Stowing cat in checked luggage ‘not the recommended way’ to travel, airport says

Stowing cat in checked luggage ‘not the recommended way’ to travel, airport says

This is “not the recommended way” to travel with your pet, an airport official said — and that’s putting it nicely.

Olivia Sari and Nicholas M. Larrison, both 21, were flying from Erie, Pa., to Tampa, Fla., on New Year’s Day, the Erie Times-News reports. The couple was on their way home to North Port, Fla., between Tampa and Fort Myers, after the holidays.

As Sari and Larrison’s checked baggage was going through security in Erie, though, Transportation Security Administration officials were alerted to something out of the ordinary.

When TSA officers investigated the luggage further, they let the cat out of the bag — literally: Tucked away inside the couple’s checked luggage was Slim, their 6-month-old pet. The feline was stowed with clothes and other travel essentials, TSA officials said.

What wasn’t in the bag? Air, water and food, according to airport officials.

The couple faces animal cruelty charges and possible fines in Pennsylvania, the Times-News reports. They also had to fly back to Florida without their cat, which the airport confiscated.

“While this could have been extremely dangerous for the cat, Slim is just fine and is currently under the care of the Humane Society,” TSA spokesman Mike England wrote on Twitter.

Local airport officials said they have never seen anything like it.

“Twenty-eight years I’ve been here. I’ve seen some unique things. I’ve been involved in plenty of unique things. This is a first,” Ian Bogle, the airport’s director of public safety and facilities, told the Erie Times-News.