Animal lovers gathered at JFK on Saturday for Jack the Cat Awareness Day, to commemorate the life of the fluffy orange cat whose disappearance at the hands of American Airlines spawned a Facebook page and a PR nightmare.
Jack was last seen in the cargo area at JFK on Aug. 25 when his owner, Karen Pascoe, checked the 18-pound feline in for a flight to California where Pascoe was to begin a new job.
About 30 minutes later, a baggage supervisor called Pascoe to inform her that Jack's crate was empty. An initial search did not turn up any clues in the mystery of how Jack the cat's crate fell open as he waited for cargo handlers to load him onto the jet.
However, a Department of Transportation Pet Incident Report released Oct. 13 revealed that Jack's kennel fell when it was stacked on top of another kennel. Jack then escaped.
The incident left Jack's closest feline friend, Pascoe's other cat Barry, alone. Barry and Pascoe eventually flew to California, without Jack.
A Twitter profile set up for Jack jokes, I'm a sneaky little cat who got out of my carrier and away from my brother, Barry. I'm having the time of my nine lives!
The story could have easily ended with the disappearance, but Jack's fame grew steadily over the last two months. Jack's Facebook page has nearly 16,000 followers and Jack had a steady presence on American Airlines' own Facebook page for a time.
The airline was heavily criticized for not acting quickly enough to find him in the first hours after Jack's disappearance. Several Jack the cat supporters have threatened to boycott American Airlines if they do not find the missing pet.
The goal of Saturday's event was to spread awareness about Jack to the airport's more than 37,000 employees.
You could be surprised the amount of people at JFK that are not aware that Jack is missing Bonnie Folz, one of the lead searchers, said in a statement on Saturday. There are construction workers, shop workers, store workers, garage cleaners, garage security, terminal security, and a whole lot more. Any one of them could be the one who sees Jack, but they need to know he is missing.
American Airlines notes that it has gone out of its way to help, hiring a pet detective, flying Pascoe back from California to help with the search, and placing food, water and humane traps in the cargo area.
We continue our internal investigation as to how Jack escaped, American Airlines said in its most recent statement on Facebook. Once we fully understand what happened, we will do everything possible to learn from this situation going forward in an attempt to prevent it from happening again. For so many of us at American Airlines, our pets are very much our family members, too.
For now, the search continues for Jack, the big, fluffy, light orange cat with copper eyes.
Below is a YouTube tribute to Jack the Cat: