Guards thought there was something suspicious about a small white cat slipping through a prison gate in northeastern Brazil. But when they caught the animal on New Year's Eve at the medium-security prison in the city of Arapiraca, they found a mobile phone, drills, small saws and other contraband taped to its body.
"An officer saw the cat and went to look at it closely because something about it seemed wrong," Marcelo Avelino, the head of the prison guards' union, told the O Globo newspaper.
The officer found a bag tied to the animal's body filled with saw blades and drill parts for concrete drilling and digging tunnels, along with a mobile phone complete with battery and charger, Avelino added.
The cat had often been seen coming in and out of the Judge Luiz de Oliveira Souza prison in Alagoas state. An officer told the G1 news website that prisoners had raised the cat inside the jail and that relatives would often take it home after a prison visit.
"We were very surprised by this new tactic of prisoners" who trained the animal so that it returned to the prison and even managed to carry materials, the agent said.
The O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported that all of the prison's 263 inmates were suspects in the smuggling attempt, though it quoted a prison spokesman as saying: "It will be hard to find who is responsible since the cat does not speak."
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press