A fluffy orange feline, Jack The Cat, was kenneled along with his brother Barry and passed over to baggage handlers on an American Airlines flight 177 from JFK to California on Thursday. After clearing security, owner Karen Pascoe received a call from an American Airlines employee who told her Jack was missing.
After a search turned up nothing, Ms. Pascoe and her family boarded their flight, assured by American Airlines that they would find her cat, contact her again by the next day, and presumably restore the cat to her the way they would any other lost baggage.
Ms. Pascoe said she did not hear from American Airlines until Sunday, 66 hours after the she was informed that Jack was missing. A baggage manager named “Andy” called and said the hunt was still on, although “the last time this happened, it took about a month to find the cat.”
Distraught, Ms. Pascoe took to Facebook, where the group Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK now stands at 1,080 likes and multiple pages of incensed comments from sympathetic cat lovers, who vowed to pray, put out the word in their local communities, call the media, call American Airlines and dog the airline about the cat via Twitter.
“Praying for your baby’s safe return! This is sooo horrible!” writes April Laudell Ballew-Harrell, with a :'(.
“We are puuuring and praying for Jack for his safe return and recovery… AA must take this matter seriously, because this is any animal lover’s nightmare!! I posted a comment on AA page also, spreading the word on my FB page,” says Sachie Tani.
There is also a #findjackthecat hashtag on Twitter, a medium which historically has not been AA’s strongest. “@AmericanAir Guess I won’t be flying with you anytime soon. Not unless I want to spend FOUR DAYS lost, scared & alone. #findjackthecat,” writes Sydney Girl, a Twitter account set up for a yellow-eyed feline.
However, the airline has been tweeting and Facebook like mad since it caught wind of the outcry. “We’ve heard you and are working very hard to #findjackthecat!” the airline tweeted earlier today, along with, “We hear u & want to find Jack badly! We’ve been actively searching for him since he went missing” and “We understand & have been in contact w/the owner Karen to do everything we can to #findjackthecat!”
The latest from AA, via Facebook:
We repeat our apologies for the upset caused by this situation, and wanted to share an update in our efforts to find Jack:
- American has offered Jack’s owner, Karen, a flight to New York to personally visit the JFK operation and help assist with search efforts.
- American has consulted with the Mayor’s Alliance Society for NYC to set up Have-A-Heart humane traps that are being placed throughout the area.
- Food and water has been placed around the operation since Thursday.
- If Jack feels comfortable returning to his kennel, we have placed food and water inside as well.
- Employees, including the American Airlines Managing Director in JFK, have walked the entire operation in search.
- All airside equipment, such as bag carts are being inspected.
- The Port Authority of New York has been contacted with information and posters. They are fully cooperating in the search and distributing posters to other businesses on the airport property.
- AA has placed posters in employee break-rooms, on the ramp, and throughout our JFK facility.
- An alert is being placed on electronic bulletin boards visible to all employees from all departments.
- “Vet Port” has been alerted and is supporting the effort. Vet Port is a veterinary service used by airlines and business local to the airport property where a lost pet would be turned in.
- Access from the airside ramp area leading into the terminal building are being inspected and monitored.
We will continue searching, and as soon as we have any more information, we will share it with the community.
Correction: This post originally stated Jack is gray; he is orange. The Observer regrets the error.