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:

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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.

Buddy Condemns Scientists Who Claim Cats Are Psychopaths

NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat condemned British scientists who pegged cats as psychopaths in a new study, saying he’d like to “introduce them to my claws,” if not for the fact that he’s too charming to do something so uncouth.

“I was offended when I read that study, frankly,” Buddy said, pausing to spit out the bones of a mouse he’d just killed and sip from his bird blood cocktail. “The very idea is preposterous.”

Psychologistsfrom the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University developed a questionnaire that asks cat owners servants to rate their felines’ behavior based on 46 different behavioral statements.

Examples of the statements include: “My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away”, “my cat vocalises loudly (e.g meows, yowls) for no apparent reason”, and “my cat is very excitable (e.g goes into ‘overdrive’ and becomes uncoordinated).”

Respondents were asked to rate, on a 5-point scale, how closely each statement applied to their cat(s).

“Asking our servants to respond to the survey was the first mistake they made,” Buddy continued, using a claw to dig bits of mouse from between his teeth. “I mean, do you ask Beethoven’s gardener to evaluate the master’s symphonies? Would you ask the overnight office cleaning crew at Apple to gauge the brilliance of Steve Jobs? Would you ask Brian Scalabrine to weigh in on the transcendent talent of Michael Jordan? Of course not. So why would you ask my human to evaluate me? Why would you think such a simple creature could hope to understand the cathedral that is my mind?”

“And furthermore, why should I care? Does the lion concern himself with the opinions of sheep? I’m officially a jaguar, by the way. I don’t know if you knew that. Yeah. They welcomed me into their mystic community and call me Kinich Bajo, which means ‘god of wisdom.'”

Personality traits like delusions of grandeur, charm, lack of empathy and narcissism are typically associated with psychopaths, experts say. A psychopath might, for example, imagine he’s a large, muscular cat when in fact he’s 10 pounds soaking wet.

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Buddy imagines himself as a powerful authoritarian leader

The degree of psychopathy varies widely among felines, lead author Rebecca Evans said.

“We believe that like any other personality trait, psychopathy is on a continuum, where some cats will score more highly than others,” Evans said. “It is likely that all cats have an element of psychopathy as it would have once been helpful for their ancestors in terms of acquiring resources, for example food, territory and mating opportunities.”

 

Happy Thanksturkey from Buddy the Cat!

Dear Readers,

Today is a most wonderful day! Sadly I am NOT invited to my family’s Thanksgiving festivities, since there are dogs there, and Big Buddy’s relatives are worried that I would intimidate those canine snowflakes with my sleek feline musculature and imposing presence. Also, one of them claims to be “allergic” to me, which I find curious. What is this person “allergic” to, charm, wit and handsomeness?

Despite my unfair exile during the day, I try to look on the bright side, because I know Big Buddy will come home with thick slices of delicious home-cooked turkey, just for me! Then he cuts it into little Buddy-size pieces! Then I eat it!

Big Buddy, as you may know, stopped eating meat in 2015 not long after adopting me, because he saw how I wear my emotions on my paw and realized I’m, like, super duper smart. So he stopped eating animals, even though sometimes he threatens to sell me to Szechuan Garden for $15 when I don’t let him sleep. So there’s never any meat in the house besides my food. But on Thanksturkey Day I get more turkey than at any other time of year, and it’s glorious, fresh turkey! Mmmmmm mmmmm!

I love turkey. Have I told you guys that before?

roasted turkey on wooden tray
Credit: Monstera/Pexels

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoy your Turkey Days with your own families, and I hope you aren’t cruel like Big Buddy’s extended family and exclude your cats from the festivities in favor of dogs. Although to be honest it’s not that bad, because I get to nap all day and dream of turkey, and then I wake up to turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your friend,

Buddy the Cat

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Reason #94 To Keep Your Cat Indoors: He’s A Bully

Most of the time when we talk about reasons to keep your cat(s) inside, it’s because the great outdoors pose innumerable risks to the lives of cats.

People make a big deal of cats retaining many of their wild instincts, but the truth is they’ve been domestic animals for 10,000 years, and the only “natural habitat” for them is under the care of kind people in a safe home or a managed colony where they’re protected, fed and given veterinary care.

But cats are predators, technically an invasive species in most places, and they have a jerk streak, so there are plenty of valid reasons to protect others from them.

A cat in Pleasant Hill, California — about 20 miles east of Oakland — illustrates that last point perfectly. Apparently he’s been inviting himself into the neighbor’s house via the cat flap, where he bullies the neighbor’s cat, helps himself to its food and adds a final insouciant insult to injury by taking a nap in the neighbor’s house. Then he strolls back into his own home in the morning, enjoys breakfast and has another nap.

Lisa, the offending cat’s human, said she found out about her cat’s jerktastic behavior via social media, and wrote to The San Jose Mercury News’ pet advice columnist for counsel on how to handle the situation. The neighbors have begun hiding their cat’s food in a closet, but understandably they want Lisa’s aggressively napping cat burglar to stay away.

“Not sure how to curtail his activities. Neighbor is not happy with our cat’s behavior,” Lisa wrote. “Locking our cat inside at night is not a good option; he is very vocal when locked up.”

Columnist Joan Morris offered blunt but perfect advice: Stop letting your cat out.

“I think both of you should keep your cats indoors, and the neighbors should lock the cat door, but as it’s your cat burglar that’s causing the issue, it’s up to you to curtail him,” Morris wrote. “Keeping your cat indoors at night is the simplest solution. The adjustment might be difficult — probably more for you than for him — but in time he’ll get used to it.”

I understand it can be very difficult to curtain feline behavior. If there were an Olympics for being annoying, Buddy would take gold many times over for his relentless meowing when he wants something and isn’t getting it. But the one thing you can never do is give in, or the little stinkers will learn that they get what they want when they yowl incessantly.

Do you agree with Morris, or should the bullying moggie get his way?

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“I’m up in your house, eatin’ ur foodz, bro.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Shelter Has Received ‘Zero Applications’ For Kaya The Kitten, Who Needs A Home

Kaya is a 5-month-old kitten with a congenital facial abnormality, which is almost certainly the reason why adopters have passed her over.

Now To Rescue, the shelter in California that’s been taking care of Kaya, has turned to the internet for help.

She has been through a lot in her short life but that hasn’t stopped her from being super affectionate and playful,” the group’s Facebook page says. “She gets along great with her foster families other cats and dogs. She is so deserving of a wonderful forever home. Kaya has received zero applications, we are hoping that her story will continue to be shared so she can find her forever home.”

Kaya recently had surgery to “relieve her discomfort in her eyes,” but the shelter’s staff say it’s a “one time procedure” and she won’t require any more surgery or special care beyond routine veterinary needs. She’s already spayed, vaccinated, dewormed and chipped, and now she’s living with a foster family, where she gets along with the resident cats and dogs.

To Rescue is located in Montclair, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. If any of our California readers are interested in Kaya, or know someone looking to adopt a kitten, you can download an adoption application on To Rescue’s site.

Not that this should be the reason anyone adopts Kaya, but given how popular unusual cats are on Instagram and TikTok, an adopter with a solid eye for photos and videos could probably turn her into a social media star. I wouldn’t be surprised if little Kaya has her own considerable fan club before long.

Kaya the kitten. Credit: To Rescue (Montclair, California)