The illicit flight of Viktor the Russian cat was a tale of courage, cunning and plenty of chub; catapulting the rotund moggy into the heady realm of internet stardom.
At a more-to-love 10 kg, Viktor was deemed too curvaceous to travel in a cabin aboard an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. However, his doting owner, Mikhail Galin, 34, wasn’t about to let him travel in the luggage compartment like a mere furry suitcase.
Showing a catlike quick thought, Mikhail borrowed a similar yet slimmer cat to craftily check ‘Viktor’ into an eight-hour flight. He then swapped the cats back, with Viktor accompanying his human in cushy business class.
Find out more about this well-travelled chonk in the following news clip:
Cat lovers from all around the world were thrilled by Mikhail and Viktor’s airborne adventure, and were especially delighted by pictures of the big and beautiful Viktor luxuriating besides a glass of bubbly.
However, it would appear the executives at Aeroflot are more dog people, with the Russian airline having shown next to no amusement at Mikhail and Viktor’s exploits.
After conducting an apparently straight-faced investigation into the sneaky swap, Aeroflot concluded Mikhail had flouted airline rules by switching Viktor for ‘a similar animal weighing [15lbs]’.
And their Sword of Damocles fell, it fell hard. Stripping Mikhail of his impressive air miles – which were reportedly getting close to 400,000 – the no-nonsense airline also chucked him from their frequent flyer programme.
— Васькой звать (@KOT_B_CMETAHE) November 14, 2019
It’s safe to say Viktor’s new fanbase are not happy with this draconian punishment, with the pudgy pet quickly becoming an unlikely figure of resistance and rebellion.
No longer simply a cat with a squidgy tum, Viktor’s story has since proven to be a catalyst for a storm of indignant memes; all pointing a stern claw at the airline for the way they treat their purring passengers.
One meme depicts Viktor as a vintage-style fighter pilot, complete with goggles and a steely gaze, while another imagines him as a literal superhero with a little blue cape.
Another shows poor, innocent Viktor standing in a line up, tiny paws holding up a sign bearing the name of Aeroflot’s air mile programme. Others memes used old Aeroflot ads to mock the airline, suggesting others were far more feline friendly.
Naturally there are some good memes about Aeroflot's harsh stance on fat cat transport pic.twitter.com/3dc5gqPEbb
— max seddon (@maxseddon) November 12, 2019
Voluptuous Victor has even sparked a number of hashtags, three of which translate as ‘FlyVictor’, ‘We are fat cat’, and – my fave – ‘Bro is not luggage’.
Many have – quite rightly – noted this was a missed PR opportunity for Aeroflot, who would have been hailed as heroes if they had simply offered Viktor a free upgrade.
Hopefully the airline will think twice about their harsh treatment of Mikhail, and will allow the man and his cat to have many more adventures in the clouds together.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.