The discovery was made after a JetBlue passenger placed his bag – which was not a pet carrier – on the conveyor belt. The cat travelled down to the queue before shocked security staff realised what was happening and fellow passengers in the queue started screaming at the man.

Witness Sara Benincase wrote on Twitter: “I have seen people pulled out of the TSA line for knives. Guns. I have never seen the rage of the TSA when dude just put his cat in the X-ray.” She added: “Well, we all learned a lot today. The chief lesson is this: don’t put your cat through an X-ray scanner at the airport.”

According to NBC Los Angeles, Airport police spokeswoman Sgt Belinda Nettles said the man had told a supervisor that he didn’t realise animals should not be put through X-ray machines.

The cat was removed from the tray, and was found to be unharmed – happily the dose of radiation from the machines is relatively low. Officials decided the incident had been accidental, and both passenger and pet were allowed to complete their journey to New York. And it could have been worse; at least the perplexed puss didn’t mistake the luggage tray for a litter tray…