Cat Gets Secondary Screening At Airport

While picking up our bags from the x-ray in ATL on our way back from Florida, we saw this cat getting what appears to be a secondary screening. Ignoring signs forbidding picture-taking, we surreptitiously slipped the cellphone from our pocket and snatched the pussy.

You never know, Puss n’ Boots could be the next shoe-bomber. — BEN POPKEN

(Photo: Ben Popken)


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  1. firestarsolo says:

    You especially have to watch out for when the cats have plastic explosives hidden in their anal cavities. Those kinds of things are serious!

    His collar probably just set the thing off. Can’t blame them for being cautious (:

  2. unwritten07 says:

    They were probably checking for recent surgery.

    remember this story

    If there are sick f**ks out there that will do it for money then you can bet there is someone out there that will do it for Allah.

  3. pronell says:

    They were right to be suspicious. Cats can never be trusted.

    Operation Acoustic Kitty:

  4. Bourque77 says:

    It’s the animal conspiracy. Tim Bedore has warned us of such events but nobody wanted to listen.

  5. Sonnymooks says:

    My guess is that they wanted to see if the cat was being used to smuggle something (i.e. drugs, diamonds, jewelry, etc). FWIW, I still think its dumb, but its the most logical reason.

  6. aromatase says:

    Don’t you know that cats are Weapons of Mouse Destruction?

  7. shiny says:

    C’mon, everyone! It’s probably not a conspiracy at all! This could have all been avoided if the owner named the poor kitty something other than David Nelson.

  8. Brilluminati says:

    I know exactly what happened.

    The cat was previously owned by Michael Vick and refused to throw away its water bottle. The cat keeps the catnip in the secret compartment.

  9. Bay State Darren says:

    @shiny: They’re going after Newsradio characters now? (Man, that was a funny show.)

  10. Helvetian says:

    @Brilluminati: lol @ catnip. Interesting story and very covert picture-taking. I did the samething in Buckingham Palace.

  11. infinitysnake says:

    Meanwhile, the TSA is still missing 90% of explosives…

  12. legotech says:

    you should have seen it when my parents moved out to Los Angeles. Mom in a wheelchair, with the cat in his carrier on her lap, dad with the bag with both their laptops. EVERYONE got extra screening, including Smokey. Cause you know, 73 year old cancer survivors and 9 year old pussycats with heart problems are high on the list of suspicious characters.

  13. Hoss says:

    Security should rush along anyone holding a fluffy animal without any checks to avoid a Consumerist moment.

  14. umonster says:

    This happened to me once. They make you take the cat out of the bag, so they can run the bag through the xray machine and you and your cat through the metal detector. If the metal detector goes off, you find yourself being asked to step into that special area where they wand you, while you hold the cat like an idiot and everybody on the line laughs at you.

  15. asherchang says:

    There’s 5 entries on Consumerist labeled “cats”… but how many cat pics are there?

  16. Helvetian says:

    @asherchang: I love the cat pics.

  17. homerjay says:

    @aromatase: Okay, I’ll be the one to admit that I laughed heartily at that. :)

  18. Red_Eye says:

    On of the people I work with (a company lawyer) travels frequently through ATL airport. This kind of thing isnt uncommon, she has even been hassled because instead of a ziplock baggie for her liquid items she carries a CLEAR vinyl zipper bag. My wife has been hassled many time there too. In their defense though ATL always fails in the customer service are twoard tighter security.

  19. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    i’m in yur sneekerz
    lightin’ yur fuzez

  20. ConsumptionJunkie…. brilliant. haha

  21. Kung Fu Cantona says:

    I took my English Bulldog on a flight to Texas over Christmas and she had to go to a separate TSA screening room and be checked by an agent. They checked all of her toys and inside her bed as well. Her ticket actually was more expensive than mine.

  22. @umonster: Me too. You are not alone. :)

  23. Snakeophelia says:

    Yes, they do make you take the cat out of the carrier, which, as you might imagine, makes for wild time with cats of a certain personality. A friend of mine just moved cross country and she and her husband had to fly with their two cats.

    For starters, they had to take separate flights, as the airlines would not allow two cats on at once. My friend’s husband got the calm cat. My friend, on the other hand, was traveling with a cat that could not be drugged (due to health reasons) and who, in her words, was insane enough that getting him out of the carrier in a security line would be like getting a person on PCP out of the back seat of a police cruiser. On the day of, he did not disappoint – he freaked out so badly in my friend’s arms that he gashed her eye with his back claw. Thankfully, the TSA agents quickly certified him as safe for travel and got my friend some first aid.

  24. blastocyst says:

    Bringing your pet on a flight can be a real pain in my experience. My girlfriend has to travel with her pet rabbit frequently; usually they let her through with no trouble, but every now and then they demand $50 just to allow it on the plane. It seems like a racket because that fifty pays for no real service for the pet or its carrier, and a little bunny isn’t going to cause anyone an inconvenience. Luckily Georgie is very small, so we can smuggle her past the check-in counter in a large handbag.

  25. palaste says:

    @shiny: Look at the following from the cited article:

    The TSA acknowledges the existence of a “no fly” list that contains names of
    suspected terrorists and others who are barred from boarding a commercial
    aircraft. The agency also acknowledges a so-called “selectee” list of those
    identified for extra scrutiny before boarding.

    Melendez described the selectee list as “very dynamic and always changing.
    It’s really not even a list at all.”

    He said a red flag is triggered when a passenger does something unusual —
    buying a ticket with cash, for example, or purchasing a one-way ticket. He
    maintained that there are no actual names — such as “David Nelson” — on
    the list.

    I recently purchased a ticket from Stockholm to Berlin and a ticket from Berlin to Helsinki. Both are one way because the trips are so close together I don’t have time to go back home in the between. I hope I don’t get detained as a terrorist suspect at the airport!

  26. TBT says:

    I can confirm that the TSA does indeed frisk cats. While traveling to NY from Newport News, VA for Thanksgiving in 2004 (I think), I accidentally forgot to remove my cat’s collar when I carried him through the metal detector.

    Rather than allow me to remove the collar and walk back through, which would have been the *sane* approach, the agent took the cat from my arms and ran his spread out hands backwards and forwards through the cat’s fur (in case you didn’t know, cats LOVE that). They then palpated his belly, but since it was clearly just flab and they found no sharp objects concealed in his long fur, we were permitted to fly.

    Unfortunately, the cat was fully declawed (not my decision, former family pet). I would LOVE to have seen them try this with one of my other cats, who have all their claws and are not afraid to use them!