American Airlines is scrambling to show the public that employees are working hard to find a cat they lost at JFK... after the kitty's distraught owner launched a social media campaign. Last Thursday Karen Pascoe and her two cats went to JFK for a flight to San Fransisco, where Pascoe was relocating for a new job. After clearing security, she bid goodbye to her two pets as the American Airlines handler was putting the plastic ties around the kennel door. But before boarding her flight, she got a call that one of her cats was missing. On the Facebook page Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK, she writes (in the third person):

[Karen] began working with Valerie Latty from Customer Service who took me to inbound baggage claim where Jack was lost. Inbound baggage claim is a HUGE area... and Jack was nowhere to be seen. After checking for over an hour (missing flight 177 and being re-booked onto flight 17), she boarded the later flight, assured that they would call her as soon as Jack was found.

Karen was given the following number to contact American Airlines at Central Baggage Service: 972-425-6565. She has left several messages and has not yet been contacted by anyone in that office. She was also told by Valerie Latty that she would receive a proactive call from Customer Service on Friday.

For three days, she heard nothing, and repeated calls to her contacts in Customer Service and the baggage claim area went unanswered. When she finally got someone on the phone, she was told they "had not yet been able to get humane traps." The manager also told Pascoe that "the last time this happened, it took about a month to find the cat." Increasingly desperate, she started the Twitter hashtag #findjackthecat and the Facebook page, which has 1,400 likes. This got American Airlines' attention, and the airline now has a statement about the search for Jack front and center on its Facebook page:

We repeat our apologies for the upset caused by this situation, and wanted to share an update in our efforts to find Jack:

* American has offered Jack’s owner, Karen, a flight to New York to personally visit the JFK operation and help assist with search efforts.
* American has consulted with the Mayor’s Alliance Society for NYC to set up Have-A-Heart humane traps that are being placed throughout the area.
* Food and water has been placed around the operation since Thursday.
* If Jack feels comfortable returning to his kennel, we have placed food and water inside as well.
* Employees, including the American Airlines Managing Director in JFK, have walked the entire operation in search.
* All airside equipment, such as bag carts are being inspected.
* The Port Authority of New York has been contacted with information and posters. They are fully cooperating in the search and distributing posters to other businesses on the airport property.
* AA has placed posters in employee break-rooms, on the ramp, and throughout our JFK facility.
* An alert is being placed on electronic bulletin boards visible to all employees from all departments.
* “Vet Port” has been alerted and is supporting the effort. Vet Port is a veterinary service used by airlines and business local to the airport property where a lost pet would be turned in.
* Access from the airside ramp area leading into the terminal building are being inspected and monitored.

We will continue searching, and as soon as we have any more information, we will share it with the community.

Most commenters on the AA Facebook wall have reacted scornfully to the airline's belated damage control. "Glad that finally AA is doing something to find the poor cat, although sad that it took media coverage for them to finally react," writes Lyda Zambrano. "In 2004 AA left my cat stranded for hours at the Miami airport and nobody noticed that he was still in the luggage area instead of inside the plane to Dallas. I spent 5 hours on the phone trying to locate him and finally they realize that they have left my cat behind. That was the last time I flew with AA now I only fly my cat with Continental. All these issues could have been avoided if AA would allow pets in the cabin."

We reached out to Pascoe to see if she would take American Airlines up on the offer to come search for Jack, whom she rescued from the NYCACC several years ago. We'll update as we know more! [Via The NY Observer]