American Airlines Lost a Cat

jack the cat American Airlines Lost a Cat

Jack the Cat, missing at JFK.

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.

“I just got off the phone with CBS and NBC and they seemed very interested so i sent them all the info i have and then contacted Karen with their #’s. This situation is SO AWFUL but it also brings tears of joy to my eyes to be working with all of you guys. It’s a rare opportunity in life to be able to actually do something that makes a difference and I am honored to be part of this. Let’s keep going until Jack is safe with his mom Karen. Love you guys!” writes Jeremy Fritz.

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.


  1. Mike Caprio says:

    This should probably be amended to AA at JFK lost a cat… JFK is notorious, TSA at JFK has stolen items out of my parents’ baggage on multiple occasions.

  2. Owner definitely needs to return to lure kitty from his safe place —

  3. I HAVE CAT says:

    please take this out of LOST BAGGAGE!

  4. I keep telling people I’m FINE!  Thinking about getting outta New York, though.  The traffic is horrible.

    1. ahhh- silly kitty!  Your momma is worried- call home!  hey, there are 800#’s run aways  can call to help you get home.  Listen, stop perusing for the one night stands, there are to many of such wild kitty children getting the same name of Ferrel- is that what you want your children called?  I’m sure the call of the wild is strong, no one would deny that but where you are isnt safe. Watch out for the machines, they dont stop for kitties- you are in danger!   Find a human wearing a badge, they will help you get home-  go do this now! 

      1. Bestwishes324-today says:

        OMG! This message is not cute and this matter is not a joke!! It’s disrespectful towards Karen. I know I wouldn’t want to hear some senseless story about my cat. I would want sincere/genuine support and your little story is neither, it’s ridiculous!! grow up!! Very annoying!!

  5. Tamachan01 says:

    How the heck did Jack get out of his cage? Who handled him last?

  6. Angie says:

    Jack is in my prayers. I flew my dog with them last Christmas and was terrified. Thank God she was ok but I don’t think I can go through that again. I know in my heart Jack is ok. I pray he finds his way home.

  7. Mail says:

    Oh you don’t need to keep lookin’ I found it, and it was delicious.

  8. Fletch says:

    Snakes ….   on a plane :o

  9. This is listed under the heading “lost baggage?” Come on folks. A pet is NOT baggage. This is a living creature, a family member. I’m glad to see the story getting out, but I would also like to see it taken as seriously as it should be.

    1. H_emina says:

      Yes, they should take losing an animal more seriously and this should have never never have happenend and a lot of the Airlines are like that.

    2. Rayanddanette 1 says:


  10. Jackie says:

    Praying  The Jack The Cat is found safely, I’m a cat owner and I cannot imagine what I would do I if my cat Isabel goes missing.  but we all the cat’s animals lovers positive thoughts that Jack is found soon. My prayers and positive thoughts  goes out to you. Hang in there Jack is going to be soon in your loving home.

  11. Guest says:

    Ok , I am confused- the first sentence of the article says jack is a grey cat but the cat in the pic is clearly orange. Also,I wonder if anyone looked into the possibility that an employee may have taken a shine to the handsome boy and decided to take him home? It happened to my red maine coon, when he darted out the door under our feet. The animal control officer that helped to look for him had found him,but never said a word that she took him home to keep.But someone saw my cat in her window and I got him back , and she lost her job.(I had to show picture proof that he was mine and not hers). So I have been wondering if the same fate befell jack. I hope he gets home to his mom soon. A big airport has got to be a scary place for such a small being.

    1. Mike Caprio says:

      Actually it’s pretty clearly a picture of a grey cat that needs to be color corrected.  It’s just got too much yellow saturation.

    2. Anonymous says:

      it’s certainly possible that someone took him; either before or after he was in his crate.  Cats can escape a secure crate; my cat Sammie once wiggled his way out of his while I was driving. He put his paw on my shoulder and I nearly jumped ten feet. Fortunately I pulled over and put him back.  All it takes is one loose connection.

      1. I’m sorry, but that made me laugh, thanks, and I’m glad you and Sammie are OK!

    3. AW says:

      The other cat, “Barry” that she also took with her to the airport is gray. Maybe they just got the color wrong in the article, because it is the orange cat that is missing. 

  12. PCAP says:

    Many people have been asking how Jack went missing…I know the owner Karen and all the latches were completely secure when she took him through security which means someone, a airport employee had to open the crate.  Thus, moving forward if anyone is traveling with a pet – reconsider!
    Kristen/PetCare AuPair

    1. Anonymous says:

      Kristen, please see my posting above. I lost my cat in 2004 and got her back after 6 weeks. This is the responsibility of the airport, as well as the airline.

  13. Rlee says:

     An airline worker in Richmond VA.actual told me I dont deserve to get on the plane becuase I was late.  I was late becauese they decided to set up a security check at the last minute for othe one plane going to Dallas, Tx.  I havent flown AA since.

