Mikhail Galin was distraught when Russian airline Aeroflot told him his cat, Viktor, was too heavy to fly in the cabin.
The gray-and-black feline was already sick from an earlier flight from Riga, Latvia, to Moscow that he had been allowed to take, Galin wrote in a Nov 6 Facebook post, and he couldn't bear the idea of putting him in cargo for eight hours. Aeroflot allows pets in the cabin if they and their container max out at 17.6 pounds (about 7.9kg), but Viktor weighed in at 22.
"I was very worried that during the duration of an eight-hour flight, something would happen to him in the cargo and he wouldn't survive the trip," Galin, 34, told The Washington Post. After his pleading failed to change any minds, he refused to fly.
Then he came up with what seemed like the perfect solution: a "mini-Viktor" body double. With the help of friends and the power of social media, he found a "miniature kitty" named Phoebe to present for inspection. Galin was able to use airline miles to book a flight on business class two days after the original flight.