Today, August 25, 2012, marks the one year anniversary of the day when Jack the Cat went missing in the baggage area of American Airlines at JFK Airport in NYC. Within days, thanks to the savvy of Mary Beth Melchior, sister to Jack’s petmom Karen Pascoe, Jack had an army of supporters and had received widespread media coverage that made his case known worldwide.
Multiple searches both within and outside of the airport by employees, a pet detective and volunteers failed to find the missing cat, who was not seen again until, weak from extreme deprivation, he fell through ceiling tiles in the customs room two months later on October 25. At that time, Karen Pascoe could not help but remember a remark from an earlier communication between herself and a representative from the airline, who told her that missing cats were usually found when they died and their bodies fell through the ceiling.
Amid rejoicing from thousands who had followed the case online, Jack was taken for veterinary care and was reportedly on the mend, but the multiple effects of his going without food and water for 61 days were too much for his body to overcome, and his family sadly made the decision to let him go on November 6. Karen Pascoe was able to fly back East to see Jack again after he was found, and to give him love before his passing.
Despite the airline’s statements that Jack’s crate was defective and that was why he went missing, the cat’s ordeal and death, and his family’s heartache, were caused by airline employee error. A DOT Pet Incident Report released by the agency in October of 2011 revealed that Jack’s crate was stacked on top of another crate on a baggage cart. It toppled off, fell to the ground and broke open, causing the cat to panic and run.
The saga that spanned less than three months created a great sense of community, raised awareness about the multiple dangers to pets of cargo air travel, spawned at least a few notable missing pet recovery and transport groups, and managed to rescue and rehome several “not Jack” airport cats in the process.
Jack has left a legacy of community and activism that bring some good from his unnecessary suffering and death. Mary Beth Melchior started the non-profit foundation Where is Jack, Inc., that is dedicated to making travel safer for pets. Mary Beth and Karen Pascoe have both traveled to NY this weekend, and are spending this afternoon with their friends and supporters, thanking and honoring them, at a luncheon for FOJs (Friends of Jack) at Howard Beach, NY.
The first public photo from the luncheon has already popped up on the Facebook page that brought the case of one missing cat to worldwide attention and inspired thousands, Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK.
For full coverage on Jack at our site, click HERE.
Jack and his kitty sibling, in happier times.
5 thoughts on “Remembering Jack, One Year Later”
I’m so sad to read yet another dreadful story like this. Airlines here have very strict rules about the crates we fly our pets in, they have to be made to stringent airline standards of heavy duty plastic moulding to withstand drops like this & they have double clip door fasteners that are difficult to undo. They also changed it that they have to be fastened with multiple bolts not twist clips. I had a large crate that my 3 cats flew in together & it was so strong a man could stand on it without it buckling. Are there any moves to make the airlines improve their pet security requirements after this?
What an awesomely gorgeous cat! So very sorry he didn’t make it. Wouldn’t you think if the airline knew about the cats falling through the roof they would have a way of checking it out when cats disappeared? This car was obvious too terrified to come down to anyone. Really awful!