'We’re letting the cat out of the bag': TSA finds orange tabby in checked luggage at JFK Airport

Officials spotted ginger hair poking out from the suitcase’s zipper, which had been checked in for the flight

'We’re letting the cat out of the bag': TSA finds orange tabby in checked luggage at JFK Airport
A TSA agent at JFK airport discovered a cat stuffed inside checked luggage at New York's JFK Airport (Twitter/TSA and Getty Images)
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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee in New York City at John F Kennedy International Airport discovered a live cat trapped inside a checked bag; thankfully, the animal was safely evacuated, authorities said Tuesday, November 22.

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Authorities state that the orange cat came dangerously close to disaster on November 16 when the suitcase was checked from JFK to Atlanta for a connecting flight to Melbourne Orlando International Airport in Florida. TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said in a statement that the agent was "shocked" to find fur in the checked-in and X-rayed luggage. "Traveler said the cat belonged to someone else in his household," Farbstein stated. Ginger hair tufts could be easily identified in the black suitcase between the spaces of the red zipper's undone pulls in the picture that was accompanied by a tweet by TSA. 

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Farbstein confirmed that the cat who is named Smells was out of the suitcase and safely returned to her home. The owner of Smells claimed that her cat must have snuck into the home guest's bag while she was away at work. She didn't know the orange tabby was gone until she got a ring from an airport official.

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TSA's tweet read, "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)."

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Alix, a 37-year-old Brooklyn resident whose last name has been kept out of concern for her privacy, told the New York Post that "An officer called and asked if I wanted to press charges" against her guest. She said, "He wanted to know if there was any reason he was trying to steal my cat and go to Florida."

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Authorities were prepared to label Alix's guest as a catnaper and add him to the No Fly list, but she assured them that it was just an accident. "Our cats really like to check out bags and boxes and apparently one of them climbed into his suitcase. It was just an accident," Alix told the authorities.

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When the call from the airport official came in, Alix's fiancé rushed to JFK to save the distressed cat, only to find the cat to be completely unaffected by the experience. "I was worried he'd be freaked out but he wasn't even meowing on the way back. I went to give him some extra treats and he acted like nothing had happened," Alix said.

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