Hairless Kitten Freezes To Death After Trip In Delta Cargo Hold

Snickers, an eleven-week-old hairless kitten, flew from from a breeder in Utah to her new home in Connecticut in the supposedly climate-controlled cargo hold of a Delta Airlines plane. Her new family paid the airline $70 extra so she would be removed immediately. Instead, she sat under the plane for about 50 minutes, on a 10 degree Fahrenheit evening. When she finally met her family, she showed symptoms of severe hypothermia. They tried to warm her up and rushed to a vet, but it was too late.

A Delta spokeswoman told the Associated Press, “Regardless of the cause, we understand the impact the loss of an animal can have on a pet owner. We are turning our attention now to offering our condolences and discussing how we can provide some kind of restitution to support her during this time.”

The heartbroken adopter of the kitten wrote to a USA Today pet blogger, who described the difficult lesson learned from this situation.

She didn’t know one very important detail until she talked to the vet after the kitten died. He told her “climate control” basically ends after a plane lands. So if the animals sits on the runway for any length of time, it’s going to get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It was 7 degrees, she says, when the kitten was sitting on the runway. She sat outside 50 minutes.

A final determination of the cat’s cause of death will come from the necropsy, but Snickers was cold, unable to move her head or paws, and bleeding from her mouth and nose–all symptoms of severe hypothermia in a cat.

“I feel so guilty. We sat there for nearly an hour,” the new owner told the Associated Press. “If I’d known, I would have thrown a fit. We just sat there. We had no idea she was dying.”

Kitten dies after flying in cargo hold [Boston Globe/AP] (Thanks, Rob!)
Kitten dies after chilly flight in cargo [USA Today]

RELATED:
My Dog Died Under Delta’s Care, And Airline Blows Me Off
Dog That Escaped From Delta Flight Found Dead
Seven Puppies Die After American Airlines Flight

Comments

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  1. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Delta hates pets, this is the only explanation.

    Poor Snickers. :(

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      It’s ridiculous that I’m tearing up here, but I am. I love my (safe, warm) cats.

    • you-toe-pee-an says:

      Seriously! I mean, you see the related stories, and both the Delta stories are in the past year. “Resitution”? Really, Delta? “Yes we’ll meet our legal responsibility but god help you if you try to bring a non-human on one of our flights again.”
      I would say “Boycott Delta” but that doesn’t really work with airlines… I would actually say that this is something you should call your senator/representative about. Not to be all PeTA or anything, but this is straight up government-funded animal cruelty, and someone needs to do something about it.

    • AustinDan says:

      Allowing a live animal to sit on the runway for 50 minutes in below freezing temperatures is without question animal cruelty. The baggage handlers, their supervisor and Delta as a company should be held criminally liable for a policy that allows this sort of treatment.

  2. Saskiatas says:

    Airlines should stop offering pet travel in cargo. They simply cannot guarantee the care and environment needed to ensure save travel for pets. And owners…read the news, and stop beliving that airlines can be relied on! Pay the extra to have your pet DRIVEN to where you need it to go.

    • icedteagirl says:

      I kind of have to agree with this. If you are constantly failing to get animals to their destination ALIVE, there’s a problem. Don’t offer the services if you can’t provide safe transport. I know that might suck for people who need to get their pets long distances for moving, etc. though.

      Ugh…these stories make me so sad!!!!

    • Juliedr says:

      I agree with you 100%.

    • Bativac says:

      I agree. Stop offering the service. Or, offer a better version of the service, and charge more money for it. Sort of a flying kennel or something. “Pet Airlines.”

      This is just a real shame. My beagle mix gets the shivers when it drops below 70. I can’t imagine him lasting long in the single digits.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Hairless cats cannot handle temperature differences at all, the air at 35,000 feet is rather chilly, and the cargo hold isn’t heated or insulated. I feel like at least one person involved in this screwup, including the owner, should have figured out that this was going to suck.

      • Rena says:

        From TFA: “…supposedly climate-controlled cargo hold…”

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          Yeah, I’m surprised they sold it to them that way. They either don’t heat/cool it or they heat/cool it for CARGO purposes, not for living things.

          Delta lets you bring pets onboard if they’re crated. Anyone know why they didn’t do this? Neither article was helpful.

          • JennQPublic says:

            They weren’t taking it with them, they were having it shipped.

            • tooluser says:

              Sadness abounds in this story.
              Just pick one up from the Pound.

              • JennQPublic says:

                I lost my kitty to kidney failure a couple of months ago. :’-( I’mI’m waiting for my next kitty to find me.

            • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

              Ah, I missed that. Makes sense now – well, as much sense as buying a cat from far, far away instead of getting a free one from a farm makes sense.

              (Yes, yes, I know some people have strong allergies, or just kind of have a thing for Gollum, and need a hairless cat.)

