Cat Escapes Carrier at JFK, Still Missing Week Later

Xiaohwa bolted as a TSA officer was inspecting her crate at Terminal 4

Thursday, Oct 25, 2012  |  Updated 6:45 AM EDT
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A frisky feline that was supposed to be flown to Taiwan makes a mad dash just moments before being loaded onto a plane. Now the search is underway at JFK's Terminal 4. Roseanne Colletti reports.

NBC 4 New York

A frisky feline that was supposed to be flown to Taiwan makes a mad dash just moments before being loaded onto a plane. Now the search is underway at JFK's Terminal 4. Roseanne Colletti reports.

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A 4-year-old cat named Xiaohwa escaped her carrier at John F. Kennedy Airport last week and remains missing.      

She was to board a flight to Taiwan last Thursday to be reunited with her owner, Iris Yu.      

Yu left for Taiwan 10 months ago to visit her sick father and a friend was bringing the cat to her.      

Xiaohwa bolted as a TSA officer was inspecting her crate at Terminal 4.      

Yu's boyfriend Jerry Cheung says he's afraid the tabby can't survive long without care because she has the feline version of HIV, though anyone who finds her shouldn't be afraid as it's not transmittable to humans. 

"We want to find the cat as soon as possible," said Cheung. "It may sound silly to some people, but we think of her as our child."

Cheung said his girlfriend adopted the pregnant stray about two years ago, and they both nursed her through a stillborn litter.

Yu has been calling the airport and the airline, but hasn't gotten any answers, according to Cheung. Port Authority promised to set traps for the cat, but Terminal 4 is a big place with plenty of areas to hide.

Xiaohwa is reminiscent of Jack the Cat, who bolted from his crate at Kennedy Airport in August of 2011. His disappearance attracted 24,000 Facebook followers, made national headlines when he resurfaced by falling through a ceiling tile and then died due to his long-term exposure a few weeks later. 

The TSA said in a statement that its agents screened the pet and its carrier properly. It reminded passengers they're responsible for their pets throughout the screening process.     

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