Monday, October 18, 2021

Cat in transit from Bengaluru flees Kolkata airport, reunites with Silchar owner a fortnight later

Kolkata: A cat that had disappeared from the city airport two weeks ago, after it had flown in with its pet parent from Bengaluru, was reunited with the owner on Saturday following a relentless search operation by Kolkata airport authorities and Air India officials. The 14-month-old feline, Dice, was finally rescued from a fire shaft at the airport basement on Friday.

Dice had reached Kolkata on October 2, tucked inside a plastic cage in an Air India flight’s cargo hold, and had gone missing immediately after being brought down. His owner Mayurakshi Saha was travelling in the same flight with another cat in her cabin baggage and was informed that Dice had gone missing when she went to the cargo to collect him.

The Air India cargo team had claimed the cat broke open the cage and escaped. Saha, along with the airline officials, airport authorities and CISF personnel, started a search on the airport premises.

“Tears of joy rolled from my eyes when the airline officials handed Dice over to me. He looked frail and sick and I immediately took him to a vet who checked his vitals and put him on a high-protein diet for the time being. But I am sincerely thankful to the airport and airline authorities as they never gave up the search and managed to rescue Dice even when I had given up hope of ever seeing him again,” said Saha from her Silchar residence, where Air India authorities flew the cat to hand him over.

Sources said airport and airline authorities had distributed photographs of the cat on multiple WhatsApp groups, asking every employee to inform a set of officials the moment they spotted the feline. Cat food was also kept at multiple locations to lure it.

“I have been told that while the food was getting eaten, the authorities weren’t able to locate the cat. But on Saturday, two officials spotted the cat in the basement and two Air India officials skipped their holiday to rush to the airport and rescued Dice who had snuck into an emergency fire shaft.

18/10/21 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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