RIP JFK Jack The Cat

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

RIP-JFK- Jack the cat-cat wisdom 101-memorial The Rainbow has a new angel/hero.

Jack, an amber-eyed cat lost at JFK for 61 days, captured the hearts of thousands of cat lovers who rallied in support to find him. His 26,000+ Facebook fans cheered when he was found on Oct 25 but the mood turned somber when the vet gave 50/50 odds of him surviving his extensive injuries. Sadly, Jack died Sunday, Nov.6.

Like many of my fellow cat lovers, I followed every update but felt an ominous feeling weeks ago. As an intuitive, I prefer to lean towards the positive. I felt his energy early on, sensed he was alive but weeks later while everyone still felt hope, I didn’t, and couldn’t say it wasn’t going to be happy ending. It may not be the ending we all wanted but it was Jack’s ending and a heroic one at that. He galvanized thousands of people; some who rescued and found homes for other JFK homeless cats. Jack’s legacy will live on perhaps in new policies for pet travel in the airlines industry, and in the hearts of countless new cat lovers. Cat lovers have the biggest hearts and I believe good things will come from this tragedy.

Jack is at peace now. My thoughts and prayers go to Jack’s family and friends.

This is the complete announcement from Mary Beth Melchior, Karen Pascoe’s sister, posted on Jack the Cat’s Facebook page on Nov. 6.

“Dear Friends of Jack:

It is with tears that I must tell you that Jack has gone over the rainbow bridge.

He was with Karen yesterday, and his condition was worsening. He was treated overnight, and she (and I) both had extensive conversations with the vets at Blue Pearl regarding his condition. Jack had extensive wounds on the back of his body, and the wounds were unable to heal because his skin had deteriorated due to the malnutrition that occurred while he was lost. Despite antibiotics, the infections were worsening, and his skin was continuing to deteriorate. He needed surgery to treat the wounds, but there was not enough available skin to close the wounds after the surgery. The vet compared his skin condition to having severe burns over 50-60% of his body. The vet was very clear that she had conferred with every possible doctor regarding options for Jack, but none of them left him with a substantial chance of survival and all of them involved him suffering.

Jack had been through so much, and the last thing anyone wanted was for him to suffer more. Jack was bathed in love and crossed over just a few minutes ago.

We thank everyone who has gone on this journey with us. We have been introduced to people we have come to not only respect, but love. We will continue our work on this page… and will also be starting a dedicated website in Jack’s honor. We want people to understand the risks that attend putting an animal in cargo, and we hope to spur change in the industry so that no one else ever has to go through this again. We honor Jack, we honor all the other animals who have been killed, injured, or lost while being transported through cargo procedures, and we honor all of you who have taken the time to share your kindness and love with us.

Finally, we ask that if you are from the media and want to do a follow-up on this story, please contact Joanne Lynch with Blue Pearl at 815-549-7688. She will coordinate all your calls and help you get in touch with Karen. PLEASE do not call Karen or Mary Beth directly.

Thanks to all of you for your love & kindness. We still have 2 cats to transport… and a message to send to all the airlines and the government that is time to make sure all of our pets are safe when they travel. I’ll be back on this page tomorrow… blessings to all!! RIP, Jack… we’ll all see you soon.”



  • Alfreda Avelis

    Rest in peace JACK. Karen we are so sorry for your loss. JACK is not suffering anymore. My granddaughters were realy upset over JACK’s death as so was I. He is in a better place now. One fine day we all will meet him at the Rainbow Bridge. The angels are with your Precious JACK. God Bless JACK. We love you JACK.

  • Abby

    WE were all heartbroken when we read yesterday that Jack went OTRB. We felt it would be a difficult recovery, and sadly there wasn’t a recovery. Poor Jack and poor Karen. We hope that there is some good that will come out of this, and we hope NO one uses cargo to transport their pets. We would just not go if we had to do that.
    soft purrs for Jack….

  • Oui Oui

    I am just disgusted by the needless suffering this poor animal endured and the painful death he died. What the hell is the matter with airlines? Would it really have been that much trouble to put out food and traps? They had to have known he was there. Their callousness just sickens me.

    • boomermuse

      Oui Oui, they did put out traps and caught a number of other cats just not Jack.
      @Abby, happy napping.
      @Esme, he is at peace now.
      @Deb, it was a blessing for him to pass with Karen and surrounded with love.

  • Esme

    Dear Jack, you did not deserve this. I hope you are in a better place. You were much loved and Karen, my heart breaks for you and Jack.

  • Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey

    The news of Jack’s passing brings me unbearable sadness… that this poor kitty went the length of time he did, scared, alone, sickly, and just trying to survive breaks my heart. I am grateful that although it was a short amount of time, that he at least did see Karen one last time and was able to cross over the bridge with the memory of her voice and touch close to his heart. Something this tragic should not be required for proper and humane transport of an animal. I know we can use Jack as inspiration for changes, but at the moment, it is all just too much to process. Blessings to you Karen.

  • Fuzzy Tales

    I really, really hope this brings about much-needed changes in pet transport. I’d be terrified to put an animal in cargo, frankly. We’re pretty limited in Canada with just two major airlines, but surely in the US there could be “pet friendly” flights that would allow for pets on-board, in carriers? (Not every flight, but specific flight times, I mean.)

    • boomermuse

      @Fuzzy Tales, years ago, I flew two cats in cargo Air Canada (the only option then) After an awful experience I boycotted the airline for many years. pets are allowed on several airlines in the U.S but one one passender per cat. When I flew Merlin and Coco from Toronto to New York, I had to buy an extra seat. I would never fly cat cats again except maybe by a private plane.

  • Milo and Alfie

    Mom has been following this sad story on FB ~ and we were all so very sad today when we read Jack had died. At least he was medicated and in comfort, and warm, and his mom Karen was present. How much harder to have died while lost? And for Karen too ~ much better to know his fate than to have searched for years ~ at least there is closure. We just wish he could have survived ~ if love could have healed him, he’d be with him mom Karen now.
    RIP sweet Jack.

  • caren gittleman

    Layla sadly I had the exact same feelings that you had when I heard Jack had been found and learned of his condition.

    This was one senseless, awful death. My heart goes out to Karen. I can’t imagine the experience of losing your cat as “cargo” on an airline, finding him and then “losing” him again. My heart breaks for she and Jack

    • boomermuse

      Caren, Jack’s death was tragic but if any positive changes comes from it, he will not have died in vain.
      @Milo & Alfie, yes at least he didn’t die alone and suffering.
      @Kathryn, wow, they’re 9 already!

  • Ingrid King

    This is just devastating.In all the photos posted since he was found, there just didn’t seem to be any light left in his eyes, but I was hoping that being reunited with Karen Pascoe would turn things around. I’m grateful that at least she was with him in the end. My heart is breaking for her.

  • Carolyn

    To my chagrin, I seem to have missed this story until now!! I gather Jack was “lost luggage” with an airline?! I do hope that as a result of this tragedy, there will be changes made to the way animals are transported! It beggars belief. I am so sorry for the needless suffering caused. x

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