Cat Arrives Frozen After Plane Ride

Breeder ships rare pregnant cat via airline. It arrives frozen and dead. According to the airline’s vet, the cat died from uterine toxicity from multiple dead kittens. Because the baggage handlers thawed, froze, and thawed the cat again, there’s no way for the breeder to prove that the cat died from being frozen. The airline has offered to refund the breeder’s ticket, but admits no culpability in the cat’s death.

Cat flown, arrives to new owner frozen [WPRI] (Thanks to bibliophilebullpen!)

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  1. Marshfield says:

    Sad. Very sad. We love our cats.

  2. TracyHamandEggs says:

    No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’!

  3. Marshfield says:

    First person to identify the actual airline wins a prize.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @Marshfield: And the airline wins two tickets — for my cats!

    • ekthesy says:

      @Marshfield:

      Got to be Continental, no? The airline sent the cat to a vet in Houston for autopsy.

      • scoosdad says:

        @ekthesy: Bingo. I’m going to make two assumptions that may or may not be correct– that the flight originated at TF Green Airport in RI, and ended up in Portland OR. If you look at lists of airlines serving each airport, Continental is one of a handful appearing on both lists and is the only airline on both lists with its headquarters in Houston. Why else would the cat be sent to a vet in Houston?

        But that brings up an interesting question which could shift part of the blame back on the breeder in RI– none of the airlines common to both airports fly nonstop RI to OR. Why would a reputable breeder put his valuable animal on anything other than a non-stop? That’s rule number one if you’re going to be flying an animal in the cargo hold instead of in the cabin. Too many chances for the animal to be delayed, misplaced, mis-shipped, or in this case, end up dead. What happens if the cat’s connecting flight gets cancelled? Who will take care of the animal’s needs until it can get back enroute?

        I will admit my assumptions could be totally off-base though if the breeder drove his cat an hour up the road to Logan in Boston for a nonstop to Oregon. But if he didn’t take that extra step to insure a non-stop flight for his cat, it just reinforces my gut feeling that there could be enough blame on both sides here.

    • quadrant6 says:

      @Marshfield: Lemme guess.. Catinental Airlines? US Hairways?

      eh.. tough crowd.

  4. ScottRose says:

    There aren’t enough details here to put me on one side or the other.

    On the one hand, the notion of “shipping” a pregnant cat just doesn’t sound like an idea that’s safe for the cat.

    On the other hand, the cat was in the airline’s care and it did freeze, even if the freezing didn’t necessarily kill it.

    Are baggage compartments usually a safe place for pets (I’m assuming it wasn’t the passenger compartment that froze)? I’ve never traveled with a pet, so I’m not sure what the SOP is for cats + airplanes.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      @ScottRose: I was of the impression that baggage compartments are not guaranteed to be safe. It’s a cold February, so it’s cold outside and really cold at 35,000 feet.

      As an example, Air Canada restricts and/or discourages putting pets in the baggage compartment during Winter. If the pet was supposed to be in a temperature-controlled baggage compartment, then the airline might be in trouble. But even then, “Air Canada will not be responsible in the event of loss, delay, injury, sickness or death of any pet or animal accepted for transportation.”

      So he may be SOL.

      • floraposte says:

        @Michael Belisle: There are two places that matter here, on the ground and in the sky. There are USDA guidelines for a low-temperature limit on the ground (at departure, arrival, or any stop in between), which is, I believe, 45F; a vet certificate can be obtained that will permit the animal to travel when the temperature goes lower than that. Cargo holds are heated various ways depending on the aircraft, but they are supposed to be heated. Obviously things can go wrong in both places, and if this really was a fairly recent shipment from Rhode Island, the departure was probably already below 45F. Plus the cat is being shipped alone, not traveling in cargo with an interested passenger above. So it’s a vulnerable position and time.

        On the other hand, I’m not clear how and therefore how reliably the shipper discovered/was informed that the animal arrived frozen (and do we mean literally frozen or just died of hypothermia?), and if I were the shipper, I’d be wanting a necropsy from my own vet.

      • MadameX says:

        @Michael Belisle: This is true. Most specifically recommend against transporting animals in the winter or very hot summer. I’ve seen at least one airline (Hawaiian, maybe?) that specifically states that they won’t accept cats or short nosed dogs (i.e. bulldogs or boxers) for transport in the baggage compartment because it’s too difficult for them to breathe there.

        I personally wouldn’t put my dogs through air travel under any circumstances. If I had to move them, they’d be trekking with me in the car.

    • cunninglinguine says:

      @ScottRose: Knowing how often my luggage has been damaged and/or lost, I refuse to put my pet into the baggage compartment. When I moved last year, I paid extra to bring my cat into the passenger compartment with me. It was worth it. I got tranquilizers from the vet beforehand, so he slept most of the way.

