Lost cat creates American Airlines headache

It apparently escaped its cage in a New York airport on Aug. 25 and still can't be found. So feline lovers have taken Jack's cause to Facebook.

By Kim Peterson Aug 30, 2011 7:46PM
American Airlines (AMR) is in hot water after a cat it was supposed to transport apparently escaped his cage.

Jack has been missing since Aug. 25, when his owner, Karen Pascoe, checked him and his brother in as cargo for a flight from John F. Kennedy airport to California. It didn't take long for Jack to go missing. Pascoe was called by the airline soon after she cleared security, CBS reports.

She searched the inbound baggage area for an hour with no luck and eventually boarded a later flight with her other cat, Barry. The airline promised to keep searching. Jack still hasn't been found.

Cat lovers are ratcheting up the pressure on American, and Jack is now famous. A Facebook page with his picture has more than 4,000 fans. The news is spreading, and the last thing American wants is another embarrassing episode like United Airlines (UAL) faced with the United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube.

Tuesday evening, American issued a Facebook update on Jack, saying it will fly Pascoe to New York this weekend to help with the search and see what the airline is doing to locate the cat.

The update borders on the ridiculous. The airline is having daily briefings to review its progress and has even brought in representatives from the Port Authority of New York, including a wildlife management person, to participate.

American is looking into animal-tracking services, such as a search dog, and is reviewing its closed-circuit television footage in hopes of finding Jack. "We understand that a cat is a loved family member for so many (people), including many of our own employees, and we are doing our utmost to find Jack," the airline said.

I know where I would go if I were Jack. Starting this week, American will start offering some international first- and business-class travelers a quilted bed topper, pajamas and slippers, a duvet, a pillow and an amenity kit, Consumerist reports.

A quilted bed topper is just what a tired kitty needs. American might want to check its first-class areas just in case.

Tags: amr
Aug 31, 2011 7:02AM
Ok first of all, all you people bitching about how you "would never dream of putting ur animals through such hell" I live in Guam with my husband who is Air Force, we came to Guam from the UK around 3 years ago and would never have dreamed of leaving our GSD behind. We got to Guam and have since adopted two more dogs and two cats (to a total of 5 animals) we will be taking our family with us to wherever we will be located next, I'll be damned if Im just going to find them "new homes" because we dont want to put then through the hell of shipping" I think that being apart from their family members of 3 years would be bad enough. So for all of you that want to moan and complain, do it elsewhere, our animals follow our service members wherever they go.....unless you want to do our service members jobs for them???
Aug 31, 2011 9:07AM

I was living in South Korea with my husband in the Army. We took in a cat over there, and she became my little shadow. You can bet that I brought her back with me!


 If you think its impossible or hard to travel with a cat, you're wrong. I flew Delta and Korean Air with my cat and it was fantastic. You do have to fill out paperwork when flying to foreign countries, but that's the hardest part. I bought a soft carrier, and she flew  with me in the cabin by my feet. I just lost some foot room, and in coach that was a little rough, but at least I'm short, so I survived.


They do NOT put the animal through the X-ray machines where your carry on luggage goes through. You have to remove your pet from the carrier, put the carrier through the machine, and hold your pet as you walk through the metal detectors. Then you put it back in its carrier.


I was skeptical about how she'd fly, but she didn't make a peep! When people saw me carrying her on the way out of the plane, so many people were like "There was a CAT on the plane? What a good kitty!" I think the crowds made her nervous enough to keep quiet. (She normally makes quite a fuss if she's in the carrier in my car, or even in the house, but for some reason, not in the airport or plane).


For everyone saying this article isn't important, you obviously either don't fly much, or don't love your pet. For many of us, our pets are part of our family. We pay a lot of money to fly, and we trust the airline to do their job correctly. If they lost a child, wouldn't that be important? And why is it, if they do their job wrong, it isn't important? If most of us screwed up so badly, we'd definitely be out of jobs. This IS an article worth reading. It puts pressure on the lazy airlines to step it up a notch. I think we need to drastically improve customer service and quality in many industries here in America, the Airlines being no different.


For people more concerned with the "starving people" and "hurricane victims" why are you spending your time criticizing this article instead of reading up on how you can help those causes you're concerned about? Try spreading some postitive energy instead of all the negative. We have enough bad kharma going on around here.

