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The kittens found on the plane were captured and taken to the NC Humane Society

A cat gave birth to five kittens on a plane, North Carolina officials said.

A cat gave birth to five kittens on a plane, North Carolina officials said.

Photo from Hickory Aviation Museum on Facebook

A “rustling” was heard inside the plane, leading to a magical discovery in North Carolina.

A curious member of Hickory Aviation Museum decided to look into the air plane, but saw nothing. He then took a picture with his phone and zoomed in to see the furry surprise, officials said.

“He saw a mom cat and two little heads sticking up,” Buford Barnett, CEO of the museum, which is about 55 miles northwest of Charlotte, told McClatchy News on Oct. 31.

It turns out to be wild the cat gave birth up to five kittens on the plane. Now, about six to seven weeks after experts believe the babies were born, they have found a new home.

Officials partnered with the Catawba County Humane Society to set traps at the museum, which is located at the Hickory Regional Airport. That means there are potential hazards, including airplanes, trucks, coyotes, and hawks.

“These kittens didn’t have a very good chance at life,” Erin Hooks, director of development for the humane society, told McClatchy News in a phone interview.

The last of the five kittens was captured on Oct. 27, and the nonprofit said it plans to raise them and update the footage. Around December, the young animals will be sterilized and ready for adoption.

But it was a different story for the kittens’ mom. She outwitted the traps until she was finally caught on October 31st.

“She steps over the plate, grabs the food and jumps out before the trap goes off,” Hooks said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The humane society wanted to trap the feral cat and sterilize it before returning it to the area around the museum. It is a place she has called home and has become a favorite place.

Barnett said it’s been at least a year since the mom cat started visiting the museum. During this time, people in the area fed her and affectionately called her Phantom.

She gave birth to the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, a model that was first used after World War II. Thousands training aircraft were built before production ceased in 1959, according to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Barnett said the version on the museum grounds has the engine removed and access to the engine is “closed off,” making it difficult for people to get to the kittens.

“No one was small enough to even try to get into the plane to try to get them out,” Barnett said. “They had an advantage over us there.”

Officials were later able to get to the kittens after their mom took them off the plane to be closer to food. Those interested in adopting kittens can visit catawbahumane.org for more information.

Simone Jasper is a reporter who covers breaking news for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.


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