Man Abandons 15 Cats at Airport


Update, May 15, 2012: Jenny Rossetto, one of Catster’s Facebook followers found an article in an Italian newspaper that gave more details on the fate of the kittens. She translated the important details: “The cats were kittens, and they are doing fine, and are in the care of Rome Veterinary Services. They were left on the sidewalk outside the terminal, in just five kennels. They are being evaluated for diseases, and since they are young they are hopeful that they will find loving homes.” She added that euthanasia in shelters is not legal in Italy, so the cats will not be put to sleep, and there’s a large network of rescues in the country that will help them find homes.

Today in News of the WTF: a cat-aclysm at Rome’s Fiumicio Airport.

A 44-year-old American recently tried to board a Lufthansa flight from Rome to New York. No big deal, right? Well, yes, it was — because this particular gentleman had 19 cats he wanted to take with him.

When the ticketing agent told him that he was only allowed to check four of the cats, he simply dumped the rest of them in the arrivals terminal.

But wait, it gets better: The guy also abandoned a whole bunch of luggage and cat litter, which set off a bomb scare.

What the hell was he thinking?

Oh, yeah! Clearly the man was aware of the desperate shortage of cats in the United States, and he was only doing his patriotic duty by attempting to remedy the problem.

Or maybe he was trying to address the plight of cats suffering from poverty and homelessness by offering them the chance to immigrate into America, the land of opportunity. Maybe he promised them that they’d never be without mice to catch, that they’d land in homes with plush cat beds and gourmet foods, and humans who would lavish affection on them.

Of course, when the cats got here, they’d realize they’d been tricked. They’d be forced to work in dank, drafty warehouses — rat-catching sweatshops — unable to leave or report the criminally awful situation they were in because their trafficker had taken their veterinary records and health certificates “for safe keeping” and any request for help would result in being deported back to their home country to face street life once again.

I don’t know if this cat trafficker had evil or corrupt motives, if this was a misguided rescue attempt, or if he’s just plain old stupid. I’m kinda leaning toward stupid, since it seems the guy didn’t even bother to call ahead and see how many cats he could bring with him.

Anyhow, to the general surprise of nobody at all, the man may be charged with animal cruelty. Will the Italian police be able to extradite him to face those charges? Who knows?

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