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20 Jan, 2024 21:08

Dead cat triggers major change at Russian Railways

A pet cat ended up dead after getting thrown off a train by an attendant, the whole affair triggering a major scandal in Russia
Dead cat triggers major change at Russian Railways

Twix the Cat, a pet feline thrown off a passenger train passing through the Russian city of Kirov, was confirmed dead on Saturday. Russian Railways (RZhD) offered its apologies over the affair, pledging to review its rules on transporting animals to avoid such incidents in the future.

The cat scandal erupted in Russia earlier this week, with the situation surrounding Twix’s fate getting wide media coverage. The pet cat, traveling from Yekaterinburg to St. Petersburg with the stepfather of its owner, ended up thrown off the train by an attendant on January 11 during a scheduled stop in Kirov. Twix had somehow escaped its crate and was found wandering the carriage on its own.

The parties involved provided differing accounts of events, with the family of the deceased cat insisting its custodian alerted the attendants immediately after the train left Kirov, while some media reports suggest he only noticed the absence of the cat after ten hours. The attendant reportedly inquired about the passengers’ presence, ultimately deeming it a stray and kicking Twix off the train, despite the animal actually having a proper ticket.

According to the cat’s owner, the attendant insisted the cat simply ran off, while CCTV footage from the railway station cameras told a different story. The chilling video, widely circulated on social media, shows a person carrying the cat by its skin and throwing the feline off board into the snow.

When the scandal got Russia-wide media coverage, a major cat-hunt was staged in Kirov, with over 300 animal rights activists and volunteers involved – over a week after the disappearance of the feline. Unfortunately, Twix the Cat was found dead on Saturday, with preliminary evaluation suggesting it sustained bite wounds to its spleen and lung, succumbing to internal bleeding and extremely low temperatures.

The affair triggered a catastrophic meltdown on Russian social media, with users accusing different parties and blaming various factors for the demise of Twix. While a vast majority apparently blamed the attendant, others accused the cat’s owners, with some users implicating the RZhD as a whole, faulty cat crates, and even dogs in the death of Twix.

An online petition demanding criminal prosecution of the attendant was launched, getting more than 64,000 signatures in just over a day. Thus far, however, local police have refused to launch such a case, insisting that no criminal offense had been actually committed by any of the parties involved.

The RZhD offered its apologies over the incident on Saturday, stating it and its subsidiary, the FPK, which operates long-haul passenger trains, will work on ironing out their rules to avoid such incidents in the future.

“Conductors will be prohibited from kicking animals from the train: in such situations, provisions will be made to hand over the animal to workers at stopping points, followed by calling representatives of animal protection organizations,” the company said in a statement.

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