        • JennQPublic says:

          Climate controlled or not, it seems obvious to me that you shouldn’t fly an eleven week old HAIRLESS kitten (or really any kitten) in a cargo hold, particularly in the cold of winter or heat of summer.

          I’m trying not to blame the OP here, I really am. I feel bad, because I am sure they were very excited about this kitten, and are absolutely heartbroken about what happened. But I’m also sure they didn’t ‘adopt’ this kitten, they bought it from a breeder. If they wanted a specific breed, they should have bought from a breeder closer to them, or waited to get a kitten at least until the weather was mild. Their impatience played a part in this sad event.

    • AT203 says:

      Agreed. I can’t imagine that this is a profitable compoenent of the airlines business. And the public relations, liability, and risk of animals lives all seem to weigh against providing the service.

  3. carefree dude says:

    This is why I refuse to fly a pet. Id rather drive for several days than risk losing my macaw.

  4. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    ‘m srry, bt tht ct s jst pln gly.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Wow. Disemvoweled for that? just wow.

      • SixOfOne says:

        You’re surprised? It was a dickish thing to say. :/

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          But, he is! Not dickish, just an observation that a lot would agree with. C’mon, do we have to extend political correctness to cats?

          • KatieNeptune says:

            I once heard that hairless cats are sort of like owning a living hot water bottle…

            hehehe.

          • Bye says:

            You’re ugly on the inside. No amount of fur could ever cover that.

          • allknowingtomato says:

            Well, think of it this way. The cat is dead, so you wouldn’t be offending the cat. the owner, however, is presumably alive, human, and upset. It’s not political correctness (cats are not part of the political process, except for Washington fat cats), it’s…..being a decent person, internet or otherwise. Put yourself in the cat owner’s shoes. You want a pet and specifically picked out a pure breed known for looking a certain way. You thought you took appropriate steps to keep your baby animal safe, but you ended up inadvertently having your new baby animal killed, and paying a pretty penny to bood. someone hears what happens, and says “your cat was ugly.” If this were a live conversation, that person would be characterized as a TOTAL DICK.

            • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

              Yes, it’s sad that they lost a kitten, a kitten they never saw before they bought it, sight unseen, from a breeder who should have known better than to ship a hairless animal in the winter. Despite what the fact that this article says they “adopted” the cat, they paid lots of money for a breeder to ship this animal they bought. I feel bad for the 2 daughters that had to witness this tragedy, but the mother – she bought the cat from a breeder on the other side of the country, and had it shipped in freezing weather. She shares the blame with the breeder.

              And the term “politically correct” has nothing to do with government. (“cats are not part of the political process”)

              • Thassodar says:

                It’s still a dick move to come out and say that the cat is ugly. Much like the previous commenter was saying, if you pulled that in a real conversation you’d be called a dick. People are just calling it as they see it.

                Also, it was noted in the article she did not know climate control ended at the end of a flight. Your argument that “she should have expected this shipping it across the country” is moot now. If I pay extra to have my pet shipped, I expect my pet shipped. Once I hand over my cash it is the airlines responsibility to get my pet to me, ALIVE. The breeder could not have predicted the weather, the owner could not have known the cat sat in the cold for almost a hour.

          • El_Fez says:

            No, it’s called being a fucking human. Someone just lost their pet, you dont have to be an ass about it.

          • Pax says:

            Anywhere else on the ‘net, I’d agree with you – I do not consider the SPhinx breed to be at all attractive, and I might even use the word “ugly” (or even go so far as “butt-f*cking-ugly”).

            But in response to a post about someone’s kitten who died …?

            WRONG. VENUE..

            In the future … be a human, not a prick. Or at least, try to pretend.

        • PunditGuy says:

          I’m surprised. Unless that pictured cat was the exact cat in question — in which case, even then, I’d have a hard time getting worked up about it. I love cats, and that’s an ugly cat.

          • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

            Thank you. “Whnng bt ct gttng frzn s lk cryng whn y brk yr dspsbl lghtr.” I understand that. I get that one. Not this.

            • allknowingtomato says:

              that IS the actual cat that died. RTFA. Also, whether or not you find the deceased kitteh attractive is neither germane to the conversation, nor is it generally helpful or clever. Besides, calling the dead cat ugly is likely to hurt the feelings of the mourning owner, who might very well see this post.

              so yeah. no need to waste our precious vowels on your comment.

              • segfault, registered cat offender says:

                It’s amazing how the cat apologists here get all riled up over nothing.

                • Pax says:

                  Nothing? Cat apologists …?

                  Replace the word “kitten” with the word “child”. Keep the originally-disemvowelled post the same. Think about it.

                  Speaking as a cat owner, I can say this: for many of us, our cats – or dogs, or ferrets, or other pets – often are as much a part of the family, as any human child might be. Losing a beloved pet, can and does hurt as much as losing a human family member would.

