Before Homeland Security, before discount airlines, before even World War II, commercial flying was very different from what we know today. A passenger without a ticket or even identification could be tolerated occasionally, especially if she had fur and whiskers. And that is the story of Strato Lizzie, born in 1940, just a year after LaGuardia Field was opened.
Strato Lizzie acquired her wings and began her flying career in Los Angeles. According to the story, an American Airlines pilot found her as a kitten behind an ash can in an alleyway and turned her over to W.P. Spencer, a Civil Aeronautics Authority pilot.
Spencer flew the kitty to Kansas City, and then from there she flew to the new LaGuardia Field with a message from the chief of the Kansas City office: “The kitten apparently loves flying. Therefore, I am giving it a ride to New York and back.”
Strato Lizzie on her flight to LaGuardia AirfieldHere’s Strato Lizzie as a kitten on one of her first flights from Kansas City to New York with pilot Bronson White.
Poor Strato Lizzie was tossed around like a hot potato for a while, traveling from New York to Chicago and then back to Los Angeles. Finally, when she was about six months old, the pretty kitty was adopted by the TWA pilots at LaGuardia.
That was only the beginning of Strato Lizzie’s adventures, which included cat shows, kittens, going missing, publicity, and over 100,000 miles of flights. Read her story at The Hatching Cat. -via Strange Company