      • ninjapoodles says:

        @cunninglinguine:

        It normally costs less (it has for us, anyway) to carry a pet with you if you are a passenger than it does to ship one on its own in cargo. Just a flat fee in addition to your ticket price.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @ScottRose: “Are baggage compartments usually a safe place for pets”

      The short answer is no. Yes, you can safely ship a cat or dog in good health in the baggage compartment IF the weather is right. (And some breeds are not safe in the baggage compartment no matter what, due to small noses, etc., that make breathing at altitude difficult.) It’s not as safe, however, as carrying on the cat.

      Given that I paid $80 one way to carry on my FREE one-eyed mutt-cat, I *definitely* would have paid to carry on a $2500 purebred that was pregnant. Frankly at that price, I would have bought the plane ticket even if I did need to go where the cat was going and carried on the cat.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    A pox on breeders who ship animals. The whole business is inhumane, and no, I’m not some PETA fanatic.

    Adopt your next pet at your local shelter! Put these breeders out of business.

    • lalaland13 says:

      @ElizabethD: Yeah, I know some animals turn out OK, but I would have more respect for the guy if he didn’t ship them in the cargo bin. @ScottRose: They don’t seem very safe. Considering how hard it can be to get a seat on a plane and feel comfortable and safe, I can’t imagine how an animal in the cargo bin is going to feel.

      I just feel so awful for this poor cat. That must have been a terrible way to go.

    • lalaland13 says:

      @ElizabethD: I have one shelter and one rescue. They’re wonderful. I don’t like breeders, but I’m afraid they aren’t going away anytime soon. Down where I live, there’s a ton of “backyard breeders” who sit in the flatbed of a pickup at Wal-Mart and give away cats or dogs.

    • Alys Brangwin says:

      @ElizabethD: Exactly! Dog breeders and cat breeders are too alike. Some of them are responsible, but they are such a minority that supporting breeders is a bad idea.

    • cunninglinguine says:

      @ElizabethD: You can’t generally find rare breeds at your local shelter. Furthermore, I’ve found that many animals from a shelter have personality defects as a result of their experiences. Why would I want another neurotic pet? I’m not defending unprofessional breeders, obviously–but saying all breeders (“the whole business”) are inhumane is simply uninformed and asinine. I looked at several breeders before I bought my latest cat, and I rejected two outright because of the trashiness of their operation. But I found a breeder with a license who had a nice home and a good environment to raise the cats in. I paid more and was fine with it. I’ve never been happier with a pet.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @cunninglinguine: “You can’t generally find rare breeds at your local shelter. Furthermore, I’ve found that many animals from a shelter have personality defects as a result of their experiences. Why would I want another neurotic pet?”

        And yet many purebreds have been overbred to the point of neuroticism, health problems, and even viciousness. Whereas my last three cats have been rescues, and they have all been extremely sweet-tempered. All of them came with just one eye, too, so they didn’t have a good pre-shelter experience.

        I think you’re overstating the virtues of purebreds and overemphasizing the problems with shelters.

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @Eyebrows McGee: “All of them came with just one eye, too.”
          So couldn’t you get them together and, y’know, have them share two eyeballs every third day? Maybe use the extra eye as a reward for whichever of the other two who’s proven themselves best at Blind Man’s Bluff?

          (OK, I’m coming back as a fat, legless mouse for sure now)
          (And, yeah, it’d be rough getting them to share at first. But c’mon, not too much worse than giving them their first bath)

        • West Coast Secessionist says:

          @Eyebrows McGee: I <3 you for rescuing all the one-eyed kitties.

          My cat came directly from the mean streets. She was a kitten of a neighborhood cat whose owners refused to spay. We found her cold and hungry in the middle of winter and the rest is history.
          /end kitty story

      • dadelus says:

        @cunninglinguine: If you’re looking for a particular breed but don’t want to deal with breeders try a rescue group. I got my dog through rescue [www.shibarescue.org] and she has been the best dog I’ve ever had.

        Although I don’t knock the shelter either both of my cats came from shelters and they are both healthy and well mannered. It almost seems as thought their time on the streets made them appreciate having a home that much more.

      • ElizabethD says:

        @cunninglinguine:

        What a sweeping bunch of generalizations. We used to have purebred dogs, and I can tell you they were a lot more neurotic than the lovely mixed-breed dog we got at our local shelter 9 years ago. (She was one at the time.)

        I’m glad you found a good breeder. But in general I think people are overly fixated on breeds, breed standards, and pets as status symbol. A pet is a companion, not an accessory. IMHO

        • veronykah says:

          @ElizabethD: What KIND of purebred dogs did you have?
          Some breeds are more neurotic than others you know.
          Different breeds are bred for different things making them have different temperaments. Making it seem as though purebreds are inherently neurotic is a pretty sweeping generalization.
          A neurotic owner can make a neurotic dog out of pretty much any breed or mix.

          • DaoKaioshin says:

            @veronykah: shelters put down maladjusted dogs. breeders sell them off.

