It may be cute, but a keychain made to look like a cat could be deadly. "You stick your fingers through the eye holes of the cat, and the ears are used similar to what a key through the fingers would be," says a Missouri woman who wants her identity kept secret due to legal reasons.
The keychains are marketed as a self-defense tool. Carrying one in a concealed way is illegal in Maine, as well as a list of others states. The woman found that out the hard way. "I think if something is illegal, it shouldn't readily available on the internet for $5 and marketed to women," she says.
A month after the Missouri woman purchased it, she says she forgot about it until she was at the airport on her way to Mexico for a vacation. A TSA agent stopped her. "They told me carrying the cat eyes is similar to carrying a switch blade. It's illegal to even carry these things in public," she says.
Now she says she faces a $1,000 fine or a year in jail. With a legal battle looming, the woman has a warning for others. "It would definitely not be worth the jail time or a fine for such a cute keychain."
In Maine, if you're caught carrying a cat-eye keychain in your bag, pocket or concealed in any other way, it's considered a Class D Misdemeanor. Punishment for that type of crime is up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.