(CNN) — People bringing strange things on planes is nothing new. There were definitely some oddities in the suitcase that was checked in for the Nov. 16 trip from New York’s JFK Airport to Orlando, Florida. While going through the X-ray machine, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials were able to see bottles, wine glasses, a pair of flip-flops and a life-size cat.
Because the cat was a real cat, the outline became life-size: Ginger, alive, apparently unharmed after spending the last few hours in a suitcase, wandering around on the way to the plane. A plane, of course, you could easily die on a plane.
Agents who saw the footage and opened the suitcase to find the cat were “shocked,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told CNN.
Despite handling everything from unauthorized firearms to illegal cranberry sauce on a daily basis, “it’s rare to find a live animal in an inspected bag,” he said. Luckily the cat didn’t try to run away when the suitcase was opened.
We let the cat out of the bag. Our baggage screening officers were present at this catch @JFKairport “Come on meow”! Cats are our go-to friends when you have travel questions @AskTSA. They are available daily from 8am to 6pm (ET). pic.twitter.com/LpIkLbAgzC
—TSA (@TSA) November 22, 2022
The passenger, who was traveling on Delta Air Lines and was called to check in her luggage, told the TSA, “It’s not her cat, it belongs to someone else in her household,” Farbstein said. They opined that the cat on top of the luggage slipped into the case without even looking at the fur sticking out of the case between the zippers.
TSA is not involved in animal protection services, Farbstein said.
The passenger is believed to have missed his flight but rebooked the next day without the cat. Meanwhile, the cat—apparently named Smells—is unfazed by her escape. According to the New York PostIt seems to have tracked it down.
Do you (intentionally) travel with your cat? Farbstein recommends putting him in a pet carrier and testing him in a separate room so that when he is taken out for testing, he cannot escape. A search of the cat’s hand luggage can be carried out later.
If you’re not traveling with your cat, make sure they don’t join you on the trip.
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