A Not So Purr-fect Flight

November 21, 2012

in Animal Stories

My mom and I were seated at the back of an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Winnipeg to visit a terminally ill relative. We were both settling in for what we knew would be an emotionally difficult trip – we never would have guessed the flight itself would be the start of the emotional roller coaster!

The captain made the announcement for flight attendants to prepare for take-off as the plane taxied down the runway. Everything was normal, the flight attendants had strapped in and everyone patiently anticipated take-off. As the plane barreled down the runway, the silence of the cabin was broken by a piercing scream. “Help!!! Someone help!!!” The screams were coming from a girl seated a few rows ahead of us. As people looked around in utter confusion, the girl directed her attention to the cat carrier beside her. “My cat, it’s not breathing!”

Flight attendants wrestled out of their seats and rushed towards the teenage girl as the plane came to a stop. “Are there any doctors on board?! Vets?! Nurses?!” A few people walked over and began working on the cat. From our seats we could hear constant shrieks from the girl as the medically trained volunteers asked the girl questions. “I gave him a few pills to calm him down like the vet told me to!” said the girl as she held up a pill bottle. A flight attendant rushed an oxygen tank past us to the ongoing kitty CPR.

As 10 minutes of efforts to resuscitate the cat proved fruitless, the airplane remained still on the runway. After the unfortunate feline was sadly pronounced dead by the makeshift medical team, the captain came over the PA to uncomfortably announce the untimely passing of the animal and that the plane would, in fact, continue on to Winnipeg and not return to the gate. Immediately came the realization that we were about to spend 3 hours on a flight with a dead cat.

We watched as a flight attendant marched to the back of the plane toting the cat carrier in one hand and a bundle of plastic bags in the other. A few minutes later the flight attendant emerged, this time with only the carrier in hand and the plastic bags protruding through the mesh of the carrier. The flight attendant delivered the makeshift coffin to the grieving girl, where the dead cat remained for the duration of the flight.

– Lindsay Pope

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Substantial November 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

This is why people=passengers, animals=cargo. What sort of third-world country would allow people to take their pets on board an aircraft, sharing space in the cabin with human beings.


Bull Herman December 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Because you unfeeling "person," cargo is treated like cargo. Animals that live and breathe, and exchange love with people get killed in the cargo hold. If you're allowed onto an airplane, why can't somebody pay to bring their loved four-legged friends on a flight? I promise you won't lose a drop of booze or a sq mtr of carry-on space to them.


ohhhh December 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

just may have an asthma attack or allergic reaction


Lundiga August 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm

that's such b.s. If you're that frail, you might have a reaction to a peanut on the flight, you shouldn't fly!


Jennifer November 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Are you for real? Apparently you're not aware that a number of air carriers allow animals on board. And I know that US Airways for one won't allow animals to be transported in cargo for safety considerations.


Substantial November 24, 2012 at 5:25 am

I'm perfectly aware of that, Jennifer – third world conditions. Cabins are for people not for animals, and that's the way it works in the civilised world.


duPont December 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hey Substantial, as someone that owns an airplane personally, and who enjoys aviation, I have an idea. You can come hop in my plane, we'll fly down to my condo in Puerto Rico where you can climb into the cargo hold. While you're locked in there with nothing but a cage, we'll sit there for an hour while I refuel, than see if you're still alive. You can stay in there while I fly home, and if you survive that ride home, I'll give you my plane. I know huge jet superliners are even colder, but my own drop way below freezing once I am up to altitude(I'm flying lower=warmer than a superliner). And if you survive sitting on the runway, where my cargo hold gets above 120 degrees, well, you're a super human.


Bull Herman December 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Well said. What do you own? If it's piston, what do you think of diesel replacing LLAvgas? I've read of a two-cycle turbo diesel that claims to outperform piston gas engines at every step.


duPont December 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm

1938 J3 Piper Cub and SeaWind, though my great Uncle owns Kalamazoo Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and he keeps many of his planes there in flying condition, so there is some variety. I think the idea of a diesel is fantastic if the engines can do what the theories propose, but my only two questions: 1. Diesel fuel- that's a big switch. 2. Weight- are the engines light enough yet? That's always been an issue with diesels.


Shadowcat December 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Hi duPont. sorry off topic, but can you confirm for me if all airline gates at Kalamazoo Mich. have (stupid) TSA nude-scanners/groping agents? I'd consider a flight , but want to avoid the fuss, instead going for the traditional metal detectors. Researched sites, asked for other opinions, but get contradictory answers. Thanks. –Shadowcat, north of Detroit. shadowcat5462002 at yahoo dot com

duPont December 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Also, in the "civilised" world, we know how to spell, and those of us who have trouble know how to click the little button above the comment box that says "check spelling" to ensure we can spell civilized correctly.