          • ElizabethD says:

            @veronykah:

            We had three German shorthaired pointers and two beagles. No, we do not hunt. One of our GSHPs was probably the smartest dog we’ve ever had, but also incredibly anxious and demanding. She was the one I (tsk) bought on sale at the mall pet store when no one had purchased her for Christmas. The others were rescues all. Our mutt is part beagle, part pit, and maybe some shepherd and/or boxer. She has a lovely, wants-to-please submissive temperament with people, including our granddaughter who has spent one weekday every week with us since age 3 months and is now 3 years old.

            I would love to have a GSHP again, but would only get one via rescue, given our ages. (Really not up for the housebreaking thing again!) But more likely I’d simply get another mutt at the same city shelter. $20 buys love.

            Many purebred dogs are over-inbred and have problems like hip dysplasia, deafness, skin conditions, and other issues. Others are lovely. So I’m not anti-purebred; just anti-puppy mill and anti breeders in geneeral, sorry to say. Until we find homes for the millions of animals that are euthanized in the US each week, I won’t be comfortable with buying a pet from a breeder.

        • bobloblawsblog says:

          @ElizabethD: @lalaland13: “A pet is a companion, not an accessory. IMHO”

          F YEA!

          seriously though… point is, there are cats and dogs put down every day b/c they dont have homes… and by supporting a breeder, thats one more cat or dog that you just killed :(

      • Bakkster_Man says:

        @cunninglinguine: Generally the difference is between breeders who love their dogs or cats, and those who are doing it to make a buck. The former tend to breed fewer animals and put more personal care. The latter run puppy farms where 50+ dogs might be kept in a small area and treated as a commodity. But there’s certainly caring breeders out there, along with the scumbags.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        @cunninglinguine: All three of my cats are rescues. All three are also well known among our friends for dispelling the myth of cats being unfriendly; as I type this, I’m sandwiched between two warm, cuddly, purring, non-neurotic cats. I can only hope my husband decides to feed them soon or I’ll be here until my legs go numb.

      • veronykah says:

        @cunninglinguine: Hm, really? I have a bull terrier I purchased from the ACC in Brooklyn NYC. By the comments I get daily, he is indeed a fairly RARE breed. I work with bull terrier rescue and pulled no less than 5 more bts from shelters.
        Behavior problems? I live with 3 dogs, 2 of which were adopted from shelters, one was purchased from a backyard breeder at 2 months [I think, he's the roomies dog]. Guess which one has ALL the behavior issues? The backyard breeder dog, aggression, fear, seizures….
        My dog is wonderful with kids, dogs, old people everything. The other rescue? She is the most laid back, tolerant amazing dog! Trying to get the roomie to make her a therapy dog.
        Not saying reputable breeders are bad, the notion that shelter dogs are broken or have something wrong with them is ridiculous. In my experience its actually the owners that had the problem, not the dog.

      • pop top says:

        @cunninglinguine: I know this has been addressed, but you really don’t know what you’re talking about regarding shelter animals.

        Breeders with licenses mean absolutely nothing. An USDA certificate just means that their facilities meet livestock requirements. An AKC-certified animal just means that its parents were of the same breed. It’s not hard at all to get AKC papers.

        If you are looking for a breeder, look for one that shows their animals, does regular health testing and genetic screening, and will let you tour their facilities and “meet” the animals.

        And if you think that because you paid more for your pet that it’s better than a shelter animal, you’re mistaken on that point too. Backyard breeders charge exorbitant amounts for their animals to make people think that they’re top-quality. They’re relying on the assumption some people have that things that are more expensive are automatically better. So people will put down $2000-$5000 on a “purebred” puppy when they could go to a rescue for that same breed and get a dog for less than $200.

  6. chatterboxwriting says:

    Kind of reminds me of the time Dwight froze Angela’s cat and it clawed its way through some frozen vegetables before freezing to death.

  7. ViperBorg says:

    Bad situation all around. Poor cat. :(

  8. Saboth says:

    This is why I would never fly my pet unless it could ride up with the humans. Who knows what the hell might happen to it. Heck, half the time I am shocked when my luggage shows up without a laser beam sawing it in half or a human finger attached to the tag.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @Saboth: “I am shocked when my luggage shows up without a laser beam sawing it in half”

      At least when one shows up cut in such a manner, you’d know exactly which was was a double-0 MIS agent.

  9. iblamehistory says:

    I think we’re supposed to believe that the magic airplane just automatically freezes things when they die inside the plane. Cat didn’t freeze to death; it died of… of… oh, i was pregnant? Dead kittens! Yes. It died of dead kittens. If that darn cat had just stayed alive, it wouldn’t have been a’ freezin’! We promise (please believe us)!

    Sad. I’d be so afraid to check my animals as cargo.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Some airlines have heated cargo compartments. I had a pure bred kitten shipped across the states to a small airport and it was a pain to find an airline that had heated compartments for animals.

