Security staff at JFK airport let the cat out of the bag yesterday after discovering a fugitive feline in a suitcase.
The orange tabby had a lucky escape after sneaking into an item of checked luggage.
The bag was about to be loaded onto the plane at JFK airport on Tuesday when the stowaway’s fur was spotted poking out of the zip by workers.
Airport security staff spot stowaway cat
Transport Security Administration (TSA) agents were shocked to see the image of the pet appear on their computer screens as the suitcase went through X-ray scanners.
The bag had been checked in for a flight to Atlanta and a further connection to Florida, officials said.
"The cat did not belong to the individual with the suitcase, it belonged someone else in the household," TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told NBC News.
The feline was rescued from the luggage before it was loaded into the pressurised cargo hold.
It was a lucky escape for the cat as plane holds get very cold meaning the journey could have been fatal.
The pet was safely returned to its owners, although the passenger ended up missing his flight.
He was able to rebook for the following day, having thoroughly checked his luggage for furry fugitives.
In an Instagram post about the stowaway, TSA advised travellers to use their help service askTSA for any questions about how to safely transport animals on flights.
Can you bring pets on a plane?
Many airlines have options for bringing a pet safely and legally with you on a flight.
Travellers should check individual airlines for policies including prices, carrier dimensions and weight.
You should also check if your pet needs a microchip, passport and vaccinations for the country you are visiting.