NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a very recent development which has come about because a ginger tabby-and-white domestic cat, Twix, was thrown off a Russian train in freezing conditions with deep snow on the ground because the cat had escaped his carrier while the owner was asleep and the attendant mistook the domestic cat for a stray cat.
Update: the cat was found dead frozen. RZD (Russian Railroads, the monopolist) are trying to cover up the offender, meanwhile spreading fakes about the accident over Russian-speaking platforms like vk.com and Pikabu. The police refused to sue the woman who is responsible for the wrongdoingReddit.com
Remarkably, we have a video from the Reddit.com website showing the attendant ejecting the cat from the carriage into the deep snow. It is distressing. Here it is (please note that these embedded videos often fail – sorry).
Twix died in the snow and was eventually found on Saturday by volunteers after much searching I understand and identified by his owners. He was dumped in the snow in Kirov, east of Moscow on January 11, 2024.
We don’t know the cause of death but it might have been by an animal bite or/and frostbite. The temperature was -30°C at the time. 😢
There was uproar about the behaviour of the conductor/attendant in throwing the cat out. Apparently, the attendant did try do locate the owner but failed to do so. The problem may have been exacerbated by the fact that the owner was asleep.
But the attendant made the presumption that the cat was not owned by anybody in the carriage which is a very big presumption to make and which cost the life of Twix.
As a consequence, two petitions were started online one has acquired 70,000 signatures and the other has acquired 200,000 signatures. The latter is asking for the female attendant to be publicly identified and to be sacked. The former is asking for a criminal investigation to be opened against the female conductor after the local authorities failed to take action.
Change of rules
And today, moving forward, the online newspaper TASS reports that the Russian Railways are changing the rules to prevent this unfortunate event happening again. Russian Railways are to bar attendance from removing pets from long-distance trains.
Russian Railways issued a statement:
In order to prevent such incidents in the future, <…> attendants will be barred from removing pets from trains. In such cases, they will need to hand them over to personnel at railway stations who will contact animal protection organizations,
Trixie’s owner was Edgar Gaifullin. He said that his cat had been travelling with an escort which I presume was somebody who was doing him a favour. They were travelling from the city of Yekaterinburg to the Leningrad Region where his family lives.
A ticket had been purchased for Twix and therefore the cat was on the train in compliance, it appears, with the railways’ contract.
It appears that the attendant tried to find the owner by asking passengers but none of them said that they were at which point it appears that the woman gave up and ejected Twix into the snow.
The story is interesting partly because for a long time, before this unfortunate event happened, it appears it would have been acceptable for the train companies to throw a cat out of a railway carriage if the cat was a stray.
Stray cat on a train!?
It has to be said that it would be highly unlikely if not impossible to visualise a stray cat being on a Russian train. That point should have occurred to this attendant. How did she manage to imagine that this was a stray cat? How is a stray cat going to get onto a train by themselves without any human intervention? That would be exceptionally rare.
Over 16 years of reading about cats, and reading thousands of stories about cats, I have never encountered such an event.
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