    Shipping an animal in an unheated compartment in winter seems like a bad idea, if that is what happened.

  11. TheRedSeven says:

    “Rare pregnant cat”

    Pregnant cats are not rare. If they were, there’d be a lot less cats in our alley…

    Careful where you place your modifiers!

    /grammar-nazi

    • ArcanaJ says:

      @TheRedSeven: Wouldn’t that be a lot ‘fewer’ pregnant cats in your alley?

    • Vanilla5 says:

      @TheRedSeven: And that’d be “grammar nazi” – no hyphen because “grammar nazi” is not modifying anything.

      /proofreader & editor by trade

      • trujunglist says:

        @cunninglinguine:

        IMHO dogs/cats from shelters are much more stable and generally better pets than breeder dogs/cats, possibly BECAUSE of the experiences they may have been through. You don’t learn the way of the world by having it handed to you on a silver plate. Dogs/cats are thinking and learning animals.
        I’ve had breeder dogs/cats and I have to say that I loved my mutts far more! It’s kind of like how inbreeding fucks things up and “mismatching” ends up with the best genetic traits. It’s common sense that mutts are better animals and every single person who has dealt with both will probably tell you the same thing.

  12. downwithmonstercable says:

    Maybe I’m just a sick person, but am I the only one that laughed a little bit? Maybe it was just the way Ben wrote it that it sounded funny to me. Or that I picture Mr. Bigglesworth being frozen when they open up the cargo hatch.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      @downwithmonstercable: I know what you mean about wanting to laugh at sad situations because you’re reminded of a movie or TV scene. My pastor was recently asking for prayer for a family whose son had choked to death on a piece of chicken. All I could think about was the scene in Grumpy Old Men where Jacob suggests that his father go out on a date with someone, and Max said, “She’s dead. Choked to death on a stack of pancakes at the Lion’s Club breakfast two weeks ago.”

    • redkamel says:

      @downwithmonstercable: no, I laughed too.

      and in reference to chatterboxwriting’s story, I was thinking more of the whole “he died…choking…chickent” thing

  13. semanticantics says:

    I would never “ship” a pet. I don’t believe the cargo area is heated, at least not like the cabin. So if a plane has to sit on the tarmac for an hour getting de-iced in bad weather, it’s probably not good for pets.

    • ninjapoodles says:

      @semanticantics: There actually are valid reasons for shipping a pet via airline. Only very small dogs are allowed in the cabin. We have flown our showdogs on occasion, but only with airlines who offer “counter-to-counter” service, in which the animal waits indoors, with human staff, when not in flight, and never on the tarmac. I’ve flown on the same flights with my dog (me in the cabin, her in cargo) before, and I’ve witnessed that the animals are loaded at the very last minute prior to departure, and whisked off the plane immediately upon landing.

      Just saying that the simple act of flying a pet in cargo is not an automatic horror-show. My dogs have always come bouncing happily off the plane, tails wagging. But that’s no excuse not to exercise constant vigilance when making arrangements.

      • MrsLopsided says:

        @ninjapoodles:
        “My dogs have always come bouncing happily off the plane, tails wagging.”

        Who is your real friend? Try this test…
        Put your dog and your spouse in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you open the trunk, which one is happy to see you?

        • ninjapoodles says:

          @MrsLopsided: You’re right. I’ve ruined my poor dogs who have flown. I commented because I have some actual experience with the topic, but you win!

        • ninjapoodles says:

          @MrsLopsided: If I had a pet dog, who had never been crated, never been anywhere, then no, that is not an animal I’d want to put on a plane. But dogs who have logged a lot of miles showing or competing in performance events are much more stable in varied situations. I was just stating, for the record, that there ARE reasons to ship a pet that do not make the shipper an automatic horrible person. A pregnant animal? That’s not a choice I’d make. But a healthy, normally-conformed dog with a stable temperament? There are situations in which it’s a legitimate option.

  14. damnpoor says:

    Nothing should freeze in the cargo hold of an airplane. The entire airplane is pressurized and usually heated. That’s why your shampoo (back when you were allowed to fly with it) didn’t explode every time you flew somewhere. I can’t see any good reason why it would have gotten cold enough to freeze an animal.

  15. Joewithay says:

    Consumerist warned about this:
    [consumerist.com]

  16. RStui says:

    This story makes me nausous. What airline is it? I will never fly them again.

    • textilesdiva says:

      @RStui: What’s the airline got to do with this?

      • floraposte says:

        @textilesdiva: If the crew failed to turn on cargo area heat and then denied it, I’d consider it an airline issue.

        However, I don’t think there’s enough information to know that’s what happened.

        • textilesdiva says:

          @floraposte: Of course, that’d be irrelevant if someone had had the foresight to say “You know, maybe putting a cat in a plane’s hold in winter is not the best idea. I’ll have it driven down here, instead.”