  14. DottieDot says:

    Cats are not luggage!  This sucks!

    1. H_emina says:

      you are soooo right, CATS OR DOGS OR ANY ANIMALS ARE NOT LUGGAGE and should not be handled LIKE LUGGAGE.

  15. H_emina says:

    This is soooo terrible and tragic for the Airlines to lose a cat or a dog, NO EXCUSE, not caring or giving a damm because its just an animal, i’m sick to hear this bad news. all airlines should be more careful when transporting any animals and there’s  is NO EXCUSE for this.

    1. lexi peri says:

      The picture is the right picture, the cat is JACK . Maybe AA cant tell the difference between gray and orange!

  16. Jhowardm says:

    If this were at all common there mite be a story here.  However, as I look at the world at large and what is happen to PEOPLE every second of the day this is a non-story.  OK, it was a loved pet.  I give you that.  But, it was just a cat!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I lost my cat at the Toronto airport in 2004. She escaped from her cage during the flight and when they opened the cargo, she ran onto the tarmac. She was missing for 6 weeks. The owner needs to put up posters in the neighbourhood with a number to call (if she has not already done so).  She also  needs to contact the wildlife department at the airport and they will set traps for him. That is how I got my cat back, traps set with a towel with my scent in each trap + food.

  18. I googled “AIRLINE LOSES CAT” and got over 20 million hits! These airlines NEED to be more careful. Nearly every story from the first results page has a common theme: a crushed and broken carrier. 
    The baggage handlers make a TON of money. They MUST do a better job. If I lost as many things of value that they are proven to have lost, there is NO WAY I would still have my job!!

  19. danette says:

    as an animal lover myself it is truely hard to understand how a living,breathing animal could be
    lost, they are our babbies and I think more should be done to find poor Jack ,
    our prayers go out to Jack’s Mom and family for a fast and safe return


  20. KCM5265 says:

    No WONDER they can’t FIND him!  He is NOT grey per this PHOTO posted!!  Are they COLOR Blind?!?
    He is a CREAM pale orange color … in this posted photo .. OR this is NOT Jack the Cat?!?!?

  21. KCM5265 says:

    PS  MY HUGE EMPATHY goes to the lady who has been loving dear sweet JACK the cat all this time!
    I sure hope that he finally calms down and is found .. due to being hungry for sure!  He probably will be found and adopted by someone along the way who maybe does not even know about him being lost!

  22. aj says:

    Oh I’m sorry, we just lost your family member, oh my what can we do? 
    Idiots, no wonder they have such a lousy rating. 
    Please find Jack, I am sure he is terrified!

  23. Neil65 says:

    Fire them all.

  24. Lady Lisa McLeod says:

    The article said that Jack was kenneled along with his brother Barry so how can one cat come up missing but not the other one if they were kenneled together?  Hmmm??? This makes no sense and Makes you wonder who took Jack?  Also the pic of the orange tabby could be Barry the other cat because there wasn’t enough time to get a pic of Jack the grey cat so the other cat Brother Barry’s pic was taken to post.  This is the only reason I can think of that the pic of the cat is not Gray but light orange instead.  Also, I was not aware that cats were ever allowed to be kenneled and handed off to baggage handlers to be put on any Plane??? so this alone has me extremely worried and outraged because there is no way that a Cat could survive a flight on a Plane in the baggage area of a Plane.  Cats and small dogs are usually always carried on board flights with their owners in small little carriers and they are put on the floor in front of their owners under the seat in front of them.  When I flew my son’s adult cat that I was caring for from Dallas to San Antonio to my son who was in the USAF the cat went with me on board the plane, in his carrier, slightly sedated from a pill the veterinarian gave me to give to him which worked beautifully, and he went through security and everything with me.  The only hard part I encountered was security made me take the cat out of the carrier so they could screen his carrier without him in it so I held him in my arms which was heavy because he weighed about 20 lbs at the time so it was really hard for me to maneuver everthing at once to get through security but we did and then back in his carrier he went and we made it perfectly safe from Dallas to San Antonio on an American Airlines flight.  My son who has worked for an airline in the past told me to never ever transport a cat in the baggage cargo area of a plane and to only take the cat with you on board the plane otherwise it would not survive.  The first thing that needs to be known is at what point did Jack go missing.  Was it inside the terminal or outside the terminal?  If it was inside, then he’s hiding under or in anything he can crawl inside of to feel safe, so everyone needs to be looking up inside of everything because I found a cat up inside of the lining of a couch one time so you can’t overlook anything when it comes to where a cat will hide.  If it’s outside the terminal, same thing.  Cats crawl into and up into small confined areas to feel secure and safe when frightned.  It will venture out if it gets hungry enough but it must have water because cats get urinary tract infections very quickly without water and can die so the hunt for this cat should be a top priority right now.  LET’S FIND JACK-THE-CAT NOW!!!  Have we had any spottings yet???

