American Airlines Finds Jack the Cat

By Max

After the brainless massacre of those 38 big cats in Zanesville, Ohio, last week, we needed a cat-on-the-loose story with a happy ending.

On August 25, Jack, a handsome 18-lb. ginger long-hair, and his adoptive brother Barry, were in separate carriers, traveling with their owner, Karen Pascoe, from New York’s JFK airport to their new home in San Francisco. Pascoe was off somewhere having dinner when an airline employee stacked the carriers with Jack’s on top. It fell, and the door popped open. Jack, undoubtedly shaken and terrified, took off and hid in the vast incoming baggage area. Probably overwhelmed by all the strange noises and smells, he wouldn’t come out even when Pascoe returned and called him.

American Airlines sent Pascoe and Barry on to San Fran and said they’d keep searching for Jack.

It takes a really stupid airline to lose a furball this big.

Meanwhile, Pascoe set up a Facebook page for Jack, and there was talk of people boycotting American Airlines until Jack was found.

The London Daily Mail posted a tribute to Jack.

Jack’s supporters put up posters and passed out fliers around JFK, surprised by how many workers didn’t know a cat was on the loose. It makes you wonder how diligent American was about the search.

On October 25, someone found Jack in the customs room, dehydrated and thinner, but alive. Right now, he’s being treated by a vet in Queens. He developed fatty liver disease from lack of food. It will be days before he’s healthy enough to go to his new home.

What worries me is that Jack will be flying American Airlines. They’d better place his carrier in a first-class seat, with his own personal flight attendant right beside him.

Sad PS: During the search, other cats were found living at JFK and were taken to a kill shelter. ILet’s keep our paws crossed that Jack’s fans in the area help them all find homes.


13 Responses to American Airlines Finds Jack the Cat

  1. adeley says:

    Max, I have a friend, who takes her cats with her to Tucson every year when she stays for the winter. American has one of the few direct flights to Tucson. She always pays for another friend to fly with her, just so her cats can ride in the cabin — the rule is 1 cat per person, limit of two.I’ve flown with the cats twice, and we must take them out of their carriers and walk through the metal detectors with them. Both times I’ve been terrified that the cat I was carrying would jump from my arms and be lost forever at O’Hare Airport.

    We’re all glad that Jack is safe, but Alice and Dorothy are very sad for the cats,who got sent to a kill shelter — I wonder how long the shelter will keep them before the final solution.

  2. catsworking says:

    Adele, why are you calling yourself “adeley” these days? Our Adele wants to know if it’s to distinguish you from her.

    It comes as no surprise that the dumb TSA would demand that cats be taken out of their carrier so they might bolt and get lost. I would hope that any cats who finds himself in that situation would scratch the TSA’s agent’s eyes out. How about THAT for carrying concealed weapons, you TSA jerks?

    On the other hand, it’s a dumb owner who would take their cat out of a carrier in an unfamiliar situation. You have no way of knowing how much the cat will struggle, and if the cat really wants to escape, it will. And you will be left standing there in shreds.

    Whenever Karen takes us to the vet (well, I’ve only been once), it’s in a carrier AND she puts a harness and leash on us, just in case, and loops the leash on her wrist. Even though we may act like she’s killing us when she puts the harness on, it actually makes us feel better knowing we can’t be separated from her.

    Adele says she has seen plenty of cats at the vet in the waiting room, sitting in the owner’s lap in a towel. That means they came over loose in the car. We feel sorry for cats whose owners are so cheap that they would put their cats in danger every minute, rather than get them a proper carrier. They have no way of knowing the vet’s office isn’t crawling with big dogs that would freak the cat out.

    I do leash training with Karen every morning, and now we stroll all over the house together. I’m even learning not to run too far ahead of her so I don’t get jerked. I have a kitten harness, but Karen says I will inherit Yul’s sexy red number with the rhinestones on the leash when I’m big enough. Cole has worn it and he says it’s really comfortable.

  3. adele says:

    I don’t know where that “y” came from. I’ll have to see if I can fix it; I never minded sharing a name with your Adele.

    The TSA says we must take cats out of their carriers so they’re not harmed by the xrays, but unless a cat is a very frequent flier, I can’t imagine that there’s that much radiation involved — especially compared to jumping out of a human’s arms and getting lost.

  4. Gizmo's mom says:

    I’ve only flown with one of my cats once, and that was to bring my Gonzo from my dad’s in Boston after he (my dad) passed away to live with us in Seattle. Talk about scared to death… the vet was great and gave Gonzo some anti anxiety meds (I call it kitty Valium) and had to take some myself, frankly, as did Gonzo’s “foster” mom who cared for him until I could get to Boston. (Ironically she was his original foster mom who rescued him from a dumpster when he was a baby 17 years ago).

    Upon arriving at the security line at BOS I told the security agent that I had the cat, had not ever done this before, was worried about taking him out of the carrier, and wanted to have one of those private screening rooms that they use to pat people down out of the public view. They said ok… an agent met me at the head of the line when it was my turn to go through the metal detector she took the cat carrier, I went through the metal detector, grabbed my purse from the X-ray machine (having given everything else to my husband to carry and deal with), and the agent met me on the other side of the metal detector with the cat in the carrier still. She led me to one of the curtained off screening “rooms”, and I sat on a chair and gently took Gonzo out of the carrier (soft sided to go under the seat in the cabin). While I held him she took the carrier out and ran it through the X-ray machine. If I remember correctly they had another agent waiting in the screening room with me until the first agent returned.