          I feel like airlines ought not to even accept live cargo into the hold, but they do. It’s up to pet owners to not be stupid enough to use this option.

          • floraposte says:

            @textilesdiva: I’m inclined to agree with you, though there’s nothing special about the season, as the animal can freeze at 35,000 feet all year ound. However, I also think that if the airline failed to treat the cargo as advertised (and I’m not convinced that’s the case), it needs to handle the situation better.

            • textilesdiva says:

              @floraposte: It being winter is just the icing on the cake. If altitude (in addition to the other concerns) isn’t enough to convince you to not fly a pet, winter should be one more thing.

              And if you still have your pet flown? Uhm, I’ll be diplomatic and simply say that I hope this cat was a replacement for human offspring, and not in addition to wee ones of one’s own species.

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @RStui:

      Oh be melodramatic.

      You will fly with them. Again and again.

      Or you won’t.

      Either way, your flying on a different airline will not be caused by a frozen cat.

  17. prag says:

    I love kitties and this makes me very sad but when are people going to learn that throwing you pet in the cargo hold, in winter, is a really stupid idea. I mean, come on you dolt. I wouldn’t trust a camera or a blow dryer the baggage monkeys let alone my pet.

  18. McNugget911_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Sadly after seeing the picture, I was under the assumption that the cat survived and even a few sentences in expected the cat to be pronounced alive after the dumb airline vet thought it was dead.

  19. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    If the cat was so “rare” (Minskins, a cross between a Munchkin and a Sphynx, are only recognized by one cat breed association AFAIK as an official breed), why didn’t the owner care enough to wait for it to be safe to fly?
    Or pay for the cat to ride inside the plane?
    Or DRIVE TO PICK IT UP?

    People make me sick. Scuze me, gonna go live in the woods now, bai.

    • jsbeagle says:

      @h3llc4t:
      Maybe they charge per animal, and 1 pregnant cat is cheaper than 1 mommy cat and several kittens.

      They thought they were being smart.

      Now they have 0 kittens.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      @h3llc4t:

      …there’s not any time that’s “unsafe” to fly, granted that the pilot turns on the heater in the cargo bay – which he obviously didn’t.

  20. Nighthawke says:

    It should be the other way around; The airline cannot prove or disprove the cause of death due to the poor handling of the live cargo by the baggage crews.

    I don’t care if they are union, someone will be held accountable for that SNAFU.

    Call the ASPCA and let them deal with the clowns.

    • samurailynn says:

      @Nighthawke: I’m kind of wondering if it’s something along the lines of, the cat died from the toxicity from dead kittens, but the kittens died because it was too cold and they froze. I don’t know if the toxicity would show up and kill the mother cat that quickly though.

  21. Cocotte says:

    Actually, you can prove freezing -> thawing, as thawing frozen cells makes them burst (which is basically why cryogenics is a crock of shit). So they can prove that the cat froze and was thawed after by having some smart person with a microscope look at the tissue.

  22. conquestofbread says:

    Poor kitty. And kittens gestating inside said kitty.

    But I don’t really blame anybody except the breeder. There is enough information available out there to know it’s not a good idea.

  23. anachro882 says:

    I can has frozen cheezburger

    or

    I’m in ur catz uturas, toxifying wif my siblinz

  24. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    Uh oh, one of my own taken down. So sad. I’ve always been leery of people putting animals under airplanes for this exact reason. I can barely deal with the temperature in the cabin of an aircraft, let alone underneath.

  25. Yossarian says:

    Are they sure she isn’t just pining for the fjords?

  26. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I dated a long-time flight attendant for a couple years, and I know that there is a heater of some kind in the cargo compartment (or at least a portion of the cargo compartment). The pilot of the plane is supposed to know that there are live animals being shipped, and then he’s supposed to turn the heater on (it’s not on by default).

    She had told me about a parrot who had been shipped, only to arrive at the destination in pretty bad shape from the cold, because no one turned on the heater. By the time the owner got to a CS representative, the bird had warmed up and seemed normal – so the CS rep basically shrugged and told him to bugger off.

    But from what I understand, it is clearly the airline’s fault for not having the heater on in the cargo bay.

    …and I also am not ever shipping an animal in an airplane’s cargo hold anyway.

  27. MrsLopsided says:

    I was baggage handler in Canada in winter and saw many pets shipped in cold weather.

    Cargo holds are heated and pressurized. If they weren’t pressurized then the passenger compartment floor would collapse. Holds typically have heated air pumped in or residual heat from circulating air. There is no heat barrier between the passenger & cargo compartments.
    They may get cool but not cold enough to freeze. Have your toiletries every exploded because they froze?

    If frozen most likely the cat was left out on the tarmac in Rhode Island or at a connecting airport. The airline is still responsible for due care.

