Airline Cat Death Sparks Outrage, Apology

Varma arrived "well in time" for her Jet Airways flight, the airline said. She was required to remove the cat from its carrier while the carrier traveled through the X-ray machine. The cat escaped from Varma's arms during the process. The letter said an airport worker poked "the frightened animal with a stick," which the airline denied.

The cat was placed back in its carrier and taken to be transported to the aircraft. "CCTV footage on the tarmac area shows the pet jumping out of the trolley and being unfortunately run over by another trolley travelling in the opposite direction," according to the airline.

The airline said it " immediately informed Ms. Varma about the accident." Airline personnel said to Varma "The cage was open. Your cat is no more," according to the Wild at Heart letter.

The letter further stated that no one went to the cat after it was run over.

The airline said, "We would like to clarify that during the entire process following the X-ray screening and whilst the pet was in the container waiting to be transported to loading area, it was observed that no one had tampered with the lock or the container."

But the wire mesh on the front of the container was "bent outwards and pushed out of the main frame," the airline said.

Varma decided not to take her flight, and, according to Wild at Heart, was forced to "wait for hours while you [the airline] withheld her passport to sort out paperwork."

The airline said that because Varma had already "passed through immigration, customs and security, she was requested to wait in the boarding hall while our officials completed the mandatory disembarkation formalities with immigration, and other authorities."

The airline said it was about an hour before James Dean was returned to Varma.

"We sincerely regret the accidental demise of James Dean, the pet cat of Ms. Preeti Varma and are saddened by this incident," the airline said. "We truly understand Ms. Varma's feelings and share her sorrow and are extremely sorry about the same."

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