Mews and Nips: Jack the Cat’s Legacy

Jack the cat American Airlines

We reported the sad news Sunday night that Jack the Cat died after being lost at JFK Airport for more than two months and fighting for his life for the past couple of weeks. Many of us felt like we had come to know Jack personally, and mourned his loss almost as much as we would mourn the loss of one of our own cats. According to Jack’s Facebook page, his family is working on a website dedicated to effecting change in how the airlines treat and transport pets.

There is currently a petition making the rounds to create a “Jack the Cat’s Law” that would require the airlines to put GPS (or similar technology) tracking devices on family pets traveling in cargo holds. I don’t know whether this petition is sanctioned by Jack’s family, nor am I convinced that this is a solution to the problem. I think there is a lot more that needs to be changed other than just putting a tracking collar on pets traveling in cargo. Shouldn’t the focus be on making sure that pets don’t get lost in the first place? I’ll keep you updated as more information about the advocacy efforts of Jack’s family becomes available.

In other efforts to honor Jack’s legacy, Jack’s family created a Cafe Press store in memory of Jack to raise funds to cover the expenses incurred while placing the other cats rounded up at the airport during the search for Jack in permanent homes.

kitten rescued from LA storm drain

AJ the kitten may have used up a few of his nine lives when he got trapped in a storm drain in Los Angeles. Live with Cats reports that thanks to the efforts of LA’s SmART (Small Animal Rescue Team) squad, the kitten was saved and is now awaiting adoption. Read the full story on Live with Cats.

cat anatomy facts and fun

Pet365, a UK based website, sent me a cute infographic titled Cat Anatomy and Fascinating Facts. Did you know that cats can’t taste sugary foods due to a faulty sweet receptor gene? As someone with a wicked sweet tooth, I sometimes wish my sweet receptor gene was faulty! Take a look at the complete inforgraphic on Pet365’s website.

I always love it when rescue groups and shelters get creative with their cat adoption advertising campaigns. This video from the Denver Dumb Friends League titled “Need a New Wingman” is exceptional.


Have a great weekend!

Photo sources: Jack the Cat from his Facebook page, photo of AJ from Live with Cats

17 Comments on Mews and Nips: Jack the Cat’s Legacy

  1. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    November 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm (8 years ago)

    To me, the word “cargo” infers something that is stuffed into storage because it is too bulky for proper care. Cats are living, breathing creatures with feelings and emotions. They are not cargo. Surely as a civilized race, we can figure out a way to transport pets in a more humane manner.

    I loved that video – what a wonderful endorsement and testiment to having cats in your life!

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm (8 years ago)

      Isn’t the video wonderful, Deb?

  2. Layla Morgan Wilde
    November 12, 2011 at 11:42 am (8 years ago)

    When I moved from Canada with two cats, I had to buy an extra seat (one cat per seat rule) and Merlin was so freaked out I snuck him out and hid him under a blanket. I would never fly cats cargo. I did once and never again.

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm (8 years ago)

      Allowing/requring people to pay for a seat for their pet so they can be transported in the cabin might actually be a great option, Layla.

  3. Christine
    November 12, 2011 at 11:42 am (8 years ago)

    I ASK ALL OF YOU……Why would anyone open a carrier at the airport? I do know that most of those people working in that part of the airport ARE NOT ANIMAL PEOPLE, so, I would imagine things are done half you know what. If a carrier has to be open for whatever reason, then, it should be taken into a small room with DOORS so that if the animal were to escape, it could easily be caught and returned to it’s kennel. HOW HARD IS THAT TO DO? It isn’t….but if you are not an animal person, why go to the trouble? IT SICKENS me to know that ANY ANIMAL gets lost. WHAT A HORRIFIC NIGHTMARE for an animal to go through. Bad enough to be so scared….and then to get lost and usually die a horrible death. GOD BLESS THE VOICELESS.

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm (8 years ago)

      Perhaps having a dedicated airline employee who handles pet carriers – someone who knows how to work with animals – could make a difference.

    • mikken
      November 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm (8 years ago)

      It’s worse than that, Christine – Jack’s carrier was dropped/fell from a high enough pile that it broke open on impact, which is how he got out. Animals are handled by airlines like luggage – roughly and without a thought for what’s inside.

      A wholesale change needs to happen with how animals are handled. Being left on hot tarmac, crates left out in the sun or exposed to cold temperatures/weather, animals let out by employees “for a little bit to play”, etc. all needs to stop. Bad enough that the animals are in the cargo hold, but what they go through getting there and getting unloaded is unacceptable.