    1. years ago- I couldnt find my cat for two days.  I heard him calling too- it sounded as if he were inside the walls like a ghost.  Turns out,  he went in the microwave & I closed the door not knowing he was in there; I was busy in the kitchen that day.  Oh thank God, he is fine.  But I couldnt see through the tinted glass & it wasnt till I was standing right near the unit did I hear him scratching the glass to alart me of his presence.   You are so right, cats crawl into the oddest places! 

  25. DryFur says:

    Pets getting loose while being transported by airlines is very common
    and is usually deadly. But it is normally caused by a faulty unsecured
    carrier or kennel that the pet owners provided. Many airlines are
    getting more and more strict about what kennels they allow but it
    depends on the training of the individual airline clerk who checks the
    pet in, this can vary greatly. I suggest
    traveling pet owners empower
    themselves and do some research, Use Hand releasable Cable ties to
    secure the kennel door yourself do not expect the airline to do so they
    often forget or have not been properly trained and always replace
    plastic attachments with metal nuts and bolts. These simple steps have
    literally saved countless pets.

  26. Lyn says:

    Cats are very magical creatures – they often disappear and appear again at will.  He may just have disliked this travel experience and might still turn up .  Bless him and you!

  27. The reason; less people take pride in their work & rarely attend to details.  This scenrio is a sad and no doubt could have been prevented in many ways.  First off, cats are quite skittish; was it really necessary to take him on a plane?  No doubt if the cat had a choice it would have prefered staying home with its owner, many people use money with little consideration of the bigger picture regarding whats happening globally or worse yet, with thier own neighbors. If you don’t give of your self you risk things being taken. Spiritual law rules this planet and lets not foregt, Murphys law is a bitch.  Now to the condition of the cage, the animal got out from; whats that all about?  Bottom line, the Bible clearly states there is a purpose for everything.   The airlines will change policy to help ensure this don’t happen again & then, when one of the special people go to transport atrained rescue animal to help find stranded persons, thet will arrive without a cliche.  I pray the cat is found, the owner learns purpose, workers become detail oriented and such transport cages are redesigned- period.

  28. Karen says:

    Shame Shame on American Airlines

  29. Red says:

    I think it is horrendous that a person’s pet, Jack the Cat, was handled badly by airline employees. This should never have happened. I hope people think about this before putting their animals
    in with baggage. That poor lady worrying and scared for her cat’s safety and, think about the cat. He is probably hiding, scared to death and afraid to come out from where he found what he thought to be a safe spot. Specialty animal personnel should be brought in to attempt to locate the cat before he suffers more serious problems. As a Vet Tech, I understand that cats have very sensitive and acute feelings; perhaps those feelings should be more appreciated by American Airlines, its employees and all involved in the search to find Jack the Cat. I pray for his
    safety, health and return to his owner.

  30. Red says:

    PS to prior comments from RED

    FYI, cats don’t usually want to voluntarily return to their carrier…most associate it with
    a trip to the Vet or a foreign place away from their home. Perhaps they should think of this
    in terms of an exercise in mental strategy…maybe a female cat in a carrier, meowing, might
    just lure him within sight and capture to safety.

  31. Julia says:

    American hasn’t updated Facebook in several days.  Jack is fluffy and very orange; the picture is accurate – the article is not.

  32. Deczarina says:

    This is so upsetting . . . there are no words.

  33. LadyLisa says:

    Today is September 7th and the last update from AA I saw was on August 30th.  Surely there is some kind of update on Jack-The-Cat so where is it and how come he hasn’t been found yet???

  34. Rxy2468 says:

    Jeeeeeez…..I would be livid if this happened to any of my furkids….WTF- who’s the scoundrel that opened the crate door and let the kitty out???  
    Praying for the safe return of purrrecious Jack.  American…get off your overstuffed butts and find that cat!

  35. Plus go update this story.  American Airlines has not been very cooperative in the last two weeks; it is deleting posts from its Facebook page made about Jack the Cat, and it will not fly the owner back to NY for a big projected search this weekend.  It wants this to go away, and it isn’t going to go away until that cat is found.

  36. Ella Gardner says:

    To the reporter assigned to this story, please issue a correction.  Jack is not GRAY.  He is an  orange tabby.  Why in the world would you say that he is gray when you ran his picture in color right next to your article?

  37. Continental
    Airlines is NOT allowing pets on their flights. The cat that got lost
    by airline at JFK died yesterday, basically of starvation. I re-booked
    my flight to Lufthansa – I thank you Lufthansa! My cats will fly safe!  I
    have spent 3 hours on the phone trying to negotiate taking my cats (2)
    in the cabin to Poland. THEY HAVE A POLICY TO PUT PETS INTO CARGO and
    at the European destination port you have to take a trip to their cargo
    building, somewhere close to airport,
    collect them from there and try to catch your connecting flight! For
    all that trouble, they charge you close to $600.00 while the ticket in
    cabin cost $100.00 per cat in Lufthansa.