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Queens Chronicle

Jack the Cat dies after getting lost at airport

Feline’s wounds were too grave for him to survive, veterinarians say

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Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:13 pm, Thu Dec 1, 2011.

The cards keep coming.

So do the toys. And the blankets.

All mailed by people who, less than a week ago, knew Jack the Cat was alive — and wanted him, and his owner, to know people across the globe were hoping for the best.

Instead, the worst came. Jack died on Sunday, 12 days after he was found in JFK International Airport, where the 5-year-old Norwegian forest cat had been lost for two months after escaping from his crate.

“Jack’s immense will to live earned him a place in so many people’s hearts,” said Joanne Lynch, a spokeswoman for the BluePearl Veterinary Partners, which cared for the animal at its Forest Hills and Manhattan sites after he was found. “It’s unfortunate his injuries reached a severity where euthanasia was recommended by all the board-certified specialists involved in his care. It’s always a tremendously difficult choice.”

The cat, who had been discovered after he fell through the ceiling in Terminal 8, was euthanized after his veterinarians determined his wounds were too grave for him to survive.

Meredith Daly, a veterinarian who treated Jack and was with him when he died on Sunday, said the feline had become so malnourished and dehydrated while lost that his skin became incredibly thin and began to tear and “fall apart,” making him susceptible to infections and organ dysfunction.

Those working with Jack compared his skin condition to having severe burns over 50 to 60 percent of his body.

“I think this is an incredibly tragic story, and there are no words to express what Jack and Karen have gone through,” Daly said in reference to the cat’s owner, Karen Pascoe, who was flying from New York to California to begin a new job when her feline was lost. “To not even know if your pet is gone, and to not be able to personally search for him, is a huge challenge. Then for him to be found, be in the hospital and for everyone to work so hard and not have him pull through is devastating. He’s still getting cards, toys and blankets. It’s a reminder that people have huge hearts.”

Pascoe had checked Jack, and another cat, Barry, at the American Airlines baggage center when she was flying from New York to San Francisco on Aug. 25. Jack, however, then escaped from his kennel and wasn’t found until Oct. 25.

According to a U.S. Department of Transportation report, “the clerk responsible for transporting the kennel placed one kennel on top of another, and while the kennels were stationary and waiting to be loaded on the aircraft, the kennel on top fell.

“The impact of the fall caused the kennel to separate, and the cat escaped,” the report continued.

American Airlines, which said it would pay for all of Jack’s medical expenses, issued its condolences.

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

Jack’s death prompted an outpouring of grief from thousands of people online, including on the Facebook page set up for the cat after he was lost in August.

“It is with tears that I must tell you that Jack has gone over the rainbow bridge,” said a statement posted on the Facebook page, which has attracted more than 23,000 followers.

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