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I’ve just returned from Blogpaws and the first thing I noticed when my cats unpacked my bags is that all of the catnip toys are missing. In their place was a little note from TSA saying that they, “...inspected my bag”.

What they should have written is:“Travel safe - and thanks for all the catnip”.

It makes me wonder what goes on in the shadowy depths of the terminal... Is there a scent dog trained to sniff out catnip? Is it a closet cat lover who searches bags on the hunt for catnip, Valerian Root and Silver Vine?

Maybe one of the many cats who the airlines have lost during transport are carefully sorting through the bags, removing the ones they most love - maybe these lost cats now live high in the rafters of the terminals and stockpile little catnip toys for their cold nights. (That’s actually a thought that makes me happy).

Regardless, my airline catnip problems have been going on for years...

Coming back from Superzoo one year, I was pulled out of the security line after the x-ray machine found catnip buds in my carry-on bags. (In all fairness, I probably should have just shipped those back rather than stow them in my carry-on).

The catnip buds were in small, unlabeled plastic baggies (because they were samples). Had I been traveling from Colorado, I doubt I would have had as much of a problem. Regardless, I offered to give them each a catnip bud to let me pass, but they weren’t pleased with my bribery solution, so I asked them if there were a cat nearby who could verify it was catnip rather than “meow-jihuana”. They weren’t amused (and that's when I learned it's best not to joke around with a TSA agent).

I finally asked them if there were a catnip declaration I could sign or something - like a customs form. But my valiant attempts at finding a catnip solution were not well-received.

Don't get me wrong - I"m not saying that TSA is intentionally taking my catnip or targeting me for being a white, middle-class, female cat lover. I'm just saying it seems a bit suspicious that my catnip seems to disappear between the time I check my bags into the airline and the time I get off the plane, and that little notes seem to be popping up in my luggage nearly every trip.

Just sayin'....

Another time, coming home from Global Pet Expo, my Tickle Pickle went missing (yes I know - it’s an unfortunate name, but it just happens to be one of my cats most favorite toys).

I think they figure there's not much I can do. I mean, how do you fill out a form for a lost Tickle Pickle? I don't even know how to begin that story...

But, let me tell you, arriving home without the tickle pickle did not go over well with my cats.

I have to wonder if the TSA just has a bias against cat lovers. Is there an ailurophobe working for the TSA who has made a personal declaration that no cats should ever experience joy and that this illness manifests by finding (and destroying) any catnip toys that are transported? Do they have a giant incinerator in the belly of the terminal that is devoted to destroying catnip toys? It’s beginning to seem likely…

This year, they took my Jackson Galaxy Twisted Kicker Toy - I won it from Hauspanther during the convention and as I had been wanting to check out the Galaxy collection of toys for awhile, I had very much looked forward to giving it to Grey Stray, my newest addition to the household. He’s an avid catnip fan and I know he would have loved it.

Alas, I arrived home without it and was greeted by sad feline faces all around. The note that TSA left in my bag was small consolation to my disappointed cats.

My husband took pity on them and went out to buy new catnip toys for everyone, but let's be honest - it's just not the same. Nothing can replace the joy of seeing your cats root through your suitcase after a long trip to find a catnip toy. Instead, all they found was dirty clothes and disappointment.

Hopefully the catnip went to a nice TSA cat who will get more enjoyment out of it than ours...

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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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