Security staff at a New York City airport were recently shocked to discover a rather unusual item packed inside a passenger's luggage that had been checked in for a flight. Before the baggage was due to be loaded onto the aircraft at John F Kennedy International Airport, a security guard discovered a live cat inside the case after it had passed through an airport X-ray machine.
Taking to Twitter, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), shared a series of photos and called the find "hiss-toric". "We're letting the cat out of the bag on a hiss-toric find. This CATch had our baggage screening officers @JFKairport saying, "Come on meow"!" TSA wrote in the caption.
Take a look below:
We're letting the cat out of the bag on a hiss-toric find. This CATch had our baggage screening officers @JFKairport saying, “Come on meow”! Feline like you have travel questions reach out to our furiends @AskTSA. They're available every day, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ET). pic.twitter.com/LpIkLbAgzC— TSA (@TSA) November 22, 2022
According to NBC News, the orange feline's brush with potential tragedy was detected on November 16 when a bag was checked from JFK to Atlanta for a connecting flight to Florida. "The cat did not belong to the individual with the suitcase, it belonged to someone else in the household," TSA spokeswoman, Lisa Farbstein, told the outlet.
Authorities said that the cat climbed into the baggage without being noticed as the passenger packed, before being unwittingly zipped inside, taken to the aircraft and checked in. But fortunately, as soon as the X-ray machine saw the feline, the luggage was opened and the cat was rescued safe and sound, officials said.
Separately, Ms Farbstein also tweeted, "A @TSA officer was shocked to find an orange cat inside a checked bag at @JFKairport after it went through the X-ray unit. Traveler said the cat belonged to someone else in his household. On the bright side, the cat's out of the bag and safely back home."
A @TSA officer was shocked to find an orange cat inside a checked bag at @JFKairport after it went through the X-ray unit. Traveler said the cat belonged to someone else in his household. On the bright side, the cat's out of the bag and safely back home. pic.twitter.com/5XZVJLaZNm— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) November 22, 2022
Meanwhile, as per the outlet, Cornell University professor emeritus and animal behavioural expert Katherine Houpt explained the reason why cats in general climb into bags. "I think one reason is that it's like a cat bed. Cats like spaces with barriers around it. And presumably, it smells like the owner and I think they associate it with an impending loss. They might not necessarily want to prevent that owner from going, but perhaps at least they want to signal stress," she said.