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No Fat Cats in the Plane Cabin, Russia Says

The Transport Ministry made its decision after an overweight cat snuck into a plane’s cabin captured the nation’s heart. Sergei Savostyanov / TASS

Russia will not set uniform size and weight rules for flying pets after an overweight cat snuck into a plane’s cabin captured the nation’s heart, the Transportation Ministry has said in a letter cited by the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper Tuesday.

Russia’s union of passengers asked the ministry to set the rules after national flag carrier Aeroflot stripped a frequent flier of his miles for sneaking his overweight cat onto his flight. Pet owners should also be allowed to pay an extra fee for overweight animals, the union’s head Ilya Zotov was cited as saying.

The Transportation Ministry deems it “inappropriate” to set uniform animal transportation requirements, Izvestia quoted the ministry’s Dec. 19 letter to the union as saying.

Pet owners will thus have to consult each airline’s guidelines before flying with their animals.

Most airlines including Aeroflot allow animals weighing up to eight kilograms to fly in the cabin, Izvestia reports, while others set weight limits of between five and 12 kilograms. Pet carrier size requirements also vary by airline.

The Transportation Ministry later said its response to the Russian passengers’ union was mischaracterized, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

“The Transportation Ministry’s position was that the specific proposals weren’t thoroughly examined and we’re ready to examine them further,” it was quoted as saying.

“We’ll gather a [working] group in the near future and meet with [airlines] probably in the next two weeks,” it said.

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