                  So, think what the family of that kitten might have felt, seeing someone make that comment about their kitty, who they are already mourning.

                  • Shadowman615 says:

                    And then, if you take the original post and replace “Sorry” with the more explicit version of “eff all you mothereffing n-words,” then it really gets nasty!

                    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

                      THIS. A cat is a cat, not a child. And children can be ugly too.

                    • El_Fez says:

                      Dude, it doesn’t matter if that’s a picture of cthulhu – have a heart and keep your insensitive comments to yourself.

                  • JennQPublic says:

                    Please don’t speak for cat owners.

                    I’m a cat lover, and lost my beloved kitty recently, which was horrible. But I would never compare that with how people who lose a child feel. This story would be much different if Delta had let someone’s kid freeze to death on the tarmac.

                    No matter how much I love my pets (and I surely do), they are NOT like children.

                    • sparrowmint says:

                      True, they’re better.

                    • JennQPublic says:

                      Abso-fucking-lutely!

                    • Pax says:

                      Please don’t speak for cat owners.

                      I am a cat owner.

                      And maybe you missed the phrase “for many of us”, in the post you responded to? Because I never claimed to speak for all cat owners, just … many of us.

                      We lost a cat to successive strokes, ten years ago. I still miss him. Intensely.

                      I found a kitten twenty years ago, on the streets. I took him in, fed him, and got connected to him. Then I found the family who’d lost him (curious kitten + briefly opened door = lost kitten), and returned him to the very, VERY happy little girl who’d been pining over him ever since. I think about that kitten all the time, and miss him.

                      Many of us (there’s that word again, “many” not “all”) do grow deeply attached to teh animals in our lives.

          • Pax says:

            Well, it’s a sphinx, just lik the dead kitten. And it’s young. And the caption says (Family photo).

            Logical conclusion?

            That IS a picture of the dead kitten.

            • PunditGuy says:

              In which case, even then, I have a hard time getting worked up about it. Oh wait, I covered that already.

              • Pax says:

                Then you’re psychotic – in the sense of “lack of empathy”, not “screaming raving mad”.

                You should see someone about that.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I’m surprised he was disemvoweled for THAT, when there are 12 comments per post that SHOULD be and never are.

          But was the comment news on THIS post really so slow that comments about the physical appearance of the pictured cat warranted disemvowelment?

          BTW, this cat is not appealing to me either. I realize hairless pets serve a purpose to…someone. But not me, and certainly not my intended purpose of small animals used as pets: cuddliness.

          • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

            “when there are 12 comments per post that SHOULD be and never are.”

            … and 6 of those 12 are usually mine. What can I say? I’m just not right. I’m sorry.

          • jefeloco says:

            At the same time that I find hairless cats gross with my eyes, my hands and arms love the way they feel. I keep threatening to shave my cats so they can feel that way for a few hours at a time. I am highly allergic to cats but really like the ones I have, even though I am on allergy meds and sneeze 25-30 times a day when at home.

            I have vowed to my wife that as soon as one of our guys kick it we’re getting a hairless. I have a strict limit of three cats, any more and you’re a crazy cat person. My pic is of Pete, the coolest cat in the known universe. He opens doors (with levers AND knobs) and drags around a teaser that he likes to play with. last night he hopped up on the back of the couch during Mythbusters and slammed his head into my ear so that I would notice and pet him.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      I once dated a girl with a hairless cat, it was awesome!!

      Wait a minute, this post is about a feline, isn’t it?

    • El_Fez says:

      Dude, show some fucking respect. That’s someone’s beloved pet.

  5. hayden says:

    Why do people continue to fly with pets? ITS NOT A GOOD IDEA! Go to the pound and get your animal before that one is killed too.

    • RevancheRM says:

      …what?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        I believe he is referring to the fact this was a breeder cat. I detest breeders. There’s enough animals in this country to give everyone a pet 5x over and yet they still feel the need to breed for fun and profit.

        • jesirose says:

          Or, you know, ensuring the breeds live on in the correct form.

          You should be mad at irresponsible breeders. Puppy mills, craiglisters – but breeders who do the job right are good people.

          • Red Cat Linux says:

            Mmm. But define “irresponsible breeder”. I bet my definition is going to be harsher than yours. Puppy/kitty mills are just the easy target.

            I have owned mutts and purebreds, and any time you encounter breed diseases, you are looking at what is likely the product of irresponsible breeding. Snub nose dogs with breathing problems, Collie eye, Collie nose, epilepsy, hip displasia and luxating patellas. Anytime a breeder breeds to the show standard and with less concern for inherited diseases and problems, that’s irresponsible breeding.

            It’s not just puppy mills that do it.

