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The airline at John F. Kennedy Airport where a cat escaped its carrier last week says it is doing its "utmost" to help locate the animal, including hiring a pet detective and issuing a pet Amber alert for the missing animal.
Pet search-and-rescue specialist Nicole Mabrey arrived at Kennedy Airport Friday morning to look for Jack the cat. She told NBC New York she was beginning her search at the American Airlines terminal with her "scent-specific" German short-haired pincher.
Jack the cat got lost in the American Airlines baggage center over the weekend, shortly before Irene hit New York and forced airports to shut down for most of the weekend.
The cat's owner, Karen Pascoe, was flying with her two cats, Jack and Barry, to San Francisco last Thursday to start a new job in California.
The cats were flying in separate carriers as cargo, but Jack got out of the kennel and went missing, Pascoe said.
Pascoe told MSNBC she had to continue on to San Francisco because the rest of her luggage and her other cat Barry were already en route to the West Coast.
But her concern grew when she could not reach American Airlines over the weekend. She decided to return to New York to continue looking for Jack.
Pascoe brought some of Jack's other personal items for Mabrey's detective dog to sniff. Mabrey estimated a recovery rate of 72 percent, and said if Jack was not at the terminal, the scent trail will end quickly.
Mabrey said she would be leaving out fried chicken and sardines in the hopes of luring Jack out.
The airline issued a statement late Friday afternoon, saying its employees at Kennedy Airport was helping Mabrey in her search, and "based on feedback from the tracker, we remain hopeful that Jack might be found."
As part of its additional "pet Amber alert," American Airlines said it was placing posters in employee break rooms, on bulletin boards, and throughout the airline's JFK facility. An alert was also posted electronically for all its employees.
Also, the airline said, it is inspecting airside equipment such as bag carts, reviewing video footage, and placing humane traps throughout the area.
"We understand that a cat is a loved family member for so many, including many of our own employees, and we are doing our utmost to find Jack," the airline said in a statement.