Facebook to AA: Who let the cat out?

We probably all know someone who’s posted a lost-pet flier on Facebook – and maybe even someone who’s found their furry friend as a result – but this might be the first time a missing pet has garnered so much attention on social media. And for good reason; who wouldn’t love a face like this?

Jack the Cat went missing a little over two weeks ago when her owner, Karen Pascoe, was in the middle of a move from New York City to Los Angeles. Sad, but not so strange; pets often panic and occasionally go missing in the midst of their owners’ big moves. Here’s the twist, though: Jack disappeared while in the baggage system at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Pascoe received a call from American Airlines during her trip saying that one of her two cats – Jack was flying to his new home in the cargo hold, accompanied by Pascoe’s other cat, Barry – had escaped his carrier somewhere along the way.

It’s not the only recent animal fiasco at JFK – remember the tweeting turtles earlier this year? – but it’s tweaked the heartstrings of pet lovers and webizens all over the world. (After all, wasn’t the Internet made to trade cat stories?) Three days after Jack’s disappearance, Pascoe’s friend Mary Beth Griffith Melchior started a Facebook page called, simply enough, Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK. As of 4 p.m. Friday, the page has 13,554 fans. (Myself included – while I’m not quite at the level of the “I Can’t Hug Every Cat” Girl, I’d lose it if I lost my Luna.) There’s also @findjackthecat on Twitter, which currently has 668 followers.

While the overwhelming support Jack’s human family has received via social-media sympathizers is fantastic in its own right, what’s really remarkable here is how this Facebook page has managed to crowdsource a variety of efforts – everything from hanging posters at the airport and in surrounding neighborhoods (Pascoe’s new job has kept her in LA for much of the two weeks after Jack’s disappearance) to creating an airline PR crisis that hasn’t been seen since the whole United Breaks Guitars incident in 2008. Jack’s fans haven’t just been making their opinions known on the Facebook page dedicated to his disappearance; they’ve been complaining in droves wherever AA is online, from Twitter to Facebook to a whole host of national media outlets.

I’m looking forward to seeing how AA gets itself out of this sticky situation – but more so, looking forward to hearing that Jack’s been found alive and well. What should AA’s next steps be? Have any ideas? Post ’em in the comments.