    WHen she returned with the carrier I put Gonz back in and proceeded to the gate. Much less traumatic than I had expected, and maybe this was not the norm, I don’t know, and honestly don’t want to have to find out.

    I told my husband before we went to Boston to get the cat that Gonzo would NOT be going in cargo he would be riding in the cabin no matter what, and that we would be flying in first class so that it would be just my husband and myself sitting together (no third person)… this would give Gonzo more room (the seats are wider) under the seat for takeoff and landing, and then we could slide his carrier out from under the seat during the bulk of the flight and have it on the floor between us. It worked out great. Expensive, but luckily we planned for it and can afford it. My husband and I both work in the aviation industry and for those who don’t know, pilots jokingly refer to the cargo heat switch as the “dead dog switch” because if they forget to turn it on, any animals in cargo will freeze.
    I have also seen folks traveling with pets in cargo where the flight attendants knew about it and were very vigilant about keeping tabs on where the pet was in process and making sure the pilots were aware.
    That said, personally
    I would NEVER NEVER ever send one of my animals in cargo.

  5. Gizmo's mom says:

    I should also add that we booked a non-stop, because stopovers and plane changes are the absolute worst and are often where pet mishaps occur, ironically often from workers who feel bad for the pet and open cages to pet them or try to comfort them and the panicked animal bolts.

  6. Alexandra says:

    It’s a very sad story. I mean the found Jack, right, but look at the condition he was in. Poor guy, I can’t imagine the amount of fear he’s been through, the hunger …
    And now these cats that were taken to the kill shelter.
    It all is just very sad.
    As for traveling. We flew with our cat once. We specially picked up a company that allowed cats to the passengers area. If by any chance my cat hadn’t been allowed to fly next to me I wouldn’t have flown.
    Yes, we were also asked to get the cat out of the cage to go through x-ray. And my cat is oriental, she can escape hands like a shadow and one wouldn’t even know how it happened. I remember talking to a custom lady and telling her how dangerous it was. She then cleared the area, asked all passengers to let us pass first to avoid all the chaos with picking up the rest of the bags from the x-ray and so on.
    It all went well but only because my cat was so scared that she literally jammed into me when I got her out of her cage.

    Poor Jack’s owner. I can’t imagine what she’s been through.

  7. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Alexandra!

    It should be ILLEGAL for the TSA to make owners take pets out of the carriers. How freaking hard is it for them to physically look around inside and see there’s nothing there but the cat? It’s pretty hard to strap bombs to a cat because we scream like hell if you try to put tape on our fur.

    Karen says she has heard tales of pets suffocating in cargo when luggage shifts and the carriers get buried.

    Letting your pet fly out of your sight is just a crap shoot because you can’t count on anybody with the airline giving a sh** whether it survives the trip or not.

    Yes, Jack must have suffered a nightmarish 2 months on the lam at JFK. I’m guessing he became a good mouser in that time. Thank God they found him before he died of thirst.

  8. Alexandra says:

    Well, you know they make people take off their shoes ( at least in Europe, not sure about the States) it means they believe a bomb can fit in there, thus, according to their imagination several bombs can fit inside a cat’s carrier… some special, invisible ones, I guess.

  9. catsworking says:

    Karen says they make Americans take off their shoes, too, thanks to that idiot who tried to blow up his sneaker. It’s a wonder they don’t make everybody take off their underwear after that other guy tried to blow up his underpants.

    Always a day late and a dollar short on the security measures, it seems.

    Maybe they’re worried about cats carrying butt-bombs. I know if I eat my Fancy Feast too fast, I can detonate one that will blow your whiskers off!

  10. Britta says:

    Okay,that being said, we really don’t travel together for recreational pursuits and probably won’t until most of our kitties have passed on to the great rainbow feline divide. We have to plan business trips so that one of us is here to tend to the brood. That being said, have had friends who have traveled great distances with kitties in carriers in the belly of the beast but even if I needed to do so, don’t know that I would ever subject a pet to those environs. Have concerns about the entire process and am not convinced that they are in an ideal transport environment.

  11. annie pelfrey says:

    how bout the idiots who drive around with dogs in their laps and window open- HELLO! steering wheel, air bag, escape…
    i feel for people who have to trust airlines for pet safety

  12. catsworking says:

    Britta, I’m surprised that my sister hasn’t weighed in on this. She flew her cat (a calico named Noel, who comments here) to SCOTLAND in the cargo hold. Had to jump through many hoops stateside first. Shots. Pussport. The works.

    When they came back, Noel flew in the passenger cabin under the seat.

    Personally, I would never risk it.

    annie, dogs is a whole other kettle of — dogs? People who drive with dogs loose in the car or, even worse, in the backs of pickup trucks, should be ticketed and heavily fined — repeatedly — until they learn to stop it.

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