      • Christine
        November 13, 2011 at 11:41 am (8 years ago)

        MIKKEN…..I never read all the details on Jack’s nightmare. I couldn’t, because, it upsets me so bad and then ANGER sets in. THIS SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED and it SHOULD NEVER EVER HAPPEN IN ANY AIRPORT. Are there not cameras in all those locations at airports? HEADS WOULD ROLL. I would sue the airline and whomever else was responsible. THIS NEEDS to stay in the news and hopefully things will change. I would even support every airport having an animal rescue volunteer in that location being the EYES for the VOICELESS. Yes, they could have clearance as the employees have. Sad, that we have to watch humans like kids so that they will do THE JOB they were hired to do. Having volunteered in animal rescue for 16 years in 3 different states, I can tell you there are MANY people who could care less about the welfare of animals. I hope the owner of JACK pursues this TO THE END and never gives up. I know I wouldn’t. THE ANIMALS NEED US to be their voices and their eyes.

  4. Katnip Lounge
    November 12, 2011 at 11:13 am (8 years ago)

    As a person who views animals as fellow sentient beings, I think flying pets, etc in cargo is inhumane. I like the idea of a reserved pet section. People can pay more for first class, why can’t they purchase a seat for their pet?

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm (8 years ago)

      A special section for passengers flying with pets sounds like a good idea to me, too.

  5. Courtney
    November 12, 2011 at 10:56 am (8 years ago)

    I shed a tear when I learned of Jack’s plight. And a pox on AA, which used to be my favorite airline, that they did not give Karen a free ticket to be with poor Jack at the end. That poor baby had to be lost and then die without his companion, which just makes me feel horrible about the airline!

    As long as they are in their carriers, cats and small dogs should be able to travel with their humans. And larger dogs need a special area of a plane, not cargo, where it purportedly gets extremely cold. Many of them get sick there. As for the GPS, yes it is a good idea. Our beloved animals are already scared travelling but at least if they get lost and have on a tracker, we would be able to quickly find them.

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm (8 years ago)

      I’m not saying that I think that the GPS is a bad idea, Courtney – I just don’t think it’s going to solve the whole problem.

  6. Esme
    November 12, 2011 at 9:59 am (8 years ago)

    Ingrid, what suggestions would you have? Rumpy makes a great point. Airlines do not care-there is nothing else to be said. I do not comprehend why I cannot place my carrier on the seat next to me- if I paid for the seat. do not tell me the dangers-it cannot be on the aisle is my solution- I know this may not be “PC” we allow disabled people, children and the obese to have seats and in an emergency they will not be as quick to respond if they can at all. I do understand for some people they are allergic and would not want to be next to an animal. That is a separate issue. Once again I have had to sit next to someone who smokes like a chimney, wore too much perfume-I once had a woman bring out her nail polish and had to ask the flight attendant’s to speak to her about not doing her nails in a non ventilated area. I am not saying people should be made to sit next to an animal-just reserve the back and have it noted you are within so many rows of an animal. Often times I would sooner it was an animal rather than a person next to me.

    AA did not even have the decency to fly Karen back to NY to be with Jack when he was euthanized. I cannot even begin to express how outraged and disgusted I am about what happened to this poor kitty and his family.

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 10:51 am (8 years ago)

      I don’t really know what it would take to make flying safer for pets, Esme. Flying in cabin would definitely be safer than flying in cargo, but probably not practical for animals too large to fit in a carrier that can fit under the seat. Allowing more than two small pets per flight in cabin would be a good start. Allergies are certainly an issue, and I like your idea of assigning certain rows of a flight for passengers flying with pets. Not requiring people flying with pets to take them out of their carriers to go through security would also help (even though that’s not how Jack got lost, this is a huge safety concern for people flying with cats).

      It is my understanding that Karen flew home on Saturday, and there were no flights available to get her back to New York in time to be with Jack when he was euthanized.

      • Esme
        November 13, 2011 at 12:18 am (8 years ago)

        Ingrid, that is my understanding that there were no flights available-I am sure if they told her to show up at the airport standby-numerous people would have given up their seat-these airlines have agreements with other airlines even if they are not in their “group”. AA could have found her a flight if they wanted to. As I think you know what happened to Jack just breaks my heart. My poor kitties have received many tear soaked hugs this week.

  7. Rumpy Drummond
    November 12, 2011 at 7:17 am (8 years ago)

    I agree with you that the GPS may not be a solution. To take an animal that’s already scared and put a foreign device on him or her seems cruel.

    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2011 at 7:28 am (8 years ago)

      That’s a really good point, Rumpy – I hadn’t even thought about that aspect.


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