Gracie Mae, the Amazing Flying Cat

January 24, 2008

By Adele

Even when a kitten’s surrounded by clueless humans, her story can still have a happy ending.

Gracie Mae is a 10-month-old tabby who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with Seth and Kelly Levy. She’d just been spayed a few days before Seth took a trip to Texas, but Gracie didn’t let a stitched tummy and convalescence stop her from doing what cats do best.


Gracie Mae reunited with the silly humans who love her.

While Seth was packing, Gracie playfully jumped into his suitcase as if to tag along. The joke was on Gracie when the guy slammed the case shut with her inside and left for the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Gracie went through checked luggage screening, and American Airlines apparently didn’t blink twice when a cat skeleton passed through their x-ray.

Somehow Gracie managed not to suffocate or freeze to death in the cargo hold and arrived safely at Dallas/Ft. Worth, when Rob Carter mistakenly claimed the luggage and took it home to Ft. Worth. He realized his mistake only when he didn’t recognize the clothes inside, but it was too late. The cat was out of the bag – and under the bed.

Carter said he “screamed like a little girl,” but noticed Gracie’s ID tag. He called Kelly Levy, who was distraught, and they arranged for Gracie to fly home with Seth for $80 the next day, presumably in a proper carrier.

The Levys are happy Gracie’s back. This incident aside, they’re obviously responsible owners, having Gracie spayed and tagged. If they weren’t, she’d be living in Texas now with Rob Carter and named “Suitcase.”

This story evokes memories of another adventurous tabby named Emily who, in 2005, traveled from Wisconsin in a cargo container, via Chicago and Belgium, to France.

Gracie Mae and Emily offer these lessons to all cats: 1) When given an ID tag, wear it graciously, and 2) Always keep your pussport up-to-date.

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