Woman tries to sneak live cat through customs in handbag

Passenger tried to take moggy on a 7,000 mile flight


Abyssinian cat in the bag

One of the hardest things about going on holiday can be leaving your pet behind.

One Canadian woman thought she'd found a cunning way around that particular dilemma by carrying her cat Bella in her handbag for the entire 7,000-mile flight from Vancouver to New Zealand.

"Apparently it was a very quiet cat," said Craig Hughes, spokesman for New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries.

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The four-year-old moggie, which authorities reckon could have been drugged to keep it docile, was only discovered when the woman and her husband tried to get through customs and border agents decided to inspect some muddy boots they were carrying.

Hughes said the woman was "very reluctant" to have her small handbag X-rayed and insisted it had already been checked. She finally admitted there was a cat inside, Hughes said, but then said she'd told a ticketing agent about Bella when she bought her ticket.

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New Zealand has strict regulations for importing pets. Cats and dogs from most approved countries must have an implanted microchip and be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days after arrival.

The woman, who was in her 20s, and her cat were put on the next flight back to Canada, and by all accounts she wasn't too chuffed about it.

"She had plans to have a nice holiday with her husband in New Zealand," Hughes said. "And her cat."

Weird stuff seized by customs

Weird stuff seized by customs