Aug 31, 2011 9:35AM
Hey LusciousDC, I'm sure the person missing their cat cares. Why do people like you submit comments that don't pertain to the story being reported?  There are plenty of stories about what you are talking about, why don't you go find one.  Basically what you are saying is that because you are not interested in this story it should not be printed.  Last time I checked this is America and people like you can't dictate what is written. 
Aug 31, 2011 11:20AM
One or two persons have commented that a lost cat is not a world-wide issue.  Why mess with it?  No it is not earth shattering.  But it is something that hurt a fellow human being's personal world.  Though I no longer have a pet, I have had dogs and cats that I loved very much.  If one were lost, would I appreciate others searching for it? Yes I would.  It just shows that people have hearts, no only for catastrophic events but for the little "Good Samaritan" type events.  Some made comments that made absolutely no sense relating to the article.  Others showed they simply don't care.  That's too bad.  A little loving and caring for humanity doesn't hurt and who knows might start a revolution of brotherhood.  A pipe dream, I know.
Aug 31, 2011 10:55AM

My father brought me up to believe that it is important to look after animals because they are defenceless in human society. I cannot believe the comments not caring about this little creature. Human error occurs in everything and blaming is not helping. I am heartbroken about this story, and hope this sweet cat is found soon.

Jack's welfare is much more important to me than that of Dick Cheney, by the way.

P.S. My darling father's name was Jack.

Aug 31, 2011 4:56AM
1) CATS and DOGS are not CARGO. They are family members. We travel with them or we don't travel. Children and the elderly are also inconvenient but we don't ship them as cargo.

2) American Airlines is one of the worst airlines you can fly on. Bad service, on and off the ground, rude employees, long lines at the airport, lost lugagge etc. After my experience last year, I will pay extra money to avoid AA anytime.

Aug 31, 2011 7:27AM
The ONE time I flew my cat, I found an airline that would let me fly him in the passenger compartment with me! I had to buy a 'soft side' carrier and the Vet gave me some 'organic' kitty tranquilizers to calm his nerves (he hates riding in the car), but Rusty was the hit of the flight... Every once in a while he would meow and people were delighted to know there was a cat on board. I was able to soothe his nerves and give him little sips of water comfort him.
I fear that the cat got out and got squashed and AA doesn't want to tell that young lady her cat is gone.

And  who would wear pajamas on an airplane? Goodness!

Aug 31, 2011 5:07AM
This is exactly why neither myself, nor either of my two cats, Eddie or Maury, will ever fly at all. We are happy to travel on the ground ... together !
Aug 31, 2011 8:47AM
For reasons so obviously pointed out above, I travel on the ground with my beloved Maine Coon cat.  I could never leave her in a cargo hold.  She does fit quite nicely in a soft sided carrier and she's a great traveler as she used to be a show cat.  She's a great traveler and rarely ever complains

I used to have two cats but lost one about a year and a half ago when I was a traveling on the East Coast.  It was devastating to have to put him down in a strange place with a strange vet.  He did not like traveling and would yowl the first half hour on the road but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

If you love your pets, take a vacation nearby and take them with you. Or leave them with someone you trust to take care of them properly.

This woman had no choice.  I know what it's like to have limited relocation funds and she, like a lot of Americans thought the airline would see her beloved Jack safely home in California.

Stop beating her over the head.  I am sure she is sick with worry and berating herself enough.

Hopefully Jack will be found.  He is a beautiful cat.  I hope he turns up soon.

I won't fly any airline that won't allow me to bring my cat into the main cabin with me. Sure, it's $150 extra, but the peace of mind is more than worth the fee. Flying is terrifying enough for any dog or cat, and then to be separated from its owner during the flight borders on cruelty.

And yeah, I've had instances where other animals have been loud or obnoxious during the flight, but you have to consider the trauma they must be going through, especially if its their first time on a plane.

Maybe airlines will eventually have certain flights that allow children and pets, and flights that are strictly "adult humans only". That would solve the problem for travelers who are either allergic to dogs or cats, or who don't want to be bothered with small children.