    You may love your pet but from a legal/liability viewpoint they are just insured (or uninsured) baggage.

  28. Michael John Szabo says:

    Silly Question, but what temperature are the Baggage Compartments on an airplane? Is it possible that they are at ~30 degrees? If it were hypothetically ~30 degrees, A healthy dog/cat is capable of going outside in the winter without freezing to death. However if the animal did die of natural causes it would quickly freeze.

    Having never shipped a dog/cat I never assumed luggage compartments are heated.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Yet another reason why people should not buy pets from breeders or pet stores, they are treated as nothing more than cargo. There are plenty of beautiful, healthy, and lovable animals in shelters waiting for a home.

  30. Corporate_guy says:

    You would think the airline would be begging to settle. It really doesn’t matter if the cat died of natural causes. Cat started off alive and arrived frozen. Any non freezing method of death was probably induced from the extreme cold.

  31. SacraBos says:

    “According to the airline’s vet, …”

    Yeah, that’s going to be an unbiased diagnosis.

    Schroedingers cat at the airline – until you look in the box, you can’t tell if it will be frozen or thawed.

  32. bohemian says:

    Please don’t put animals in the cargo hold of a plane, even if the airlines allows it.

  33. Rebecca Brown says:

    This makes me very sad, no matter who’s at fault. Poor cat. Whether she froze or died of toxicity, neither is a pleasant way to go.

  34. Alexander says:

    It’s a breeder. He doesn’t care about the cat, just about the lost business. Sucks.

  35. Easton21 says:

    Oh well. It’s a cat. Life goes on.
    Lesson? Don’t ship a pregnant freaking cat. Oh, also, get a life.

  36. tvmute says:

    And what if I ship my pet penguin? The airline better make damn sure the cargo hold is freezing.

  37. Repique says:

    It’s funny that the moment you mention a breeder, people blame them.

    Imagine that someone was trying to ship some expensive medicine that couldn’t be kept at below-freezing temperatures. The airline said that sure, they could do that, stowed it in the cargo hold, never turned on the heat… then when it arrived ruined, claimed it wasn’t their fault, but they were more than happy to refund the actual cost of shipping, just not apologize or compensate the owner for the loss of the actual medicine.

    Would people then be so quick to say, “well, it was just the fault of the shipper for not knowing that the temperature was so unreliable”? Obviously most of us do know that, and it wasn’t a good idea to do this, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the airline being willing to book the cat into cargo meant that the airline was saying that cargo was a suitable place for a cat to be, and therefore it’s their responsibility to ensure that this is true.

    • ZekeSulastin says:

      @Repique: Thank you, voice of logic.

    • sarahq says:

      @Repique: I’d suggest that your expensive medicine is rather different from a living, animate creature. Unless it’s a very strange medicine indeed.

      That, at least, seems to be the source of the emotion many commenters are demonstrating.

  38. dougp26364 says:

    Of course it’s not the airlines fault. It’s never the airlines fault. You can hand them a perfectly good piece of luggage, brand new even, and they can rip it to shreds, punch holes in it or do whatever those baggage handlers do to luggage and it’s never their fault. As far as their concerned just be glad they got you to your destination without landing the plane in the Hudson or on some poor persons house.

  39. SadhviAcestes says:

    If the cat actually died from being frozen (I mean frozen solid), it would have cell damage from ice crystals puncturing its cell walls.

  40. cubsd says:

    The important thing to point out to the airline is THE CAT WAS FROZEN! It doesn’t matter if the cat died of natural causes before it froze, it would have died anyway because the airline froze it!

  41. mannyv says:

    How exactly did the baggage handlers “thaw, freeze, and thaw” the cat? Was there a 10-hour stopover somewhere, and some baggage guy noticed a dead cat in the hold and threw it into the breakroom freezer?

  42. MrsLopsided says:

    The Minskin is a short haired cat that loses heat fast.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    [www.pictures-of-cats.org]
    “The name is derived from Min (miniature legs) and skin (a coat that is almost like skin).
    The coat is interesting. It feels like cashmere and has a sheen like satin. The coat is thin and sparse with fur point extremities. The cat therefore feels warm to touch (like the Sphynx). Sphynx cats lose heat faster than haired cats and the same probably goes for this breed. You can expect therefore that this cat eats a lot to make up for the heat loss.”

  43. downwithmonstercable says:

    haha…I was wondering when the lolcat stuff was going to come into play.

  44. Ryan Orman says:

    so if you freeze something it doesnt die? what do we live in mortal kombat now?

  45. mswoozie says:

    my hubs is baggage handler for an airline… says this happens more than you think. there are 2 compartments below the plane, one is heated. the heaters are frequently broken.

    never never never would i check anything alive, or my baggage frankly… his stories are just too scary

  46. t0ph says:

    Limecat is not pleased.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I work for a trucking company that ships refrigerated items. One time we had a cat sneak onto a trailer while being loaded and the reefer temp was set for -10°F. 5 days later, the driver is at the delivery point, and while unloading, the cat jumps out of the trailer! Somehow that cat managed to survive being in a freezing cold trailer for 5 days. The receiver at the warehouse ended up adopting the cat :)

  48. cametall says:

    I’d never ship an animal. Lots of them suffocate.

