On a recent flight, I had the joy of sitting next to a woman who had not one, but TWO Sphynx kitties flying with her. I know opinions differ, but I think they look like cute little old men and I adore them.
One cat was her trained service animal to detect seizures, and the other was in training. The service cat (this makes me giggle to think that a cat would EVER do something helpful) was in a carrier under the seat, and the cat in training was sitting in her lap to learn how to sit with her during a flight. They were both completely silent during the flight – neither made a peep (Alan would definitely scream bloody murder the entire time if he had to fly). As you can imagine, I was extra delighted when I learned that you can pet service cats.
She and I were chatting away about cats as people continued to board the plane. It is important to note that this was a Southwest flight and you can sit ANYWHERE ON THE PLANE. A woman and her daughter moved into the row ahead of us, and the woman turned and shrieked, “WHAT IS THAT.” The lady next to me said it was her service cat in training, and assured the woman that she would not be disturbed by its presence. At this point, the woman had identified that a cat existed behind her and had ample time to choose a new seat as the plane was only about a third full. She chose not to move.
As we sat there, the woman’s daughter kept taking what she thought were discreet pictures of the cat through the seats and showing her mother. Her mother would shriek and jump around as if she was being electrified. It was extremely annoying and also incredibly rude. Cat lady and I gave them some side-eye, but kept chatting away about life as a cat mom.
The woman then reached her hand under her seat and straight up shouted as she realized that another cat was below her in a carrier. The plane was still not full at this point, so she could have moved. AGAIN. Instead, she kept touching the carrier, looking behind her, and freaking out. It was a lot like this:
Mega dramatic. Finally, after an hour of this nonsense, she finally told the flight attendant that she needed to be moved because she was “deathly afraid of cats” and could no longer be so close to those “awful animals.” So freaking rude. I get that people can be afraid of anything. I would not want sit next to someone holding a spider. But, it is my responsibility to manage my problems and to move if there is an issue. Instead, she spent an hour throwing a fit when there were ample other seats available.
If she had not seen the cat in the woman’s lap when she sat down, then she never would have known it even existed. They made zero noise. I know that most of our fears are irrational and it is hard to control how you feel, but you don’t have to be an asshat about it. I certainly did not enjoy my flight sitting behind her and having to listen to her shrieking and jumping around like the cats were attacking her eyeballs. JUST MOVE NEXT TIME.