Of all the airlines I've flown, I've found Virgin America to be, by far, the most accommodating. Their flight attendants have always gone out of their way to make sure that my cat is doing okay during the flight, even going so far as to bring him bowls of water and making him a little food plate.

I really hope American finds Jack; I know how devastated Karen must be, as I know how sad I'd be if I ever lost Abby...
Aug 31, 2011 8:16AM
Sounds to me like there is an airport employee with a new kitty...!
Aug 30, 2011 11:57PM
This is why I am afraid to fly with my two cats and dog.  Airline employees are careless and don't care about pets.  Our pets are beloved members of our families.  I dread moving overseas for precisely this reason.  Don't want my babies in cargo.
Aug 31, 2011 9:18AM
Something few people know is that if there is a problem with the plane the first thing the pilot does is to depressurize the cargo hold which will kill any pets in there.  Most airlines are very careless about pets. I would never put any of my dogs in cargo. If I cant drive to my destination I wont go.
Aug 31, 2011 5:09AM
Aug 31, 2011 6:55AM

I guess Tummy isn't a cat lover. I am and it preturbs me that an airline would be so careless with someone else's "loved one". We all have loved ones which include people and animals, so Tummy please try to at least understand that even if you don't care for animals.

I do wonder how this incident was allowed to happen? Were they putting the cat into a carrier or did the cage door come open or what? How come they don't do these things inside a room with a closed door to it? That is a simple common sense thing to do and why was it not done? Duhhhh, because they just don't care enough I suspect!

At the very least they should fly the owner of the cat for free so she can hopefully retrieve him from wherever he is hiding! It's going to take more than an hour to find him because cats that are shy or frightened don't come out readily even if their owner is calling them. I had a cat that I had to keep calling for more than 1/2 day because she had been missing for 4 days and she is the shy and sensitive type. Better take some water and food right away to this cat because it is probably VERY dehydrated by now if it hasn't found any water to drink. I think the heating ducts could be a place that it might hide in or the staff lunch rooms possibly. Sad that the airline has waited 5 days now to decide to search the security tapes (?) Why wasn't that done the day the cat went missing? Geez I'm sorry but I certainly WON"T be flying with that airline!

Aug 31, 2011 4:29AM
But seriously...Put your baby in the cargo hold? Why not box him up and ship him FedEx? I love my 5 cats too much to trust them to strangers.
Aug 31, 2011 10:06AM

My Dog and I DROVE from Michigan to Washington State (her first time on a long trip), We had a ball!!  She got to sniff all kinds of things she would have never sniffed living in the Big City.

We had even more fun on the return trip....We drove back w/5  live Chickens!!!

Yes we made it home safe and sound.

If we had of flown we wouldn't have had so much fun at all of the rest stops.  The Chickens were the hit of the trip.

She's now gone after 14 years together and that was I think the best time of her short time w/me.


Aug 31, 2011 4:16AM
This why,,the last two times I crossed the U.S.,,,I drove,,I wanted and needed to get to my destination,,a lot sooner than 5 days,,but my cat took priority over my needs,,and besides,,I could have NEVER put him down in a cargo hold,,I wouldn't fly down there so why should he.We crossed twice,,,3000 miles,,he's infamous because of it.If I could travel and could afford it,,I would fly up there and help locate him.Best of luck at finding Jack.
In reading some of these judgmental comments, I am not surprised but will comment anyway. what a bunch of jerks. Is this story earth shattering, no. Is this story affecting you personally, no. But, its a story that is affecting this woman. Pets are a part of our families, and we feel responsible for them and its hurtful to think that something that you did may have harmed your pet. Outside of that, however this pet was this woman's property and she left it in the care of the staff at american airlines who were negligent. That is why they are going through the trouble as millions of people travel with pets annually and the last thing they want is a rep as incompetent when it comes to transporting people's property. Either way, its a sad little story about a scared, lost little cat and his owner who desperately wants him home safely. I pray that Jack is found safe and sound. Again, to the people who jumped all on this woman, selfish jerks. How would you feel if this were your pet, or your property.
Aug 31, 2011 11:23AM
I think checking your pet like a piece of baggage is just mean.  How do people think the pet feels, being abandoned to strangers in a strange unfamiliar environment and not knowing what the heck is going on?  I'd never do that, I would either take my pet with me in the passenger cabin or not at all. 
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