TSA found the kitten in a checked bag.

Cat in a luggage suitcase
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A Florida couple has been charged with animal cruelty for stowing their young cat in a piece of checked luggage while traveling through Erie International Airport in Pennsylvania on New Year’s Day.

According to the Erie Times-News, the 6-month-old cat, Slim, was found in a bag that was filled with clothes and other items after the piece of luggage alerted the TSA inspection system, prompting officials to take a closer look inside the bag.

Ian Bogle, the airport’s director of public safety and facilities, called it “a poor decision made on the customers’ part,” according to Erie Times-News.

The couple was charged with transporting animals in a cruel manner, specifically since the cat was placed inside the bag “without food, water or air.”

According to Bogle, Slim was given to the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania, where the cat will likely be placed in a new home.

Many airports have different policies for transporting pets, however most standards are similar across the country. Airlines, in general, are very accommodating to pet owners who properly prepare their pets for flights and research airline policies.

Bogle told the Erie Times-News that putting pets into checked luggage is “not the recommended way” to have animals fly. That's something of an understatement.

Anyone traveling with their pet cat or dog should check with their airline for approved options. As the Humane Society notes, air travel can be stressful for animals — cats especially aren't often thrilled to leave home — so put your pet's needs first when travel planning.