5-month-old cat found abandoned in bathroom at Cleveland Hopkins Airport

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:46 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A cat, just 5 months old, was found abandoned in the bathroom of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport early Friday morning.

Thankfully a concerned Southwest Airlines employee discovered the white and gray kitty in a soft carrier sitting on the sink in an airport bathroom, near the TSA Pre-Check area.

The Southwest employee went to every airline to find out if the cat should have been on an airplane, and then 19 News has learned that the airport staff made repeated announcements over the loud speaker, hoping the owner would respond, but no luck.

Meredith Janik rescues and fosters cats, and received a call from a friend at Southwest hoping she could help provide shelter for the abandoned cat. Janik also used to work at the airport, “From previous experience I’ve seen other animals who weren’t able to fly, and not able to be accomadated. They were just left next to the trash can at the airport. They’ve indicatd that the airport found a Beagle this week from a person who decided that they were going to travel, leave their animal and continue on their trip.”

Debra Bartowick of Abel Animal Clinic in Parma, is holding the cat for 3 days and has temporarily named her Coco Bean, Southwest employees were calling her Herb Hopkins before they learned the cat was a female. Putting a hold on the cat is just in case someone truly forget the pet at the airport, but 19 News has learned there hasn’t been one call to inquire about the cat in two days.

Bartowick, who is also active with the Forever Friends Foundation that has offered to foster the kitty and eventually adopt her out. So, what does she think of the person who would just abandon their cat at the airport, “I think they’re a horrible person. You don’t do that to a living creature. They don’t know the animal could have ended up in worse hands.”

Bartowick says the kitty is in good hands and after getting used to her surroundings she’s extremely affectionate and playful, “She appears to be healthy, she’s about 5 months old, just getting her adult teeth and no fleas.”

Janik says early indications are that the person who left the animal at the airport didn’t board a plane, but instead jumped on to the RTA train downtown, even though airport officials have not confirmed that information, “The person should be prosecuted for abandonment. It’s neglect to leave the cat unattended at the airport, so, it should be neglect that comes with a fine or some sort of punishment.”

A spokesperson for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has not confirmed if the person suspected of leaving the cat in the bathroom has been identified or if charges will be filed.

Animal rights advocates tell 19 News the number of pets abandoned has dramatically increased since COVID, and because shelters are full people, and there’s a waiting period unfortunately some people are not taking the proper steps to ensure animals are in a safe environment where they will have plenty of food and water.