This is the third cat-related post this morning, but I had no choice. I was going to post this video next Caturday, but the deluge of people’s emails sending the same link forced me to put it up today to forestall any more submissions (thanks to those who sent it). The intriguing video, called “Remove cat before flight”, has garnered over six million views since it was posted only two days ago. It shows two people taking a flight in an ultralight plane in French Guiana, during which they get a felid surprise.

More than two dozen readers have sent it to me—a record. (After being informed that I had already received it many times, one reader responded that this was a “Pavlovian response”). So please, STOP CALLING, STOP CALLING!

The caption, by videographer Romain Jantot, says this:

Au club ULM 16-34 de Kourou, Guyane Française

A standard flight until… i still don’t know if it got in after the pre flight check or if i missed it. The cat is doing well, she is still our mascot.

If you’re one of the rare people who hasn’t seen it, the hapless moggie (who clearly fell asleep in the wing) appears at 37 seconds in. The kind pilot obviously terminated the flight so that cat wouldn’t fall. It’s good that they didn’t try to grab the beast in flight, as that would have been a disaster.



  1. Grania Spingies
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    +1 internetz for the Pomplamoose song in the link. 🙂

    • Kevin
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Pomplamoose is greatness.

    • winewithcats
      Posted June 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t have clicked but for this comment, and now I’ve just enjoyed a complete reversal of opinion on the relevance of cover bands.

  2. Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I saw the video, yesterday, and had to remember that Al was right here. He looks so like that cat, and he was rescued from the underside of a very large, very expensive motorcoach!

  3. Allen Linville
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The birds aren’t safe anywhere now!

  4. Todd Steinlage
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Even though they said the cat was ok, I was terrified watching this. The kitty reminds me so much of my Phantom (RIP, little buddy).

    • Draken
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Did you call it Phantom because it once lifted on an F4 Phantom?

      • Todd Steinlage
        Posted June 24, 2015 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        In his dreams! (He always had machine guns and air-to-air missiles in his dreams, cool cat.)

  5. Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “I now have the power to force the humans to ground their aircraft at my will! Nothing can stop me now!! Kneel before your feline master feeble humans!!!”

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      [already kneeling]

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        I for one welcome…

  6. Michael
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I was very close to sending you an email about this. I’m happy I checked the site first so as to not contribute to your annoyance, but at the same time, it would have been neat to contribute to this “more than two dozen email record”.

    Scary video, but I’m happy the cat is safe. I’m sure the impulse to try and grab the cat might have been strong. It’s good they decided against it.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Ditto, but I assumed that PCC would be overwhelmed, so I desisted.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        I saw it yesterday morning my time, but like you assumed plenty of others would send it. Looks like it could have been nearly 30.

  7. Posted June 23, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I’m blown away by this!
    I wonder what was going on, right after the guy spotted the kitty. The woman took a while before she looked up and saw the cat. Did he whisper “Don’t look now, but there’s a cat right beside you!” or did he keep quiet so as not to startle anyone or anything?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      B, I suspected when I first saw it (and then didn’t fwd).

  8. barn owl
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Scary for the kitty!

    Here’s a related tale from my childhood in the 1970s, involving the family of a Campfire Girls friend and their cat. The family had packed their VW Bug for a road trip to visit relatives, with a roof rack carrier and tarp to cover it (yes, you young folks, I know it’s difficult to believe that families of four+ people used to travel long distances in small passenger cars, without the spaciousness, video screens, or other electronic conveniences of a minivan or planetkilling SUV – and, apart from some sibling squabbling, we had fun nevertheless). Before leaving on the trip, the mom drove the packed VW to run some errands, one of which required a short drive on a local freeway.

    While on the freeway, a man pulled his car alongside hers, and was gesturing frantically at the roof of her VW. She exited the freeway and pulled over to stop when it was safe, to find their Siamese cat clinging tightly to the cloth luggage strapped under the tarp – of course the freeway speeds had lifted the tarp enough to reveal the stowaway cat to other drivers. The mom managed to pry the cat off the roof and secure her in the VW to return home. After that, the family always checked under the tarp for the cat, but the cat was never known to hide there again.

    • Sastra
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Yes, I’m guessing that Aerial Kitty will NOT sleep or hide on the plane or anywhere near it again — though of course they’re going to have to make sure and check anyway.

  9. Matt G
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Is there a reason that the people are not centered in the camera window? Was the video cropped that way? Glad the cat kept his/her cool!

    • Richard Bond
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I wondered that, and it crossed my mind that it was a setup.

      • Marella
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        The pilot was genuinely shocked when he saw the cat, and he immediately cut the engine speed. I don’t think it was set up.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      You want the video camera dead in the centre of the pilot’s field of view?

      • Matt G
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        The position of the camera is fine; I’m talking about how it was aimed.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 23, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          I assumed it was aimed at the paying passenger.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 24, 2015 at 1:33 am | Permalink

          Well, if the camera id out of the pilots (main) eye line, and it is set to image pilot and passenger (for “holiday snap” reasons), then of necessity it is going to be canted to one side and therefore include part of the wing spar.

          • Posted June 24, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            The version I first saw, before this post, was centered, IIRC. This one is cropped to focus on the kitteh.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted June 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

              Ah, multiple versions. Which reminds me that I’ve got to learn how to do video editing before Monday.

  10. Jeffery
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t it be, “NO MOAR”?

  11. rudolphpaul
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Legend has it that similar events have happened with single seat fixed winged aircraft in Texas but the stow away was a rattlesnake. Solution? Climb for altitude to cooler air which slows the snake’s metabolic rate then open canopy and invert aircraft. Gravity does the rest. And don’t pet the snake!

