%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:CPT125-082802; AUDIO:%)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A couple sued Air Canada for $5 million, claiming the airline lost their tabby cat during a flight from Canada to California.

Andrew Wysotski and Lori Learmont, formerly of Oshawa, Ont., traveled to San Francisco with their 15-year-old cat, Fu, and four other cats last August.

They claim Air Canada, its cargo-handling company and San Francisco International Airport personnel, are guilty of negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud and false advertising.

``It's not about the money,'' Wysotski said. ``It's more the attention to the problem than the money.''

The Aug. 16 filing in Superior Court said the couple got airline-approved plastic crates for the cats before they boarded the flight at Pearson International Airport, outside Toronto, Canada.

Upon arrival in San Francisco, Fu's crate had a large hole in a corner, the front door was broken and open, and the cat was gone, the claim said.

An Air Canada spokeswoman said that because of pending litigation, it ``will confine its comments to legal proceedings.''

The couple's attorney is David Blatte, an animal rights lawyer who represented Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel in their fight to save Hera, one of two dogs that attacked and killed Diane Whipple in front of her San Francisco apartment.