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Cat in a bag

September 2012

It's generally regarded as a bad idea to let the cat out of the bag, but not so much when you look at it from the point of view of the cat. Letting the cat out of the bag - well actually a suitcase - would have been deeply appreciated by 14 month old Bob-bob, who is probably a much wiser cat after his 10-hour ordeal in close confinement.

The adventure started in his hometown of Circleville, Ohio, in the USA. Ethel Maze, Bob-bob’s human owns a residential care home for disabled veterans. Every year her family and a group of veterans go to Florida on a vacation. This year Ethel packed her suitcase the night before (hanging around with ex-military types tends to make one organized). But as always happens on this sort of trip, there is something she needed to add at the last moment. So early Monday morning Ethel opened her suitcase and Bob-bob- who had evidently never heard of the saying 'curiosity killed the cat' climbed in without anyone noticing.

The flight was at 7am, a time of the day when few people are at their most alert. Certainly not the young man who helped to load the luggage. He did admit afterwards that he thought that the suitcase was 'moving a bit', but decided that he was imagining it.

But the suitcase was indeed moving, powered by the desperate efforts of one scared kitten trying to get out. The moving bag also went unnoticed by the officials at the Port Columbus International Airport, even though they ran the bag through the airport's X-ray machine. Asked about this later, airport officials explained that their security system is better at detecting bombs than accidental feline flyers. 'Our machines are very sensitive to picking up explosives and other threats to aviation' said TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz. Clearly, Bob-bob was no threat.

So unnoticed by everyone, Bob-bob went for a two hour flight with the other suitcases in the cargo hold of the plane. But landing in Florida did not end the the ordeal of this little traveller. Ethel's group arrived at their hotel in Orlando at 10 am, but could only check in at 2.30 in the afternoon.

So it was ten hours after accidently packing her cat that Ethel eventually got to her hotel room and opened her suitcase. She immediately saw that something was wrong - probably from the disorder in the suitcase and because she had not packed any clothing that included black fur. Bob-bob was a bit lethargic and dehydrated, and very, very scared but otherwise he was unharmed.

The group were staying in Orlando for a couple of days but an emergency trip to a local pet store soon provided supplies for Bob-bob. He is safe back home now. His return journey was made in a somewhat more comfortable conditions inside the plane cabin with his humans for company. The old English proverb goes ‘The cat has nine lives - three for playing, three for straying, and three for staying.’ You can’t help feeling that Bob-bob is down to two on the 'straying' count ….



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