Transportation Department Releases Monthly Airline-Related Cat Incidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports two cats escaped and two cats died during air travel in August 2007.

Posted: October 5, 2007 5 a.m. EDT

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Airline Cat-Related Incidents
U.S. airlines are required to report all incidents involving the loss, injury or death of animals during transportation.
Alaska Airlines reported that a cat passed away (age unknown) on flight 148 from Anchorage, AK to Seattle on Aug. 27. The cat was discovered deceased upon arrival in Seattle. The airline stated that when the passenger was told her cat passed away, she said it was not the airline’s fault. The incident report said “all information gathered points to a natural cause of death.” No corrective action was taken.

A 2-year-old cat escaped from its kennel in Los Angeles before it was boarded on Delta Airlines flight 704 to Cincinnati. While being driven to the airplane on the tarmac, the driver reported he saw the cat jump out from the kennel. He was unable to capture the cat. The kennel door was constructed of plastic and did not meet airline standards; the cat apparently escaped by forcing his way through the bottom of the kennel door, according to the incident report. In response to the incident, Delta sent a  letter to its employees reminding them of proper kennel acceptance procedures and followed up with briefings for its Los Angeles airport employees.

Continental Airlines reported that a 7-year-old domestic shorthaired cat died during flight 1795 Houston to Los Angeles on Aug. 13. When the aircraft arrived in Los Angeles, the cat was deceased. A necropsy was performed and stated: “presumably feline asthma was the primary underlying cause of death.” No corrective action was taken.

In addition to cat-related incidents, American Airlines reported one dog death, and Continental Airlines reported two dog deaths on flights in August.

The Department of Agriculture states that they review airlines’ incident reports for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), such as kennel size or temperature breaches, and pursue investigations if the department questions whether the AWA was violated, according to the department’s animal care staff.

More than two million pets and live animals are transported by air each year in the United States, according to the DOT.

-Heidi Hatch, Associate News Editor for

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Transportation Department Releases Monthly Airline-Related Cat Incidents

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Reader Comments

Sheryl    Casa Grande, AZ

10/6/2007 5:01:59 AM

If I couldn't fly the cat in the cabin with me, I would just find another mode of transportation.

Melissa    Shakopee, MN

10/5/2007 9:10:22 AM

That is an interesting article. I don't know if I would ever even bring my cats on a plain. Chloe is already afraid of everything. She would have a heartattack. She would have to have a tranquilizer or something.

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