          • JennQPublic says:

            I bought my Bichon from a backyard breeder, and couldn’t be happier. They love the breed, own both parents, and I got exactly what I want- a pet-quality dog whose general traits can be predicted.

            Not everyone who wants a specific breed needs a show-quality pet, or particularly wants to support the whole pure-bred show system. I just wanted a dog that wouldn’t shed and had a cheerful, non-yippy disposition.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      People should find an alternative to flying their pet, but they should go to the pound to save another animal from being euthanized? How does one possibly relate to the other?

  6. CherieBerry says:

    Cats need hair.

  7. comatose says:

    OMG. Small pets/cats should always fly in-cabin with you *unless* it’s like a 6-8 hr flight. Their like $75, but at least your pet will live and you can keep an eye on them. They go under your seat.

    • comatose says:

      *they’re* EDIT BUTTON!

    • jesirose says:

      In this case, no one was flying WITH the pet. It was being sent from a breeder to a buyer. So no one was on the flight with it. Which I also detest.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        The what you get from this is….. Buy Local. Not from hairless kitty mills.

        • jesirose says:

          I didn’t read the article, is the cat from a mill? I do know plenty of breeders who will ship, especially when it comes to rare breeds. (I’m into dogs, not cats, but cat people are even more crazy and obsessive.)

          • donjumpsuit says:

            There is no way that cat is from a mill. Special cat breeds take years to reserve, and probably $1000 plus the cost of shipping.

            • jesirose says:

              The shipping cost was under $300.

              And I don’t know about how long the wait is for cats, but with dogs, for rare breeds, unless you’re being extremely picky about a physical characteristic or something, there’s not several year long waits. Maybe a year. I’ve looked into some of the more rare feline species, and there wasn’t several years for any of them. *shrug*

              • Pax says:

                Try getting a Savannah. The wait list for those CAN be 2-3 years – the entire breed has a fairly low population still. Especially as males past a certain generation, IIRC, are infertile.

                And 2-3 years, is an improved waiting period, over the 4-6 years you might’ve been quoted when the breed was truly new.

  8. P=mv says:

    A hairless anything has absolutely no temperature tolerance. I would not have trusted someone else with a young hairless kitten.

    With that aside, the OP paid to have the animal removed from cargo immediately. If that had been accomplished, that kitten would currently be alive and well. Shame on Delta.

    • zibby says:

      True, they paid – but they had to realize they were accepting an element of risk. Suppose the baggage handlers go on strike while you’re in the air? Suppose someone gets sick and the flight diverts and lands in Denver for a few hours? Suppose the cargo door jams for whatever reason and it takes them an hour to repair the thing and get it open? These people may have thought the odds were in their favor, but the bottom line is that they gambled and the animal lost.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Shame on the breeder. The breeder knew the temperature and shouldn’t have sent the cat in that kind of weather. Delta’s only the weapon of choice in this matter, the breeder is the murderer.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Hell, even plant nurseries won’t ship until it’s safe. I agree, breeder fail.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      If the plane was “sitting on the runway” for 50 minutes then there were pressing issues at the airport.

  9. nosense22 says:

    When I called airlines to ship a pet, they told me about that rule. It was the Summer and they told me the pet is only allowed to fly if the temperature at the arrival city was below 90 degrees.

  10. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    To everyone who says people should never fly with pets, let me offer a not-so-extreme example of why it must be necessary on occasion: Military moves.Whether it’s cross-country (then by choice, kind of, depending on the reimbursement you get for driving or flying- sometimes you have to fly) and moving overseas. Unfortunately, there just aren’t other options available. I hope I never *have* to fly with my Scooter on a commercial flight. He’s much too big to fly with me in the cabin. My heart would just break if sometime happened to him.

    My heart goes out to these pet owners. Perhaps the kitty was placed in cargo because she was too small and young to take any pet sedatives?

    • longfeltwant says:

      I’m not clear on what you mean. “There are no other options”? Of course there are other options; don’t be silly. You are ignoring two-thirds of the classic transportation trio “planes, trains, and automobiles”. People should be aware of the risks, weigh them, and take the risk if they feel it’s worth it. If your pet is super duper important to you, then ship it by ground transport. But don’t pretend, just to make yourself feel better, that there are “no other options”.

      For me, pets are not so important. If I didn’t want to risk a cat’s life by moving it from one place to another, then I’d adopt it away in the first location and get a new cat at the second location. People shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that cats are so unique and can never be replaced.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        I never said cats are that unique. Personally, I wouldn’t put a kitten in cargo, ever. But I’m not a “blame the OP” person. I’m just saying that due to job situations, sometimes you’re forced to fly or pay completely out of pocket. Now, sometimes the military moves you so fast that it isn’t financially possible to do that. Did you read my full comment?
        Obviously these people thought they were doing the right thing by paying extra money to have their kitten taken from cargo early. Could they have done better? Sure, I guess. But seriously. Some people want to keep their pets, and paying extra $$$ so their pet wouldn’t sit on the tarmac like it did should have guaranteed that kitty would survive.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        “People shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that cats are so unique and can never be replaced.”