  49. littlemisslondon says:

    This is why a lot of airlines, like Air Canada, have winter travel restrictions as to when pets can and can’t fly on certain routes or at all. To avoid things like this.

    I flew my cat in the cargo hold from England to Canada when I moved here – it was literally my only option, as no airlines that fly that route allow pets in the cabin in a transatlantic flight, and I didn’t want to, you know, give her away. We were lucky that nothing happened to her. But I’d NEVER have flown her cargo during the winter!

  50. TecmoTech says:

    Poor cat.

    BUT

    Adopt one from the pound, there are many available!

    Breeder’s should be tossed in prison.

  51. trujunglist says:

    What kind of moron would allow their pet to fly in the cargo hold, especially an extremely rare and pregnant cat?

    oh wait, he’s a fucking breeder. no wonder.

  52. Satanicat says:

    “but admits no culpability in the cat’s death.”

    So freezing it, thawing it, and freezing it again somehow makes them not responsible for the death?

    I know, from now on, if you want to avoid any responsibility for something, just freeze it a few times so you can no longer find the “actual” cause of death, then you can avoid any payment detriments.

    I think this is BS, and regardless of how the cat had died, the airliner should be paying for the grief and cost of a new rare cat, pregnant or not.

    Rare, heh, I feel like I’m talking about some item in WoW here.

  53. HogwartsAlum says:

    Poor little kitty! :'(

  54. linoth says:

    Rare, expensive cat. Pregnant with rare, expensive kittens. Shipped as baggage.

    Yeah, dude is stupid. Personification of “this is why we can’t have nice things.”

    I don’t care if the airline is found guilty or not. This was gross negligance by the owner, and he’s trying to escape responsibility.

  55. Anonymous says:

    This is so sad and disgusting. Sad that that breeder chose to put a pregnant animal on a plane when several sources clearly advice against it:

    http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/objectId/9D7B6272-6049-4929-9816F017ADADAED3/104/284/294/FAQ/

    Though not really surprising since pet breeders are often extremely unethical. (I agree with the poster above, put these people out of business and adopt a homeless pet at your local shelter).

    And also sad that airlines don’t offer better ways for animals to travel. If you are flying somewhere and your pet is tiny, you can have it as a “carry on”. But there’s no alternative for larger animals (like dogs over 15 lbs.) to travel. They’re treated the same as baggage, flown in the cargo hold which is not temperature-controlled or pressurized. In the best of circumstances, the experience is terrifying and stressful for the animal. In the worst of circumstances, see above. This cat is not the first animal to have died after being handled like baggage.

    This website details a number of animals who died or were lost while in transit by air.

    http://www.petflight.com/pet-incidents/list

  56. Angel Askins says:

    I want to know who the vet was in Houston that declared the cat dead from dead kittens. Don’t go to that VET!

  57. pollyannacowgirl says:

    I don’t get why people have to travel on planes with their animals anyways. Unless they’re seeing-eye dogs.

    If you go on vacation, get a pet-sitter. It’s traumatic for the animals.

    And some people have serious allergies. My husband and I had a terrible flight because someone had a cat under his seat and he’s terribly allergic. The airline did some shuffling around so the cat was moved, but it was only halfway through the flight before we realized why he was wheezing and having trouble breathing and itching.

  58. Anonymous says:

    I purchased a Sphynx and had her delivered via airplane.. never, ever again. That cat was terrified when we picked her up. This is such a heartbreaking story.

    Although, I will admit an internal chuckle when I saw the cat in the video was a sphynx.. since Mr. Bigglesworth in Austin Powers loses his hair during their cryogenic freezing process.

  59. kaptainkk says:

    Blm th rln? Nh. r thr nt ngh hmlss nmls n shltrs tht nd gd hms? Slfsh brdrs. Bsds t ws nly ct.

  60. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Folks, just a reminder. Piling on the consumer is not appropriate. Constructive suggestions or civil criticism is permitted; comments like ‘this guy makes me sick’ are not OK.

  61. Thunderdome says:

    My gf used to work at the biggest animal shelter in the US (kudos if you can figure out where), and she’s told me so many horror stories about how they have to sleep animals daily because they just don’t have space for ‘em…and they’re the biggest shelter in the country!

    Breeders are scum. I don’t care what their purpose is. For every dog/cat they breed, they’re killing a shelter animal. In a lot of cases, they’re also inbreeding, which jacks up the bloodlines and results in those crazy purebreeds we all hear about. There’s simply no excuse for breeding animals when the dog/cat populations over overpopulated as is.

