Working as a Transportation Security Administration agent generally sucks, but every once in a while agents come across something worth posting to the often hilarious TSA social media accounts.
The unnamed traveler was flying out of New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport on November 16, but when his checked bag made it to the screening process alarms alerted agents to a strange stowaway.
“The bag was opened by a TSA officer, who was shocked to see a live orange cat inside,” Farbstein wrote in an email. TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told the Washington Post. Of course, it was an orange cat. Orange is the color of pure feline chaos.
The passenger told the TSA he had no idea the cat decided to come along for his trip. The cat wasn’t even his but belong to another member of his household (sure, sure, he was holding it for a friend. We’ve all heard the excuse.) TSA alerted Delta that the traveler needed to come collect the cat. The furry stowaway ended up going home, and the passenger missed his flight in order to handle the feline interloper. He was able to rebook for the next day, sans chat.
It’s a good thing the cat was caught when it was: Baggage handlers don’t exactly treat luggage with the greatest of care when tossing it into the belly of the plane and, while the baggage compartment is pressurized, it’s not climate controlled and can become very cold. It’s not even a guarantee that your pet is safe even in the fuselage.
It’s also not a good idea to send living things through the powerful X-Ray machine used by the TSA to check baggage. From the TSA, which explains its pet traveling advice from the perspective of said pet:
Don’t put me into the X-ray tunnel. Seriously, that’s not fun for me. Take me out, place my EMPTY travel carrier on the belt, and leave my X-rays to the vet.
This isn’t the first time a furry friend has attempt to accompany their humans on their journey, as the Washington Post tells it:
This was not the first time in recent years that a pet nearly found its way onto a flight, unknown to its owners. In October 2021, Kristi and Jared Owens were checking their baggage at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Texas when the Southwest Airlines ticket agent informed them the bag was overweight.
When the couple opened the bag to repack and avoid a fee, they were shocked to discover Icky, their 5-pound chihuahua, tucked into one of Jared’s cowboy boots.
“It was just surreal,” Kristi told The Washington Post at the time. “Are we really seeing our dog in our suitcase right now? Is this happening?”
This kitty made it home safe, which is great and all but I definitely wanted to see it on the TSA’s yearly review of all the strangest things they’ve confiscated during screenings. Maybe they could have put the little kitty to work checking IDs and telling inexperienced travelers to take off their shoes.