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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 12:23 GMT
Stowaway cat flies home in style
Emily the cat looking out of window

A Wisconsin cat has received the kind of red carpet treatment more associated with film stars than missing moggies as she returned home on Thursday.

Emily's business class seat on a flight from Paris and paparazzi greeting was a stark contrast to her outward journey.

Two months ago the year-old tabby cat sneaked into an office supplies company near her home in Appleton and hid in a container of paper bound for France.

After a three-week sea voyage the much thinner, but healthy cat, emerged.

Taste for French cuisine

Amazed staff in Nancy, France, took the cat to a vet where an ID collar bearing the number of Emily's vet in the US allowed them to trace her owners.

Emily the cat with owners
Waiting at the airport were Emily's overjoyed owners

According to the head of the regional state veterinary service, Regine Marchal, the collar also saved her from being put down - the usual fate of four-legged interlopers at France's ports.

After a month in quarantine she was finally given the green light to go home, but instead of returning in a crate in the hold of a plane as planned Emily was given an upgrade - free business class seats for her and an escort thanks to Continental Airlines.

On the return leg Emily passed up the peppered salmon filet on the menu and "opted for her French cat food" and some water, airline spokeswoman Courtney Wilcox said.

In fact she was so keen on the French cat food that when she was handed back to her owners at Milwaukee airport they commented that not only had she regained the weight lost in the sea voyage but was even plumper than when she'd left.

That was not the only change owner Lesley McElhiney said.

"She seems a little calmer than she was before, just a little quieter, a little, maybe, wiser," Ms McElhiney said.

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