Skip to content

TSA Finds Live Cat Inside a Checked Bag After It Went Through the X-Ray Machine at JFK Airport

“The cat’s out of the bag” TSA says.

TSA agents in New York found something unusual while scanning baggage at JFK airport—a living, breathing cat. The cat had been unknowingly packed into the suitcase, and it's a good thing the X-ray machine picked up the animal because it would not have survived the flight. TSA had a good time with the incident on their social media, tweeting about the fortunate feline. "We're letting the cat out of the bag on a hiss-toric find," they tweeted. Here's what happened and what the X-ray images showed.

RELATED: 10 Most Embarrassing Ways People Have Gone Viral This Year

Orange Cat


The cat was discovered after the suitcase set off an alarm at the baggage screening point. When TSA agents looked at the X-ray to determine what set off the warning, they found a giant orange cat packed away inside the baggage. Luckily the cat was still alive, but chances are it would not have survived being packed into the cargo of the plane.

TSA's Got Jokes


TSA tweeted about the incident in a pun-filled dad-joke message which earned them plenty of online eye rolls. "We're letting the cat out of the bag on a hiss-toric find. This CATch had our baggage screening officers @JFKairport saying, "Come on meow"! Feline like you have travel questions reach out to our furiends @AskTSA. They're available every day, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ET)."

Accidental Cat-Napping

Local News X via Twitter

According to the TSA, the cat did not belong to the person who was checking the bag. "A @TSA officer was shocked to find an orange cat inside a checked bag at @JFKairport after it went through the X-ray unit," said TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. "Traveler said the cat belonged to someone else in his household. On the bright side, the cat's out of the bag and safely back home."

Stowaway Cat

Local News X via Twitter

Farbstein told NBC News it "was implied" the cat jumped into the open suitcase without the person being aware of it. The traveler missed their flight to take the cat back home to safety and flew out the following day, sans the cat.

TSA Posts About Strange Things They Find

Local News X via Twitter

This isn't the first time the TSA has posted about strange finds in baggage screening—just a few weeks ago, a man was caught attempting to smuggle a gun through the airport by hiding it inside a raw chicken. "The plot chickens as we barrel our way closer to Thanksgiving," TSA said via an Instagram post. "For us, it's a time to be thankful that our officers are always working around the cluck to keep you safe. Take for instance this 'hen you believe it?' find at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. We hate to beak it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time. This idea wasn't even half-baked; it was raw, greasy, and obviously unsupervised. The only roast happening here is this poor packing choice! Feather you like it or not, there are rules for traveling with guns and ammunition. So, don't wing it; roost over the proper packaging info through the link in our bio."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •