It's not the usual reason for a flight being returned to base – because an angry cat has attacked the pilot. However, that's just what happened on a flight to Qatar when a feisty feline emerged from its snug hiding place in the cockpit 30 minutes into the flight to find itself trapped in a cabin 10,000 feet in the air.
According to the Sudanese newspaper Al-Sundai, which broke the story, the cat was not a happy accidental passenger at all and vented it's frustration about the confusing situation it found itself in on the surprised pilots. It seems the furry infiltrator was so hard to control and difficult to catch that the pilot felt they had no choice but to return to Khartoum airport so the cat could be removed safely.
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It's not clear how the unhappy hijacker had found its way onto the aircraft, but it's likely it got on during the pre-flight checks, or possibly while the plane was stored in a hangar overnight. It seems the four-legged stowaway had no plans to visit Qatar that day, and was pleased to be returned home, even if it was added to a future feline no-fly list.
None of the bemused passengers were hurt in the incident, and they were left with only a delay in their flight plans and an amusing travel anecdote about their plane being grounded by a genuine hissy fit.
This isn't the first successful airplane hijack by a cat either. Back in 2004 a co-pilot flying from Brussels to Vienna was scratched by a legitimate feline passenger, albeit one that had invaded the cockpit after breaking out of its carrier. It seems it got into the cabin after meals were being delivered to the pilots by the flight attendants, and then once in the cockpit got agitated and attacked the co-pilot.
Again, the pilot decided to turn the flight around so the cat could be removed safely - so make sure you check the locks on those flight carry cases, kids!
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Jamie Middleton is a freelance editor and writer who has been editing and creating content for magazines and websites for over 20 years. As well as writing about the pets he loves, he has helped create websites about tech and innovation like TechRadar.com, Innovate UK and TechSPARK, written programmes for music festivals, books on inventions and architecture, TV listings magazines, and edited publications about cars such as Lexus, Toyota and Jaguar. In his spare time he writes fiction books and poetry - or at least he does when he is permitted to by his cat Pirate, who enjoys the warmth of laptops too much to allow being creative to get in the way.