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X-ray machine finds live cat inside checked bag at JFK airport 

Authorities believe the cat got into the suitcase when it was open without the person traveling seeing it

Suitcases at airport
Maletas en el aeropuerto | Vietnam Stock Images / Shutterstock

November 23, 2022 7:45am

Updated: November 23, 2022 12:33pm

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport found a live cat trapped inside a checked luggage, authorities said on Tuesday. 

The orange cat was found on November 16, after a customer checked the bag from JFK to Atlanta for a connecting flight to Melbourne Orlando International Airport in Florida, officials said. 

 "We're letting the cat out of the bag on a hiss-toric find," the TSA said in a Facebook post. “This CATch had our baggage screening officers @JFKairport saying, ‘Come on meow’!”

"The cat did not belong to the individual with the suitcase, it belonged to someone else in the household," TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told NBC News.

Upon noticing the feline, TSA agents took the luggage aside and safely rescued the cat. 

Authorities believe the cat got into the suitcase when it was open without the person traveling seeing it, Farbstein added. Cats are known to like open suitcases, experts say.

"I think one reason is that it's like a cat bed. Cats like spaces with barriers around it," Cornell University professor emeritus and animal behavioral expert Katherine Houpt said.

"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."