Cat sneaks into check-in luggage, only discovered during X-ray scan at New York airport

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A Transport Security Administration (TSA) agent was in for a furry surprise when he noticed the outline of a cat in a suitcase.

An X-ray scan discovered a stowaway cat inside a checked bag at New York’s JFK airport, reported NBC News.

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).

— TSA (@TSA) November 22, 2022

The agent spotted the cat inside the bag on Nov. 16 and got it out of the luggage, stopping it from being transported into the aircraft luggage hold.

Lisa Farbstein, a spokesperson for TSA, wrote in a tweet that the agent was “shocked” to find the orange cat in the bag.

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.

— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) November 22, 2022

In a bigger twist, it turned out that the cat did not belong to the traveller with the suitcase, Farbstein told NBC News.

New York Post tracked down the owner, who guessed that the cat, named “Smells”, must have crawled into their house guest’s bag while she was at work.

The owners, Alex and Alix, have been posting about the experience on Instagram and even created a highlight titled “Smells and TSA”.

One of the stories posted was a video of Smells attempting to climb into another suitcase, proving that this is expected behaviour from the cat.

Photo from Instagram/@alexaugustalex

Owner Alix wrote on an Instagram story about Smell’s adventure.

Photo from Instagram/@_alix

While the traveller did miss his original flight in order for Smells to return home, he was able to rebook a flight for the next day, according to Now This’s tweet.

While it is common for TSA agents to find some bizarre or prohibited items in traveller’s luggage, it is “rare to discover a live animal in a checked bag”, Farbstein told CNN.

Smells is apparently back with his owners, unharmed and unbothered by the experience.

Top photos from Twitter/TSA and Instagram/@alexaugustalex