Nova Scotia

Calgary woman says Air Canada not doing enough about missing cat

A trip to visit family in Cape Breton went awry when a Calgary woman’s cat escaped its crate while loading onto a flight in Sydney.

Woman alleges cat escaped at Sydney airport while being loaded onto flight

The missing cat, Mia, pictured with a Yorkshire Terrier named Riley. (Submitted by Amy Marsh)

A Calgary woman doesn't feel Air Canada is doing enough about her cat who went missing while being loaded onto a flight in Sydney, N.S.

On Sept. 1, Amy Marsh and her two-year-old daughter were in line for an early morning flight from Sydney to Calgary. Marsh, who is originally from Glace Bay, was home visiting family.

"I was actually in line to board the plane and I was pulled aside by an Air Canada employee who said she needed to speak to me and told me that my cat actually escaped and was outside and ran away," said Marsh.

Marsh was given reflective gear to wear and headed outside to look for her cat, Mia. Although the tabby was spotted, she quickly ran away as employees chased her.

"It was horrible, I couldn't even think straight," said Marsh.

Family still searching

The flight marked the first time Marsh stowed her cat, as well as her Yorkshire Terrier Riley, as cargo. Normally the pair ride in the cabin with her.

"It just got to be too much carrying the both of them and my daughter all at the same time," said Marsh.

After a fruitless search, Marsh chose to delay her flight for a couple more days to look for Mia. She bought a live trap and borrowed others, laid out Mia's things, as well as some of her own clothing, to try to get the cat to come back.

Eventually, Marsh, who is pregnant, had to go back before it was too late for her to fly. Since then, her family has been tirelessly searching for Mia.

But Marsh doesn't feel Air Canada is doing enough. She said at first, the airline was helpful and reimbursed her for a live trap. She thought Air Canada would provide her with some additional live traps.

Possible sighting

But she said she was recently told that wouldn't happen because the cat may have been spotted in the Reserve Mines area and might no longer be on airport property.

Marsh said she also doesn't feel she should have to pay for her and her daughter's flights. She said Air Canada refunded her pets' travel fees. However, Marsh said she was declined her request for a refund and instead offered a $750 travel voucher.

"It's not about the money or anything," she said. "Like, obviously, I just want my cat back, but what they're doing is not right."

Air Canada's response

In a statement to CBC, Air Canada called the situation "unfortunate."

"Our team in Sydney airport went above and beyond trying to locate the customer's cat, Mia. An extensive search was done around the airport in the last couple of days. We continue to remain vigilant," the statement said. 

"Air Canada is dealing directly with the customer and does not have any further details to share at this time."

As far as her future air travel is concerned, Marsh said she will not stow pets below the plane again, nor will she be flying Air Canada.

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About the Author

Brittany Wentzell

Current Affairs Reporter/Editor

Brittany Wentzell is based in Sydney, N.S., as a reporter for Information Morning Cape Breton. She has covered a wide range of issues including education, forestry and municipal government. Story ideas? Send them to brittany.wentzell@cbc.ca

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