, the cat didn’t try to escape when they opened the bag.
Farbstein said the passenger, who was flying Delta Air Lines, was called to come over and explain his luggage, telling TSA that “it wasn’t his cat — it belonged to someone else in the house.” They suggested that the cat—which was on top of the luggage, and even had its fur sticking out of the bag between the zippers—entered the bag unseen.
Farbstein said the TSA did not include animal welfare.
Do you (intentionally) travel with your cat? Farbstein advises putting him in a pet carrier and asking that he be examined in a special room, so that he cannot escape when he is taken out for examination. A cat bag search can then be done.
And if you’re not traveling with your cat, make sure she doesn’t join you on the trip.
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