An Air Canada flight's takeoff was delayed by four hours Wednesday when a cat escaped from its carrier and hid in the cockpit wiring, airline officials said.

The plane was about to taxi for takeoff at 5:30 a.m. from Halifax, Nova Scotia, bound for Toronto when a cat named Ripples escaped from the carrier under his owner's seat, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Crew members spent hours searching the 10-year-old tabby after hearing its frightened meowing.

Airport spokesman Peter Spurway said Ripples was later spotted in the cockpit, cowering in a dense bundle of wires.

It was freed only after ground control removed several electrical panels from the cockpit.

"Some people tried to catch him in first class, but he took off into the cockpit and nestled down," said Debbie Harris, the owner of the 10-year-old feline.

Harris told CTV that Ripples escaped from the back of the carrier after security guards failed to properly re-latch it.

"This is his first trip and his last ... he's not flying anymore," she said.

The airline re-booked some passengers, many of whom were visibly frustrated by the delay. According to Air Canada, pets are allowed in the cabin if they weigh less than 22 pounds and are small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat.