As one of more than 20,000 followers of Jack the Cat (whose saga was chronicled on the "Jack the Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK" facebook page), I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear that the lovely creamsicle-colored feline died today. Along with all those other cat lovers, I had followed the search for him – a search that resulted in many other strays and ferals being rounded up (and adopted, thanks to the thousands of "FoJs" or friends of Jack). I rejoiced when he was found, falling through a ceiling tile into the airport customs office. I read about his care, looking up the fatty liver disease that so often occurs in malnourished cats. And I celebrated prematurely when his condition was upgraded from "critical" to "stable." I thought he was out of the woods, and looked forward to following along with his recuperation and eventual trip home. It was not to be. After being lost for 61 days, Jack was simply unable to fight off infections, and according to his facebook page, died today.
Pets die. We all know that. And in this world, animals suffer – often needlessly, too often from our own cruelty and negligence. However, more than 20,000 people across the world came together to support, search for, and root for Jack. Together the FoJ have saved other feline lives – some helping to transport adopted cats across the country, others chiming in with offers of donations (AA paid the bills, as well they should have) and support.
Now, let's take the action one step one further. Let's call our legislators, sign petitions, write letters. Jack did not "escape" of his own free will. Jack was lost in the bowels of AA because of employee carelessness. He was lost because his crate was not in a secure area. He was lost - and subsequently died - because AA did not treat him right. Airline regulations regarding the transport of animals need to change.
Just emailed AA via the company page to say I would not fly AA until and unless they change their policies (Jack's crate was stacked, fell, and split open - careless and avoidable, then the search really only started when the FoJ kicked up a fuss). I recommend other FoJs do the same: http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/customerRelations.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=customerrelations