This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Woman Breastfeeds Cat On Flight

As more airlines scoff at the idea of emotional support animals and banish pets to cargo compartments, selfish air travelers remind us why.

Like a woman on a Delta flight en route to Atlanta last week, who grossed out fellow passengers by breastfeeding her cat. Flight attendants asked the woman to stop and place her cat back inside its carrier, as per FAA rules, but she refused.

That prompted the pilot to send a message ahead to the destination airport via ACARS, short for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System:

acarscat
An ACARS message sent from Delta Air flight DL1360 to ATL, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The pilot asked for a ground team to meet the passenger aircraft upon landing. It’s not clear if the woman was prohibited from traveling on the airline in the future.

Regardless, as press reports note, Delta has been dealing with an 84 percent uptick in emotional support animal-related incidents, which comes amid a dramatic spike in general incidents aboard passenger jets. As of September, there were already three times as many incidents compared to the whole of 2019, and the FAA had handed out more than $1 million in fines, a CNN report noted. (Data for 2020 isn’t particularly useful as a point of comparison because air travel remained restricted for months due to the pandemic.)

It’s gotten so bad that flight attendants are quitting and airlines are worried about being unable to staff flights, as most don’t have enough attendants to provide a full crew complement as it is. And who can blame these flight attendants, who are already overworked and perform an often thankless job that should not include acting as law enforcement at 40,000 feet?

One flight attendant told the New York Times she feels like her and her colleagues are “like punching bags for the public,” while others say the job has become dehumanizing.

“What really hurts are the people who won’t even look at you in the eye,” she said. “I don’t even feel like a human anymore.”

Emotional support animals are supposed to be fairly rare and reserved for people with extreme anxiety. Instead, we’ve had a parade of assholes in the past few years demanding they be allowed to travel with “emotional support snakes” among other ridiculous companion animals. A Delta spokesperson said the airline had fielded demands from people with “comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders, and more.”

Then there’s “Flirty the Emotional Service Horse,” whose owner also maintains an Instagram page for the animal which informs visitors that Flirty prefers the gendered pronouns “she/her.”

What. An. Asshole.

An "emotional service horse"
Above: A selfish person.

Speaking not only as a cat caretaker, but one who is very attached to my little dude, did I like the idea of leaving him back in New York for almost a month when I went to Japan before the pandemic? No. Of course not. I missed him terribly.

Did I enjoy the 14-plus hours it took to fly to Haneda Airport? Of course not. On top of existing anxiety issues I can’t vape on a plane and I don’t like confined spaces.

But boo fucking hoo.

The rest of us just get on with it. We’re already pampered and accommodated beyond what we deserve in most circumstances. We should all have empathy, and we should all have respect for people who suffer from anxiety, but your right to comfort yourself ends at the point where I have to smell a horse’s ass for the six hours it takes to cross from New York to LA. Are passengers just supposed to endure it when the horse defecates? Is a single person’s comfort more important than the discomfort of entire rows of passengers surrounding her?

There are animal welfare issues here as well. No one should be allowed to take a wild animal on a passenger flight, and there’s a strong argument to be made that bringing a damn horse — or even a duck, for that matter — onto a flight is tantamount to animal abuse. Given the choice, those animals would not be there.

We live in an era of living indictments of the American education system who think the Constitution grants them the right to shit all over everyone else as long as it makes them feel good. There is no such right.

And the more that people abuse the privilege of taking an emotional support animal on a flight, the greater the chance that the people who genuinely need them will no longer be allowed the option.

9 thoughts on “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Woman Breastfeeds Cat On Flight”

  1. Society in general has become a free~for~all. The rules of common courtesy have degenerated into “me first and screw everyone else”. Bringing Wild Animals on a plane, is not only ridiculous, it is ANIMAL CRUELTY AND ABUSE. Not to mention that fact that it is unfair to the rest of the passengers. But, who cares right❓Just continue acting from your own interest and nothing and no one else counts. This is but a symptom of a larger issue. Humans as a whole are selfish and it is becoming an epidemic spreading across the world. I truly despair of humanity and hope that I am not around to see it in its complete iteration. Breastfeeding a Cat❓😾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed wholeheartedly. Some people make the excuse that pandemic weariness is causing all the craziness on flights, but I think you’re right in that it’s a symptom of the general breakdown in social order we’ve seen lately. When we dehumanize each other, it gives rise to behavior like this. “Me first and screw everyone else” sums it up.

      Before the worst you had to worry about on a flight was some unruly kid kicking the seat behind you, and 95% of the time the parent would be apologetic and tell their kid to stop. Now that seems almost quaint.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your comments. It is wonderful that SOMEONE besides me is not wilfully blind. The question becomes ~ what do we do about this❓How do we convince the blind to see❓
        I survived deployment to Kuwait, Iraq, and briefly Afghanistan only to encounter this crap. Is this what my sacrifice was for❓
        I returned with P.T.S.D., and six inches of shrapnel in my spine and I feel like I am in another combat zone. Predators are on the rise, the internet enables them to find victims, and assists cowards to mouth off with no repercussions. I am single and live alone except for my friend Charlie The Cat🐈‍⬛.
        I am armed both at home and when I go out in the public. I am finding harder and harder to trust ANYONE. Where will this all lead❓ Civil war❓In general HUMANS SUCK‼️

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  2. Uh … I’ve bottle fed orphan kittens. I’ve used a medicine dropper to feed a kitten who rejected the bottle. (Thanks, Chick!) But breast feeding? The mind boggles …
    Concerning support animals: I’m all for them, but air travel with an animal is difficult and can be dangerous to the animal and the passengers. Imagine the support horse getting panicked and trampling through the plane! Image the passengers panicking when the support spider gets loose!
    Wtf is wrong with people?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point about the potential for chaos and injury if a horse panics or a spider gets loose. I wouldn’t belittle anyone’s choice of pet as long as they’re not wild animals like tigers or monkeys, of course, but I do question the idea of forming a mutual emotional bond with a snake or a spider. (I’m writing this as Buddy is in my lap, purring and kneading on me.)

      You know me, I usually write humorous stuff or cat-related news, and even the breastfeeding story didn’t set me off. But when I saw video of a passenger bringing a horse onto a plane, wearing a self satisfied grin and looking around as if daring anyone to say a word…well, it’s a disturbing disregard for others.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Many places now require we flash our Covid vaccination card before admitting us, Why don’t the airlines start requiring similar proof – from a doctor – re: the emotional support cat, dog, wildebeest, etc. is a requirement for that person, before letting that person on the plane.

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    1. Well that’s part of the problem. Emotional support animals aren’t registered like service animals are. The latter are trained by certified agencies and then placed with people who have a genuine need for service animals, whether they’re blind or paralyzed or suffer from some ailment that limits their ability to get around.

      But emotional support animals are unregulated. Anyone can claim an animal is a companion for “emotional support.” There have been people who have claimed they have emotional support tigers.

      So allowing ESA on flights is very much an accommodation, and having one is a privilege. If people continue to abuse that privilege, the airlines will take it away. People with genuine disabilities won’t be impacted because they have registered, documented service animals, but the ESAs will be.

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  4. Unfortunately, the founders wrote the Constitution to an audience they knew to be intelligent free thinkers. I don’t believe in all their foreshadowing brilliance they ever conceived of a public so incredibly stupid. Oh, and weird…breast feeding a cat? That could be suicide. Stupid and weird.

    Like

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