        Such ideas are considered heresy by pet fanatics.

      • Firethorn says:

        Except, to my knowledge there’s no trains or roads between the USA, Europe, and Japan. All big military destinations. Trying to ship them via cruise liner or something might actually INCREASE the risk, due to the increased amount of time and therefore necessity of care via transport workers.

        It also renders the ‘Don’t fly with your pet; adopt instead!’ thing a cognitive dissonance. because in my mind it has you giving up YOUR fluffy to a shelter or something at your old address and picking up a ‘new’ dog at the shelter in your new location.

        Let’s face it, people become attached to their pets. I wouldn’t fly with a new puppy, but I WOULD take my pets with me, however I had to.

    • ClaudeKabobbing says:

      My Military dad understood that pets are not cargo and that was why we did not have pets when our moves somtimes required flying. It was sad not having a pet, but not as sad as losing your pet during a move because it was treated as cargo not a family member.

    • Brookles says:

      She was placed in cargo because she was born in Utah and people in Connecticut wanted her….but they didn’t want her enough to fly out to Utah to get her.

      I’m not going to debate whether someone should ever fly with animals because there are so many factors involved in the decision. But I think there was no excuse for a cat to be flying in cargo in this particular case. I’m not anti-breeder and I can understand why someone might need to get a pet from a breeder located across the country, but in this case, if the only option for getting the kitten from point A to point B was to ship it in cargo, then the owners should have said “We’ll wait until there’s another solution” and/or the breeder should have said “I’m sorry, but I can’t ship a kitten there.”

      Delta messed up big time here, but the fact that they were even given a chance to mess up in this situation was a huge mistake, especially on the part of the breeder. I also have trouble finding sympathy for the “heartbroken adopter,” though. All my sympathy is with the poor kitten that froze to death because no one considered the ramifications of shipping a living thing in freezing weather.

  11. Straspey says:

    A tragic story, which actually could have been averted by sending the cat via its own flight on PetAirways – an airlines which specializes solely in flying domestic pets:

    http://petairways.com/

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      As loony as this idea is, Delta’s creating a market for them. :(

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Good idea in theory, but the cat flew from Utah (presumably Salt Lake City?) to Hartford. Neither city is served by Pet Airways.

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      While the idea is good in theory, it can only work if it serves all the major cities, not just some of them.

    • Derigiberble says:

      That is the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard of. My parents breed Boykin Spaniels and have occasionally gotten requests from people across the country, but turned them down because there was no way they were going to send a pet in a cargo hold. Really sad because the people asking normally had recently lost an old pet they had gotten before moving, sometimes from my parents.

      This has the potential to be a great solution.

    • Bativac says:

      Wow, and here I suggested just such a thing in response to somebody else’s comment. They owe me royalties!

    • KStrike155 says:

      Nice try, Pet Airways representative.

      • Straspey says:

        That’s a very interesting accusation Mr. Anonymous Internet Troll.

        Please let everybody else in on your secret as to how you obviously know for a fact that I’m a representative of Pet Airways.

        We’re all waiting…

      • Coupon says:

        Who cares who posted this? This is an excellent solution and, as far as I can tell, the best solution offered here next to driving.

        • Straspey says:

          Thanks for the kind words both psm321 and Coupon.

          To answer your question, my best guess is that I’ve been participating on the forum here for about two year – give or take. I think I joined just before Consumerist separated from Gawker, because I recall having to re-establish my account & PW.

          As far as shilling for Pet Airways – like you said, I remembered having seen a piece done on TV about them, so I thought it might be helpful to others.

      • psm321 says:

        Yeah, I suppose Straspey joined Consumerist ____ ago and was just sitting around waiting for this story to come up and making relevant comments in other articles all the while just to get the opportunity to shill for PetAirways. Or maybe, he’s just a nice guy wanting to help out. Nah, that couldn’t be it.

        P.S. How do I feel in the blank? I know I’ve seen Straspey around for a while, but Consumerist doesn’t really seem to have any sort of full profile

  12. Dollie says:

    I don’t understand. When I tried to transport my pets (in July about 8-10 yrs ago), I was told that transporting them in high or low temperatures was dangerous for the animals and got a big “NO” from all of the airlines I called. I learned my lesson and drove instead.

    No animal should be in a cargo hold in winter or summer.

  13. Blueskylaw says:

    That is one of the fugliest cats in existence. Did the cat naturally evolve that way or did Archer Daniels Midland have something to do with it?