    • Matt G
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Fly high, and kiss your asp goodbye!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      You missed out the rather important step of “check harness is secure and tight”.
      (Pre-flight video last night ; pre-dawn bump this morning.)

  12. Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    One of my owners, a fluffy grey female called Whodini, lives up to her name by trying to jump in my suitcase when I am packing to go away. I daren’t show her this video in case she gets ideas way above her station.

  13. Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Say, Jerry…have you seen this great new cat video? Millions of hits in the couple days since it was posted!


  14. Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    If I had been planning to send this, it would have been for Caturday, so glad to see the Cat-on-Glider Mailbox is already full.

    Looks like maybe this was on ‘net previously, and just went viral for some reason.

    Here’s the version I read yesterday:
    A Cat Stowed Away On A Glider And Suddenly Realised It Had Made A Big Mistake
    posted on Jun. 22, 2015, at 6:20 a.m.
    Alan White
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Found this in the FB comments below the article. Can just imagine one of my “badass” cats having this imaginary conversation:

    This will give him mad badassery points when he tells the other neighborhood cats.
    “Yo, man. I just flew.”
    *sighs* “I took a nap on a plane, it took off, and I FLEW.”
    “But… Cats don’t fly.”
    *blank stare* “Bro what did I just friggin tell you? I FLEEWWW”


  15. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I would’ve tried to grab the kitty mid flight. I’d crash the whole plane.

  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Cool cat, it yawned.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      My cat-lip-reading (always difficult on recordings) hovered between “What did you wake me up for noisy hoominz?” and “So this why dogz put their head out of car windows. Bit breezy.”

  17. Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Pre-flight check-list (Amended)
    * Control Surfaces – check
    * Fuel Quantity – check
    * Battery Power – check
    * Landing Gear – check
    * Moggie Quantity Zero – check

    • Pali
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, how did he miss a cat in the wing on his pre-flight check?

      • Marella
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        I wondered that. I can’t help feeling his pre-flight checks should have been more thorough.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted June 23, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Maybe the pilot had that same feeling about his pre-flight check, and that’s part of the reason he was so eager to get back on the ground.

        • Matt G
          Posted June 23, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          I’m willing to cut the pilot some slack. Maybe he was sick that day when they covered animal stowaways in flight school.

          • Marella
            Posted June 23, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            You mean he missed the class about not taking off if there’s a cat asleep on the wing? Well I guess that’s understandable.

            • Posted June 24, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

              Was the cat on the wing, though? The wing looks hollow. The cat appears to come from deep inside that hollow.

            • Posted June 24, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

              Was the cat on the wing, though? The wing looks hollow. The cat appears to come from deep inside that hollow.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted June 25, 2015 at 1:56 am | Permalink

                Definitely. It’s an airfoil wing. The cat would long since have blown off if s/he was on top of the wing.


              • Marella
                Posted June 25, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

                OIC! I hadn’t realised; well that’s some comfort I guess, though it does raise the question of how to prevent stowaway kittehs in the future.

              • Posted June 26, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                My cats hate the scent of DEET. That would keep both cats and mosquitoes away without changing any flight dynamics. 😀

  18. Randy Schenck
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Nice Kitty. So that was the three passenger version. Probably not considered an Ultralight at least in the U.S. I think only single seat would apply and cannot exceed 254 lbs. So the guy flying this aircraft is most likely a real pilot.

  19. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Two questions:

    1. A roughly ten-pound wing imbalance somehow went unnoticed by the pilot during takeoff?

    2. If you’re going to put a video camera in your aircraft, why wouldn’t you rig it to record headset chatter instead of wind noise?

    • Pali
      Posted June 23, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Re 1: I can forgive him not noticing the imbalance during take-off; the wing dropping a bit right during/after lift-off can be hard to distinguish from a bit of wind knocking the craft to one side, and a bit of trim adjustment can take care of it fairly easily. I’m less forgiving that his pre-flight checks aren’t detailed enough to have found it.

      • Matt G
        Posted June 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        A 10 pound weight way out on the wing creates a fair amount of torque.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 24, 2015 at 1:54 am | Permalink

          The cat was IN the wing rather than ON the wing, it doesn’t look to be a very big cat, a high-wing design like that tends to have considerable lateral stability (it presumably has to remain stable in the pilot-only case), and the modest rolling moment produced by the off-centre cat would be offset by the weight difference between pilot and passenger.


  20. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m not impressed. I’d like to see some wing-walking, or some hanging-onto-the-wing-arch-with-a-single-claw type stuff. It’ll do for now but next time…I want some real Indiana Jones action.

  21. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Classic double-take when the pilot notices the kitteh.

    Oh, and ‘Pavlovian response’ is surely something d*gs do. Most non-PCC language. ;


  22. jeremyp
    Posted June 25, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Could the cat have survived a fall from that height?

    • Posted June 25, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Probably depends on his terminal velocity and the hardness of the landing site. He’s small; that would help slow his terminal velocity.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 25, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Cats do regularly survive falls from high-rise buildings (Wiki). One famous study found that injury rates seem to max out around seven stories; falls from greater heights didn’t do any more damage.

      However such studies are necessarily selective as they don’t include cats who died at the scene and were not taken to a vet.

      • Matt G
        Posted June 25, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        The studies also didn’t include cats who simply flew away.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 26, 2015 at 3:08 am | Permalink

        All attempts to study this phenomenon systematically have proved inconclusive, typically having to be terminated at the fifth or sixth floor level before a statistically significant body of data was obtained, due to the physical incapacity of the experimenter from repeated walking upstairs compounded by loss of blood from multiple deep scratches. Also, the experimental subjects ran away and could not be reacquired, even with offerings of Friskies.

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