Elenie December 10, 2012 at 1:27 am

People in countries other than the US spell words such as that using "s", not "z". Your little rant makes you appear to be rather foolish and parochial.


duPont December 13, 2012 at 12:14 am

I would love to know what country you are from to be stating that as a third world condition, because you certainly don't know most US rules and regulations, and last time I checked, the US is NOT a third world country.


Elenie December 13, 2012 at 1:35 am

Awww, and there I was thinking for a moment that Dan "duPont" Quayle had come back to give another spelling lesson.


Nicki November 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

Safety considerations? Massive fail – looks like that poor deceased kitty would have done better in the cargo hold.


Amanda November 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Only because the cat was apparently poisoned by the medication it received. Otherwise it can be dangerous for animals to be transported in cargo. Animals have died from very hot or cold temperatures. Because of that American Airlines won't allow pets in cargo hold when forecasted temperature is over 85 degrees or under 45 degrees. Also turbulence can cause pet carriers to be tossed around in cargo hold leading to injuries.


Substantial November 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

If she'd left the cat at home where it belonged it would be alive and purring today. Instead, it's chasing balls of string and playing the harp up there in Kitty Heaven, all because its selfish owner decided she had to take it with her in the cabin of that plane. RIP Tiddles.


toch November 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

When I fly, I keep my cats with me. I have read to many horror stories of people losing there pets and also finding them dead on the side of the road after airlines "lost the pet" ,and ive only had my cats on planes for international moves across oceans. I never had people as rude as you about bringing pets on board. I always have people saying how cute and what not. The flights attendants also always want to see them, and bring them extra milk they have left over from filling peoples coffee.


Bull Herman December 8, 2012 at 9:16 pm

THANK YOU. AND GOD BLESS YOU AND THOSE FA'S YOU REFER TO. What airline did you fly? You should've given them a free line of advertising…

Jodi November 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Awww that poor child and cat. 🙁 How sad.


Jody November 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

Sounds like she gave her cat too much medication.


@RhovanionGirl February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Or it was allergic to it. Poor thing.


Amber May 20, 2016 at 10:22 am

That or it just had a bad reaction to the pills.


Ambs December 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

That is so sad… I can just imagine how devastating that might be to the girl! :'( Although apparently the cat would not have been any better off in the cargo hold; there are no temperature controls or anything and just too much can go wrong. Ugh. But I wouldn't bring a cat overseas or on any plane at all, actually, unless I was moving and had to. Or any animal, for that matter.


Ambs December 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

***I meant to say that I've /read/ that there is no climate control in the cargo hold. I have not, however, experienced this first hand, for obvious reasons. >_>; (Never flew with a pet and hope dearly that I never have to!)***


Amber May 20, 2016 at 10:23 am

I would if I was moving. If I'm just travelling for a vacation that's what family and friends are for, and if no one can check on the animals there are kennels for that.


Manda December 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

And that's why you either 1. try medication out before traveling, so that if there is an emergency there are clinics and doctors available or 2. do not give animals medication before traveling. Besides the fact that it's a new medicine and might not be necessary, pets who are medicated are unable to stable themselves should the plane encounter turbulence.

And Substantial, I'm so glad I don't know you in real life. As a member of a military family, it's a privilege to be able to move and to be able to fly with our smaller family members. They -are- family.


MarkA December 31, 2012 at 11:56 am

Substantial, you're a f***ing idiot. Try reading the rules and regulations of the airlines you fly with. Many carriers do allow pets, if a small fee is paid. It's incumbent upon passengers with allergies, on these airlines, to inform the airline so safe seating arrangements can be made.


Kiki March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Oh no!! That's so sad, but the way it was written did make me laugh a few times…just the thought of the poor FA having to bag up a dead cat. I've flown with my small dog quite a few times and he does great. He stays in his carrier and doesn't bother anyone. Lots of people fly with cats and small dogs. Not a big deal. I can't believe anyone would suggest that's uncivilized.


Stories From The Air April 21, 2013 at 5:42 am

I flew quite a few times from ports in India where we carried live animals for free and allowed them to fly at will in the cabin.


Notary Public May 22, 2013 at 12:29 am

Yes, but in India you would have eaten the pets as the inflight meal. Kitty curry? No thanks…


Maths en ligne May 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Ok !


toch December 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

I fly with Delta and Lufthansa airlines!


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