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Feral cat boards plane, attacks pilot mid-flight

Published Mar 3rd, 2021 9:10PM EST
cat airplane
Image: pio3/Adobe

Plane travel might be a bit less popular these days, what with a global pandemic still raging across most countries, but that didn’t stop one frisky feline from feeling the need to jet set. The cat, which was apparently a feral or stray, managed to sneak aboard a Tarco Airlines Boeing 737 in Sudan. The flight, which was bound for Qatar, had to be aborted after the kitty decided it would make its presence known by attacking the occupants in the cockpit.

This is a seriously bizarre story, but it also makes perfect sense if you know anything about cats. The animal somehow found its way onto the plane and hid in a dark area in the cockpit, which is a very cat thing to do. The flight departed and, for a time, the cat remained hidden, likely scared for its life due to the noise and rumblings of the plane. After about a half-hour, the feline felt comfortable enough to reveal itself, only to find a very confused pilot.

According to Sudan’s Al-Sundai news agency, the flight was supposed to land in the capital city of Doha in Qatar. Unfortunately, when the cat popped up in the cockpit, it was frightened enough by the situation to begin attacking the pilot. When staff attempted to catch the cat and contain it, it escaped. Cats are basically furry water, so this isn’t surprising.

The pilot had no choice but to perform a mid-air about-face and head back to the departing airport to have the cat removed. The plane was reportedly stored in a hangar recently while it awaited cleaning, so it’s possible that the cat managed to climb aboard during that bit of downtime, but nobody can say for certain.

Despite the reports that the pilot was attacked by the cat, there are no mentions of any injuries suffered by anyone, including the feline. The cat, of course, had no idea what it was doing when it snuck aboard the plane, and it’s unclear what the staff did with the cat once they managed to land the plane again. Being a feral cat, it may not have been a good candidate to be fostered or adopted, so let’s hope it didn’t suffer a grim fate.

It does seem a little bit troubling that an animal like a cat could find its way aboard a commercial airliner without being seen. With air travel safety a top priority for regulatory agencies and other watchdog groups, you have to wonder how easy it might have been for a person to sneak aboard the plane — perhaps to plant something or sabotage the vehicle in some other way — if circumstances were the same.

In any case, the cat probably won’t go anywhere near anything with wings from here on out, and that’s probably a good thing.