Rudy, a Peterbald cat, was supposed to arrive at Tampa International Airport at 10 am on Jun. 4 to meet his new family. On his way to his destination, however, he went missing. The kitty was put on a flight in Seattle, and expected to catch a connection in Atlanta, and that’s where things went awry.
On Jun. 4, instead of cuddling hairless cat Rudy for the first time, his adoptive mother, Tamsin Dayment (the human mom to five rescue cats), received a phone call from Atlanta’s Delta Airlines saying that Rudy the cat was gone, having disappeared from Terminal D24.
“We were not prepared for what they told us,” said Dayment.
Perhaps his crate tipped over. Perhaps not. Delta employees were unsure of what truly occurred, and waited a full day after Rudy disappeared to bring a dog-for-hire in to sniff the feline out. Which didn’t happen. So Dayment did what any concerned parent would do – she hired a dog detective, offered a $2,000 reward for his safe return, created a Facebook page for lost cat Rudy, then hopped a plane from Florida to Atlanta to find her baby.
In the Atlanta airport, the Dayment family, joined by Delta employees, scoured the area, searching for any sign of Rudy; but, ultimately, coming up empty-handed. Until early Monday morning (4 days after he went missing), when the Dayment family received a call saying that Rudy had been found after employees heard him meowing. The family posted the following details on the Help Us Find Rudy Facebook page:
“He was heard meowing around midnight by some airport employees, a search team then formed and they found Rudy!! Apparently he had traveled from terminal D, all the way to terminal B, approximately a mile, maybe less, from his original point!! Meaning he had crossed 2 runways!! You would never know by his attitude, as he’s cool as a cucumber and soaking in all the love!! Besides a little dirt and very minor, superficial skin tears, he is unscathed!!:) Rudy was checked out by the airport vet and was found to be slightly dehydrated but ok!!!!”
Though reunited with Rudy, the Dayment family is now using his disappearance as a platform for flight safety for animals.
“We want to raise awareness on flight safety,” the Dayment family posted on Facebook. “What can airlines do, what can cargo employees do and what can we do, to ensure this never happens again? From this point forward we are dedicated to finding this answer.”
Do you think airlines handle the care of traveling animals as well as they should? Do you feel comfortable entrusting your cat in their care when you travel?