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KLM Grounds Jumbo Jet To Find Reuben the Runaway Cat

August 17, 1994

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ A KLM jumbo jet was pulled out of service today during the vacation peak to permit another search for Reuben the runaway cat.

It was the fourth time the huge Boeing 747 has been scoured since the cat escaped from his cage on a July 26 flight from Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Reuben was believed to have crawled behind paneling in the cargo area of the Dutch plane.

His owner, Cindy Dofton, an American living in London, flew in for the search at Schiphol Airport.

She was joined by American psychic Christa Carl, who correctly predicted during a recent similar search in New York that another missing cat would be found under the drop ceiling of a jumbo jet’s cargo hold. That cat, Tabitha, had spent 12 days lost on the plane.

KLM spokesman Pieter Wellhuner said the airline pushed up the scheduled maintenance for its 747 to allow a new search for Reuben.

″Owners have strong emotional feelings for their animals,″ Wellhuner said. ″We understand that.″

The 11-month-old orange and white tabby was traveling with another cat, Minnie, in separate cages aboard KLM Flight 550 for a connecting flight to New York to join the owner’s sister-in-law. But when transfer time came, Reuben’s cage door was open.

The 747 was searched the day the cat was lost. A team from the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals went over the plane again Aug. 5 and left some food for Reuben. Another team from PETA’s Atlanta branch searched the 747 a third time during a stopover there, Wellhuner said.

He said compensation would be paid if Reuben could not be found, but declined to specify how much.

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