Jack the Cat loses recovery battle

Jack the Cat died earlier this week after doctors said they could not save him from his severe injuries. This is the last photo that was released of the popular pet. Photo courtesy of BluePearl Veterinary Partners
TimesLedger Newspapers

Pet lovers from across the world are mourning the loss of Jack the Cat, who fought to regain his strength following a two-month disappearance at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and some are taking aim at the airline that had custody of him before he was to board the plane with his owner.

Vets euthanized the cat Sunday after they determined that the physical damage he suffered during his time on the lam was too severe, according to a spokeswoman for Blue Pearl vet centers, which had been caring for Jack since he was rescued at the airport Oct. 25.

“Our doctors tried every possible thing, but his condition took a turn for the worse over the weekend,” Blue Pearl spokeswoman Joanne Lynch said.

His owner, Karen Pascoe, was with him during his final hours and was not available for comment.

The cat was transferred to the Blue Pearl facility, at 410 W. 55 St., last Thursday and the next day the veterinarians caring for him said he was out of critical condition.

But then he took a turn for the worse shortly after that, according to the hospital.

The cat had extensive injuries to his back and those wounds could not heal because the severe malnutrition he suffered caused his skin to deteriorate, the vet center said. The animal health specialists compared his skin condition to his having severe burns to 50 percent to 60 percent of his body.

After talking with Pascoe, who flew to New York over the weekend to be with her pet for the last time, the doctors put the 5-year-old feline to sleep, according to Lynch.

News of Jack’s death stunned the growing online community that has been following his story since his disappearance at the American Airlines terminal at JFK Aug. 25. Hundreds posted on the Facebook page, Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK, which had more than 25,000 fans as of Tuesday following the announcement of his death. “That is so sad. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart is hurting. RIP sweet Jack,” fan Kathy Nix posted.

Pascoe was moving from Manhattan to the West Coast with Jack and his cat brother Barry when Jack somehow escaped from his kennel in the terminal’s baggage room. Crews searched for weeks for the cat, but could not find him initially.

The Facebook fans and Pascoe, who adopted another cat, Nilly, did not give up hope and held “Jack the Cat Awareness” days when they combed the airport and pushed JFK employees to keep up the search.

Two months to the day he went missing, the cat fell from the ceiling of the terminal’s customs room and was immediately taken for treatment.

American Airlines expressed its condolences to Pascoe for her loss on its Facebook page.

“From all of us at American, our sincere apologies to Karen and Jack’s family and friends. We also thank all of you who have provided support, ideas, kindness and understanding for Jack along the way,” the airline said in a statement.

Jack’s fans, however, blasted American for failing to keep him secure in the first place and many threatened on the company’s Facebook page to never use its services again.

“Nothing you can say to make this right. NOTHING!” Darlene Triplett Jones posted on the page.

Lynch said she does not know if there were any funeral arrangements for the cat.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Reader Feedback

lynn from New Jersey says:
I have been following this story for the past two months. That poor cat what he went through, just becasue someone did not do their job!!!! I will never ever fly American Airlines never....Jack you beautiful orange kitty, rest now baby boy....I love you and will not forget you.....You are an angel in kitty heaven....
Nov. 10, 2011, 9:54 am
Tara says:
Jack was probably frightened, and escaped like a flash. Maybe neglegence, or just ignorant of cat behavior. The employees sounded like they cared and tried their best. For all us cat lovers, we can be pretty sure, Jack was not willing to come out for anyone, not matter how hungry he was. I have two brother cats, and would not wish this sad incident to happen to them or me, but I would not think to blame an entire airline.
Nov. 10, 2011, 10:11 am
Lynn from Florida says:
The problem is not just with American; it's the entire airline industry's handling of companion animals as cargo. Jack was more famous than most, but many other animals die in transit every year. It's a small percentage of the total who fly, but at the prices the airlines charge to ship animals, the expectation that they arrive alive should be the minimum. Let's hope that poor Jack's fate will spur some changes that keep this from happening to anyone's pet again.
Nov. 10, 2011, 4:56 pm
Martha from Bayside, NY says:
Why would a pet owner trust anyone to transport his/her animal safely on a plane?

I would never have put my cat on that plane unless it was in my lap, PERIOD.

I hold the owners responsible for the welfare of their animals. Would you put your child in a cargo section of a plane and let someone else be sure that the carrier was locked? I would NOT.

If the owner wants to transport the cat, either drive all the way to California or make sure that the carrier is never out of her own hands.

When are people going to show a sense of responsibility for their animals?
Nov. 12, 2011, 10:34 am

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