    • fsnuffer says:

      Just got done with chemotherapy.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Funny thing is, the breed descended from Russian cat breeds. (Donskoy, Peterbald, etc)

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      There is at least one breed of hairless cat–as far as I’ve heard, there is no naturally hairless cat species, but they are selectively bred for the trait. Some people think they are cute. I personally find them unattractive too.

      Hairless breeds are desirable to some people for the fact that they do not shed, and produce fewer allergens.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Don’t “dis” kitty’s appearance. He’s beautiful. In his own way. Refer to post #4.

    • ElBobulo says:

      I believe there is a good purpose for hairless cats – we get to see the real reason that cats have fur in the first place.

  14. cys_av8r says:

    Whnng bt ct gttng frzn s lk cryng whn y brk yr dspsbl lghtr.

    • Maximus Pectoralis says:

      Fail.

    • cys_av8r says:

      Apparently Consumerist likes to garble replies it doesn’t like.

      • Maximus Pectoralis says:

        It’s called “disemvoweling” and occurs when you post something that is blatantly offensive.

      • jebarringer says:

        You got disemvoweled due to the overwhelming amount of FAIL in your comment.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          I even thought it was over the edge. And you guys KNOW I like to push the envelope…

        • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

          Did you flag this guy too? It’s one thing to call a cat ugly (cause let’s face it, a hairless cat could give me nightmares) but this comment violated the “be a fucking human” rule.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        This is a blog about kittehs. Didn’t you know that?

      • Straspey says:

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      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I recommend you read the Comments Code, the link of which is found at the bottom of the page. By commenting, you agree to abide by this Code.

        And unlike the Pirate Code, it’s not just a set of guidelines. They are finite rules.

  15. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “She didn’t know one very important detail until she talked to the vet after the kitten died. He told her “climate control” basically ends after a plane lands.”

    That’s assuming that the flight crew ever bothers to turn the heat, or the lights, on in the cargo hold at all.

    FOR THE UMPTEENTH BILLION TIME STOP TRANSPORTING PETS VIA REGULAR COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS.

    Either fly them on a dedicated pet-transport service, or don’t fly them. Period. Every option other than risking your pet’s life (or health) is better, including leaving them with a friend/family member or even giving them away if you have to.

    Hell, euthanasia is better than freezing to death in a dark, noisy cargo hold.

    • airren says:

      There are always options. Hire someone to drive/fly/sail the animal where it needs to go. If you can’t find anyone that you can pay to do this (unlikely) then give the animal to a family member or friend. There are just no good reasons to submit your beloved (hopefully) pet to possible death. As someone else said on this thread, even euthanasia is better than freezing to death alone in a cage.

      • airren says:

        Whoops, this comment was supposed to be upthread where the person said there were no options other than air cargo.

  16. Snullbug says:

    Delta – feh.

  17. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    11 week old kitten in the cargo hold? This kitten was almost certainly being shipped by a breeder… The family had no time to bond with the kitten, the actual loss is purely financial…

    Don’t get me wrong, killing animals is not ok. Delta needs to review their procedures or stop offering a service they can’t deliver without inflicting animal cruelty.

    • ellemdee says:

      The first thing I though was “breeder” as well. No responsible rescue would ever ship an aimal as cargo, even though the article calls out the owner as the “adopter” (a rescue term) instead of a “purchaser” (which is what they were). Seriously, shipping a hairless animal (at all) in the winter (even worse) is a bad, dangerous idea. Just the trip from the plane to the building in those frigid temps is enough exposure to hurt a very young hairless kitten, at that’s if everything would have gone according to plan.

  18. sprybuzzard says:

    I flew numerous times with my Yorkie in a small crate under the seat in front of me. Why on earth did they not do this with a tiny kitten?

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      I don’t think they were flying *with* kitty. If you’re not on the plane, it can’t go under “your” seat, because you have no seat.

      BTW, a $70 charge for carrying on your pet, while giving up your carry on, is just freakin’ outrageous.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        COURIER SERVICES. They pay people to transport a package on a plane, that for one reason or another can’t go in the cargo hold. This would have been the perfect solution. The kitty could have been in the cabin then and taken off the plane in someone’s custody. Also there would be someone there to comfort it if it got scared.

        For what pet breeders charge for an animal, shipping could have been built into the price. If you can afford one of those things, you can afford to have it shipped properly.

        PS: hairless kitties are kinda funny-looking. But that one was actually pretty cute.

    • sprybuzzard says:

      Ah, my mistake.

  19. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    You paid $70 to have Delta do what the Human Society does for free…and more humanely.

  20. PsiCop says:

    Unconscionable that they would do this to an animal. It’s time for airlines either to take the duty of transporting pets seriously — and do it without killing them — or just stop doing it altogether (personal assistance animals aside).

