JFK cat in ICU following rescue at customs room

Jack the cat was found last week in a customs room at a JFK terminal. Photo via Facebook
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Even though the first sight of her cat after it spent two months on the lam in John F. Kennedy International Airport was when he was in critical condition in a animal ICU, Karen Pascoe said she was glad that her pet was safe.

Pascoe saw Jack the cat during the weekend at a veterinarian hospital in Forest Hills and said that although he cannot eat on his own, he is showing progress. Vets are waiting until the feline can build up his strength and recover from the malnurishment he suffered while hiding at JFK before Jack can finally be reunited with his owner at her new home in San Jose, Calif.

“It felt great to see him. It was definitely good to spend some time with him,” Pascoe said in a phone interview.

Pascoe said she was relieved when she got the news Oct. 25 that American Airlines had found Jack in the ceiling of the customs room at Terminal 8 at the airport.

Exactly two months earlier, Pascoe was flying to California to move from Manhattan to her new home and planning to take Jack and his feline brother Barry with her on the flight. The two pets were put in kennels and were about to be placed in the plane when somehow Jack broke out and disappeared.

American Airlines officials began searching for Jack, but their efforts stalled two days later when the airport was shut down in preparation for Hurricane Irene.

The crews at the airport got a boost from cat-friendly supporters who were moved by Pascoe’s story. A Facebook fan page “Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK,” was immediately created and thousands of pet lovers pledged their support for the owner.

Two weeks ago members of the fan page, which had more than 22,600 fans as of press time Tuesday, combed JFK and asked airport employees to be on the lookout for Jack.

In the end, it was the cat that found the crews.

Jack dropped down from the ceiling right near American staff members who were in the customs room.

“He was basically hiding in the ceiling or the HVAC vents,” Pascoe said.

The cat was immediately taken to the airport’s vet center, where workers scanned his identification tag and confirmed that he was the missing feline. The news excited the fans on the Facebook page who have been giving their regards for a speedy recovery since last week.

“I’m beyond happy that Jack was found especially once people started losing hope and wanting to give up. Just shows the power of a loving owner and determined animal lovers coming together to reunite a family,” Tracy Michelle, one of the fans, posted on the page’s wall.

American Airlines acknowledged and expressed its appreciation for the fan page’s support during the two-month ordeal.

“We thank the friends of Jack for their ongoing search efforts outside the JFK perimeter and share everyone’s relief that he has been found,” American spokesman Jonathan Price said in a statement.

The airline has said it will fly the cat to California once it is given a clean bill of health.

When Jack does return home, he will be treated to a pleasant surprise: a new sibling. Pascoe said she adopted a new cat named Nilly two weeks ago to keep Barry company while she was away at work.

“I was taking the new cat to the vet when I got the call about Jack,” she said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Posted 8:40 pm, November 2, 2011
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