Another Cat Missing at JFK International Airport

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Another cat has gone missing at JFK International Airport in New York City. Xiaohwa, who is a 4 year old FIV+ female tabby, was supposed to meet up with her owner, Iris Yu in Taiwan. Iris had a friend who was sending Xiaohwa to her from JFK via China Airlines Flight 19. When security went to inspect her carrier, the cat bolted.

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NBC News has reported the cat is loose somewhere inside Terminal 4.

Iris has been calling the Port Authority as well as China Airlines on a daily basis from her home in Taiwan. All they tell her to do is wait.

Jason Cheung, Iris’s boyfriend, spoke to Laura Francoeur of the Port Authority, and was assured everything possible is being done to find Xiaohwa, including the use of humane traps.

A Facebook page has been started to keep those interested in the story up to date. Here’s the URL:

Hopefully JFK staff have learned a lot since the 2011 disappearance of Jack the Cat, which resulted in Jack being humanely euthanized because he’d simply been lost too long to be saved. In Jacks case, help from JFK was too little, too late.

Several good suggestions have been made to find Xiaohwa as soon as possible to prevent a repeat of last years tragedy. One is to contact the media and get as much press coverage as possible. This will get Xiaohwa’s photo in the news and will bring the importance of this issue to the attention of airport personnel, who really need to step up and find this poor cat before it’s too late. Xiaohwa’s FIV+ status makes his safety even more critical.

Another suggestion is to convince the Port Authority to allow a team of searchers to perform an active search for Xiaohwa during slower hours. Typically this is between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. According to one source I checked, it was announced Wednesday afternoon that a small group of volunteers would be allowed to search Terminal 4.

Several volunteers who worked on Jacks search last year have offered their assistance in the hunt for Xiaohwa.

The flyer pictured with this article is being circulated to as many JFK employees as possible.

I hope to report a happy ending to this story. Those in charge of JFK International Airport supposedly put several procedures in place last year to ensure the safety of cats who fly. Personally, I feel a course in cat psychology for airport personnel may be needed. Those doing security checks need to be aware a cat may become frightened and try to escape.

Readers, please do all you can to help circulate this information.

In closing, I’d like to say Xiaohwa needs to be found quickly. Not only because of her FIV+ status, but because the east coast is bracing for a very bad storm. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg may order the evacuation of 375,000 from low lying areas of the city.

How do you all feel about this latest missing cat? I’m very nervous, considering the outcome in Jack’s case. I want to be able to write a happy ending, but I’ve learned not to get my hopes up when cats go missing.


3 thoughts on “Another Cat Missing at JFK International Airport”

  1. I can see why they must open and inspect inside cat’s carriers. It’s a horrible thought, but there could be a bomb in there or less horrible, but still problematic, smuggled goods or contraband of some sort. All they need is a very small room in which to do this, with the door shut and locked so the cat cannot escape. Cats will be more calm in a very small room like they use for examination rooms at the vet. Carrier is checked, passengers are safe, criminals are left no loop hole, and the cat just thinks, “Whew, at least they didn’t give me a shot this time.” And why couldn’t the cat’s guardian be present when they do this to calm and control the cat? Handy, should the need to arrest him for contraband arise. The safety of all would be ensured, criminal activity prevented, and no cat would go missing.

  2. This is frightening and tragic. I can’t tell you how much I hope they find her. I’ll put this on my Facebook which is my only real place to do that. Thanks for writing about this. I will be so happy if they find her. In such a busy place it must be horrifying for her – it makes me so sad to think of what she is experiencing right now. These cages should be locked and reinforced with no possible way of opening them. It couldnt be more simple in fact. Or by law do they have to open them to check something – customs bla bla? Because I think those boxes should be reinforced and locked down so hard there is no chance. Futhermore the cat could have a leash which is attched to the box – but i dont know if that woul dbe dangerous or panful for the poor cat. That way if the really must open the box then the cat cannot escape.


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