  62. jswilson64 says:

    Does Best Buy have an airline?

  63. broncobiker says:

    Remember though, to the ones who are citing the cats stay in the baggage area before takeoff, or on the tarmac: cats have fur they can survive cold temperatures.

    I mean, my cats go outside in the winter…and they have the last couple days too, (I’m in New Hampshire) they are fine…so unless the cat was exposed for a trememndous amount of time, (or maybe its a hairless cat…?), I don’t see the problem.

    Would a pregnant cat not be able to keep its babies warm enough?

  64. fatcop says:

    MMMMMMMMMMMM Catcicle.

    Now I’m hungry :-(

  65. vladthepaler says:

    Almost as reprehensible: not naming the airline. How are people supposed to avoid dishonest companies if the media won’t identify them?

    (Not Consumerist’s fault; it’s not in the original article.)

  66. formatc says:

    @cunninglinguine: Neurotic pets match my personality better.

  67. Rosasharn says:

    If the cat was pregnant then she was obviously not an “it.”

  68. TVGenius says:

    @iblamehistory: That’s what’s confusing me about this. If it died of uterine toxicity, wouldn’t the kittens have to be dead for longer than the airline had possession of the cat (in theory)? It sounds to me like the cat died of the infection and then was frozen by the airline to transport the body.

    Either way, the guy is an idiot for shipping a cat as baggage in winter from Rhode Island to Oregon. I’m sure the cat was nice and warm in a plastic carrier outside in 10-degree weather waiting to be loaded and unloaded from the plane.

  69. shadowkahn says:

    there’s plenty of details for me to be on one side – namely that of pet owner education. Never, ever, ship a pet. Ever. Assuming the airline doesn’t screw up and stick it in the non-pressurized, non-heated baggage hold the pet will be banged around by the baggage handlers, left alone and scared in a dark, noisy room that bumps around constantly (if you didn’t know you were flying, and it was dark and loud, and you had the IQ of a cat, you’d be scared out of your mind in there). Dogs and cats don’t chew gum, and don’t know the “yawn as the plane climbs” trick, so there might even be some pain involved.

    It’s just a bad idea all around. If you have to move a pet across country, it’s time to get out the car.

  70. MrEvil says:

    Going through each breed club affiliated with the AKC all of them I’ve looked at have an official rescue group. So if you REALLY desire that designer dog you can rescue one that needs a good home.

    Something about mixed breed dogs though, they usually have ‘hybrid vigor’ so they do end up living longer and healthier lives due to a more diverse gene pool. My mom has two dogs she rescued, both mutts, and they are 11 years old. But you really wouldn’t know by how much energy they have and how healthy they look. Apart from the hair on their muzzles turning grey both dogs still act like pups.

  71. GirlCat says:

    I don’t want to hate on this guy, but for God’s sake, when will people stop “shipping” their pets by air? When we needed to get our cat across the country, we DROVE. Yes, much, much slower than flying, yet also not exactly the leisurely cross-country road trip we’d have liked, but the result: a live, mostly untraumatized cat. Sometimes you make sacrifices and do inconvenient things for the comfort/safety of living creatures you love or at least value.

  72. Stream Of Consciousness says:

    This is sad…poor kitties!! I have a soft spot for animals, especially cats. :(

  73. pop top says:

    @MrEvil: “Hybrid vigor” is a term made up by backyard breeders to help legitimize the practice of combining breeds of dogs to come up with something that has a cute name but is bred for no real purpose or use (Yorkipoos, Chipoos, Labradoodles, Puggles etc.).

    Not that there’s anything wrong with a mutt, but I’d rather not see BYBs’ crappy arguments get passed around the Internet as “fact”.

  74. vanillakokakola says:

    Both of my dogs are from breeders (responsible breeders, one with only a few dogs in her breeding program, one avid breeder who participates in dog shows who had around 15 dogs), and if they are shipped PROPERLY, they are a) placed in a special cargo hold for pets and b) the breeder should refuse to ship them if the temperature will be low enough to even have the slightest possibility of this happening.

    It is the breeder’s responsibility to ship the animal under safe conditions. And I am so tired of people who get their dogs from (responsible) breeders getting crucified because they were, in my case, looking for particular traits in a dog breed that are difficult to find in the shelter or rescue, and wanted a puppy, not a dog, which is a personal choice that I completely have the right to make.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I am a Persian cat breeder. I do it to improve the breed, and I enjoy showing my cats as well. It’s a hobby. My cats are my pets. i have shipped cats cross country. Cargo areas are heated and pressurized, and no cat of mine has ever been injured. If that cat arrived frozen, then the heat in the cargo hold failed, and the airline is responsible. It has nothing to do with it being winter or summer. At the heights that the planes fly, it is always below zero.

  76. Urgleglurk says:

    Ummmm….I suspect this is an Urban Legend. I heard this story told several times while I worked in the airline industry….