Cat caper concludes as ‘Batman’ rescued by Sea-Tac Airport wildlife biologists


Batman the cat.

Lisa Rousseau, a Port of Seattle employee who flew with Batman the cat back to DC.

The reunited cat – Batman – with its owner, Jessica Brown, at Washington Reagan National Airport this past Tuesday.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has a highly-regarded wildlife biology program to keep birds and other critters away from aircraft, but recently, the team had a far different task – round up a cat that had gotten into the ceiling of the airport.

It all started earlier this month when a young woman was moving from Seattle to the Washington, D.C. area and came to the airport with her cat, Batman.

Somehow at the checkpoint, the cat got out of its carrier and escaped from its owner. (TSA inspects all animal carriers like any other piece of luggage, pet owners are instructed to hold their animals and when possible, have them on a leash.)

Batman ran off and was not able to be captured on the day the owner was traveling. A day later, it was discovered Batman had gotten up into a ceiling area which had been partly exposed due to work on a stairs project near a security checkpoint. It was suspected the cat was in the ceiling due to noises heard by travelers and staff below.

Fortunately for Batman and her owner (yes, this Batman is a female) Sea-Tac’s wildlife biologists came to the rescue. The airport’s team of biologists usually works to keep birds and other critters away from the runways, but now, they got to do some work inside the building!

“It’s very rare that an animal gets out of a carrier and escapes from an owner for any long period of time,” said Sea-Tac wildlife biologist Mikki Viehoever. “In this instance, we knew the cat was in the ceiling because people at the TSA checkpoint reported hearing it meow from above. Having experience with animals we tend to know where they hide. They usually don’t go too far from where they escape.”

Wildlife biologists noticed paw prints on dust on the pipes in the ceiling, so they knew Batman was near. Bowls of food put out had also been eaten, but a first trap failed to trigger. Two traps with more sensitive triggers were brought in, finally, at 3 a.m. on March 7th, success! Overall, the search for Batman lasted five days

After an exam and a few days stay with a friend in Seattle, Batman left Sea-Tac with Port of Seattle employee Lisa Rousseau, who had a previously scheduled business trip to Washington, D.C. to drop off the cat with its owner who lives in the D.C. area.

The lesson here is that airports can be a busy and unsettling place for some humans, no less animals. The TSA reminds travelers to know the temperament of pets when bringing them to the airport and to have a leash handy when removing a pet from a carrier for security inspection.


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