A stowaway cat had snuck into a man's suitcase at JFK Airport, TSA said.
TSA discovered the cat in an X-ray image, after staff noticed the outline of the animal.
The cat, who did not belong to the passenger, was unharmed.
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer was shocked to find something unusual — and alive — in a man's suitcase at JFK Airport.
On November 16, TSA officers noticed the outline of a cat in an X-ray image during the screen of a passenger's suitcase, spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told The Washington Post.
"A @TSA officer was shocked to find an orange cat inside a checked bag at @JFKairport after it went through the X-ray unit," Farbstein wrote in a Twitter post on November 22.
Farbstein said in the post that the cat, which was a stowaway, belonged to another person in the passenger's household, and that the animal was "safely back home."
A photo posted by Farbstein showed the cat's rust-colored fur peeking from the zipper of the suitcase.
—Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) November 22, 2022
TSA agents then proceeded to contact Delta, the airline that the passenger was slated to fly on, Farbstein said in the Washington Post report. The passenger was bound for Orlando, Florida.
Farbstein added that the passenger missed his flight but was able to book a trip for the following day.
TSA posted several photos of the incident on Twitter on November 23. One photo of the X-ray image showed a glowing red outline of the cat, and several of the passenger's belongings, which included wine glasses and bottles, as well as flip flops.
Another photo showed the agent opening the suitcase, with the cat curled up inside of it.
—TSA (@TSA) November 22, 2022
According to TSA's official website, pets should not be placed into the X-ray tunnel and screened.
Animal stowaways discovered in suitcases are not as uncommon as some might think.
In 2021, a Southwest employee found a pet chihuahua inside a couple's suitcase at a Texas airport, Insider reported. The employee opened the suitcase and discovered the dog sleeping in one of the couple's cowboy boots.
TSA declined to comment. Delta did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
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