  21. TooManyHobbies says:

    After reading all of these events, there’s no friggin’ way I’d ever fly one of my animals. If I had to drive cross-country for a week, I’d do it.

  22. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It says “her new family”.. so I assume the cat was bought from a breeder.

    Airlines are notorious for delays and unexpected situations. Expecting everything to go smoothly flying into Connecticut in winter is naive. Also I don’t see any non-stop flights from Salt Lake City to Hartford CT.

    From another article:
    She got a call back from someone whose job it is to look into lost baggage claims. She said, “This was going to be a member of our family. Lost baggage?”
    http://yourlife.usatoday.com/pets/pawprintpost/post/2011/01/kitten-dies-after-chilly-flight-in-cargo/139905/1

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Salt Lake City to Hartford CT.
      Delta offers connecting flights thru Minneapolis or Cincinnati – so thats more time on the cold tarmac.

  23. allknowingtomato says:

    I just completed a move with my cat from MA to CA. I paid United $150 fto bring my cat as a carry-on. He was grumpy (despite a mild sedative) and clawed the inside of his carrier until the pad at the bottom was shredded and one of his paws was a little bloody. But, I could reach down and unzip the carrier enough to put my hand in, and he would calm down immediately. I had the comfort of knowing that his climate control conditions were the same as mine, and that if he was going to freeze to death sitting on the runway of Logan, so was I. The abilities to personally calm your pet and ensure safe temperatures/handling for it during transit do not exist in cargo.

    these stories are far too frequent for me to ever risk a pet in the cargo area, “climate controlled” or otherwise. My heart goes out to the OP, but if it was affordable to buy a boutique breed from a breeder, pay the cargo charge, and pay extra money to have Delta allege that they would get the kitten off the plane “immediately” (Delta at the very least needs to admit failure on its part there), why didn’t they afford someone actually flying with the pet? The ~ 300 she paid for Delta to abuse her cat could have been spent by:

    paying 150 to book the cat as a carry on after finding someone flying around the right time from the appropriate locations and offering them 100 plus the cost of checking a bag if they will take your cat as a carry-on to ensure its safety.

    Assuming 25 for the bag check, this leaves 25 for you to buy your kitten a kickass bomber jacket to keep him warm. I don’t normally advocate clothes for pets, but that’s because pets normally make their own protective clothing at home.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      …after finding someone flying around the right time from the appropriate locations and offering them 100 plus the cost of checking a bag if they will take your cat as a carry-on to ensure its safety.

      Courier services can do this. Licensed, bonded, etc. I would never just ask someone to do it.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Courier services have suffered a great decline since the institution of “Baggage Fees”. You used to be able to catch a flight as a courier and give up your checked baggage for the company, and have just your carry on bag for your belongings, and paid very little for your flight in return for your baggage allowance. Now, it’s a loosing proposition: if you fly courier now, you pay full price or close to it, and without any baggage allowance, there’s little if any profit. For bringing an animal aboard, you give up your carry on baggage. So you’re basically going to have to pay a large portion of someone’s full price fare PLUS the airlines “fee” of $70+ to put a small animal under the seat.

  24. AI says:

    This will continue to happen until pets receive more protection under the law. Delta hasn’t frozen any children in their cargo holds because they would get in trouble for that.

  25. yessongs says:

    Stop traveling with your pets! It’s no fun for them, and very selfish to have them suffer the trauma of traveling. They don’t know what’s going on, It’s just stressful for them. Leave them at a kennel it’s probably cheaper anyway and they are safe there.

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      Because people NEVER EVER MOVE across country or across the world.

      Ever.

      And people who do move don’t deserve to keep their pets, right?

      And in this case, these people just wanted to purchase a freaky looking feline friend. Now, I’m not one to suggest purchasing pets, ever, when the pound or shelter has so many, but I’m not judging.

  26. qbubbles says:

    :(

  27. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Wow… 89 comments and no one makes the obvious Snickers joke…

    That sucks for the owners. I have four cats and I’d never fly with them. I’d rather drive from Utah to Connecticut. Just like I’d never put my kid on a plane by herself.

  28. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Everyone loves a shaved pussy, even Consumerist’s resident cat hater.

  29. ellemdee says:

    Hairless. Very young. Very Small. One of the coldest winters on record. Any one of these reasons is a huge red flag that shipping an animal in those conditions was a bad idea. And it’s not just an issue of hindsight being 20/20 or not knowing that the hold wasn’t climate controlled while on the ground – just the trip from the plane to the building would be dangerous enough for a very small, very young, hairless animal in such frigid temps, an that’s if things would have gone according to plan.

    It doesn’t sounds like they were “adopting” the kitten (from a rescue), it sounds like they were purchasing it from a breeder. Breeders often offer to ship animals (greater customer base = more money). No responsible rescue would ship a young hairless kitten as cargo in frigid temps, no way.

