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Jack the cat is still lost at JFK airport

Courtesy Karen Pascoe

Jack the cat has been missing at JFK airport since Aug. 25, shortly after owner Karen Pascoe checked him in with American Airlines.

(UPDATED Sept. 1, 7:20 p.m. ET):  Karen Pascoe has accepted American Airlines' offer to fly her back to New York's Kennedy airport to look for her missing cat.

“I'm working with AA to get out there by Friday a.m.,” said Pascoe, who added that there have been no Jack sightings as of Wednesday.

Pascoe plans to enlist the help of a pet recovery specialist and a rescue dog. In a statement released Thursday, the airline said it will include Pascoe in the search effort and retain the services of the "pet detective" she requested.

American is reviewing closed-circuit TV footage to see if it can figure out how Jack escaped.

Jack the cat has been on the loose in the American Airlines baggage center at the airport since Aug. 25, shortly before Hurricane Irene barreled through town. The airport was shut down for most of the weekend, but reopened Monday.

Pascoe was flying with her two adopted cats, Jack and Barry, to San Francisco last Thursday to start a new job in California.

The cats, too big to fit comfortably in one under-the-seat cat carrier, were flying in separate carriers as cargo. But shortly after the cats were checked in, Jack went missing.

“I said goodbye to cats and then went to get dinner,” said Pascoe. “And then I got a call from American letting me know Jack was out of the kennel.”

The cat didn’t appear when Pascoe went to the baggage area to call out to Jack. Pascoe had to leave without finding him because the other cat and the rest of her luggage were on the last flight to San Francisco. “That’s a giant baggage area, and he was nowhere to be found. At best I knew he was hiding somewhere,” said Pascoe.

Pascoe was assured the airline would keep looking for Jack and that she’d get a call with an update the next day. But no one called, and when Pascoe tried calling the baggage area on the weekend, no one answered the phone.

“I respect the fact that a hurricane was coming and things were a bit challenging,” said Pascoe, “but I didn’t hear from American until about 60 hours later.”

American's silence prompted Pascoe’s sister to set up the “Jack the Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK” Facebook page over the weekend, which now has more than 8,000 fans. Pascoe also set up a Twitter account about the search for Jack. 

Many pet lovers also posted notes on American Airlines’ Facebook page urging them to find Jack, prompting the airline to post responses about its efforts to locate the missing cat.

“Our JFK employees are using a variety of methods to try to find Jack, including setting cans of cat food by his kennel," American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle told msnbc.com. "Additionally, we are working with the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City to assist in providing humane animal traps … We offer our sincere regrets for this incident and are doing everything possible to locate him.”

Pascoe credits Facebook and Twitter, and other animal lovers, with getting the airline to finally pay attention. She said she finally got a call from someone at American Airlines on Sunday and on Monday spoke with an assigned contact person in the airline’s central baggage claim department four times.

“I can’t help but feel a little frustrated that they didn’t have a better procedure in place,” said Pascoe, “but they’re finally stepping up and are on their game to help me.”

Find more by Harriet Baskas on Stuck at The Airport.com and follow her on Twitter.

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