A cat with an apparent case of wanderlust — or that was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time — managed to hitch a ride on a military flight that landed at Bangor International Airport Tuesday night and flew out Wednesday morning.
“We are calling it the ‘feline recovery mission,’” said Aimiee Thibodeau, airport marketing and business development manager. “As far as anyone knows, this is a first for the Bangor airport.”
Airport staff are not even sure where the cat — a friendly gray-and-white male — boarded the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane. The flight originated at Travis Air Force Base in California, but made a stop in Colorado Springs before continuing on to Bangor.
According to Amy Quam, airport assistant manager of operations, members of the plane’s flight crew discovered the cat in the cargo hold hiding behind some crates. She was unsure if the cat was discovered during the flight or after the plane touched down in Bangor.
“They saw the poor little thing and caught him and brought him to our maintenance office when they landed,” Quam said. “They knew we had an animal crate there.”
Once in the maintenance office, the four-legged stowaway made a break for it but was soon recaptured by an operations crew member.
“Once he had him in his arms, this cat just snuggled right up,” Quam said. “He just wanted to be loved.”
The next stop on the cat’s cross-country journey was the Bangor Humane Society, where it is currently resting quite comfortably after what may have been up to a 3,200-mile trip. But the stowaway could have been in for an even longer trip: Quam said the plane was bound overseas.
Now, the humans have a new mission: to get the cat back home, wherever that might be.
In an attempt to track the cat’s movements, Quam called the two Air Force bases from which the plane flew, but no one knew anything about a missing cat.
“I feel so bad for anyone who might have lost this cat,” Quam said. “Normally when you lose an animal it ends up at a shelter maybe a few miles away, but this one hopped a plane and ended up in Maine.”
Meanwhile, Thibodeau posted a photo of the cat on the airport’s Facebook page hoping it will get some attention. Staff at the humane society said they plan to do the same on their own social media.
Alicia Roussin handled the cat’s intake at the Bangor Humane Society and said the feline does not have a microchip. But based on the observations at the airport and the humane society, this feline has a family … somewhere.
“This is someone’s cat,” Roussin said. “We would love to be able to reunite a family with their cat.”
Julia Bayly is a writer on the Bangor Daily News Homestead desk. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the plane landed Wednesday in Bangor.