  30. Pax says:

    :(

    Poor kitten.

    Poor family.

    :(

  31. jcargill says:

    These days they’re all hairless. I personally don’t care for this fad.

  32. Press1forDialTone says:

    It doesn’t matter if the cat was hairless or not.
    Any small animal in that situation would have probably died.
    And they PAID extra and Delta ignored their responsibility
    They should file a suit just to prove the point that all of today’s
    airlines are NOT able to transport personal/family pets anywhere
    safely.
    Period.
    Evil bastards.

  33. thedarkerside.to says:

    Man, I have flown with pets in the past (when I still had them), but lately it seems airlines don’t really seem to care anymore….

  34. Kate says:

    What is the point of having climate controlled cargo if ‘it ends at the end of the flight’ and there is no climate control for a period of time at the end? I mean, there are more than just pets that need climate controlled – can you imagine if you paid to ship a multi million dollar piece of equipment that was destroyed because the airline couldn’t be bothered to handle it’s own shipments properly? What kind of business would destroy specially paid for shipments that way? How are they still in the shipping business?

  35. captainwalnut says:

    hairless pets are so gross

  36. Wolfbird says:

    Next time get a hairy kitten on death row at your local shelter.

    Or go pick it up yourself? When my boyfriend’s parents insisted on getting a dog with those stupid papers they shelpped their asses down to another country to pick it up in person.

  37. Charmander says:

    Why would someone breed a cat WITH NO HAIR? That’s just fucking inhumane to begin with.

  38. anduin says:

    I am so mad reading this post, if I was one of the airplane people, first thing I would do is get any animals out of the cargo area and inside the airport asap. They should of just let them take the cat on board in a small carrier, its a kitten. Disgusting.

  39. Chrisnif says:

    I’ve dealt with this with fish. Middle of the summer they are in a styro box, with cold packs…winter they have heat packs… even with “climate control” you can’t trust it. Poor kitty :(

  40. ouijabored says:

    So they paid extra to get the cat out immediately, and not only did that not happen, but the cat died too? Epic fail, Delta.

  41. clickable says:

    This is so heartbreaking and so frustrating. I think the owner here was just inexperienced and relied on what she was being told by others who she believed were professionals and experts and experienced, and she should have had that right considering that’s how they presented themselves and gave their credentials and took her money. It’s a damn shame, and a tragedy, and just utterly heartbreaking for that poor little baby to suffer like that for no reason at all.

    The most frustrating part of all this is I’m sure if someone had explained to this lady that the best thing to do would be to travel herself and bring the kitten home in the passenger cabin, whatever airline, she would have done exactly that. I’m sure she would have done whatever would have been recommended to her. She wasn’t looking to pinch pennies, she was just following recommended advice, and she was given awful, awful advice. Even setting aside the pointless argument of whether she should buy from a breeder or adopt from a rescue, whatever, it doesn’t matter. The point is, this was so unnecessary, because this person would have done the right thing if it would have been explained to her, but she got awful advice. I wish I could shoot someone at Delta, such heartless, callous neglect and indifference to a living creature, I can’t imagine such cruelty. What were they thinking. I know boycotts of airlines don’t work, but I can’t see myself or my family having any desire to give such a company our business any more.

  42. Charfahl says:

    I hope Delta goes out of business… No other way to word how much I hate these stories…
    Companies don’t realize how much these companions mean to some people..

    11 weeks old, Maybe we should take the people responsible for this and take their children out and let THEM freeze to death?

  43. YokoOhNo says:

    great, now i’m crying.

  44. shelleyp says:

    And if people would stop buying from kitten and puppy mills, we wouldn’t have so many animals shipped, to suffer a horrible death in the hold of a plane.

    The photo of the kitten was supplied by Linda Peerce, who has a kitten mill in Utah. That’s why the kitten was being shipped–the owner bought the kitten over the internet.

    The owner, for all of her crocodile tears, didn’t want a kitten as a pet–she wanted a status symbol. If she wanted a pet to love, she would have gone down to her local humane shelter and picked one up.

  45. falnfenix says:

    …i need to go hug my cats now. :(

  46. gman863 says:

    Take the entire ground crew responsible for this incident, strip them down to their briefs and handcuff their barefoot bodies to a luggage trolly parked in the middle of the tarmac on a 10 degree day.

    It took about an hour to kill the cat. With any luck, it shouldn’t take more than two for the ground crew.

  47. jeffinchi says:

    Delta needs to feel the public outrage. Call Delta Reservation’s and tie up their operators so Delta can’t make any money because everyone on the planet is complaining about their negligence. United States Reservations #’s 800-221-1212
    404-765-5000
    800-323-2323 for SkyMiles Members
    800-325-1999 for Flight Information