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April 30, 2018 02:24 PM

Pepper who? Turns out the cat who was on the loose in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport all last week has finally been found safe and sound — and her owner owes it all to a friend who thought to call for the wayward kitty by her Mandarin name, “Dai Meng.”

The New York Daily News reports that the owner’s friend, Nuan Tang, who sometimes watched the cat for her pal, joined Port Authority cops to help locate the elusive feline that disappeared within the airport’s international terminal on April 20. Tang, 30, knew the 4-year-old tabby also went by an alias  — Dai Meng — which apparently means “little dork.” Tang yelled out for her, and Pepper a.k.a. Dai Meng must’ve recognized her human pal’s voice, because within 15 minutes she poked her head out and began “screaming” at the woman.

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“She started screaming at me, like ‘Where have you been?’ ” Tang told the Daily News. “It looked like she was waiting for me.”

At this point, the search party used just a tidbit of food to lure the crabby kitty back into the very same cat carrier she’d escaped from a week prior.

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Port Authority Police Officer Kameel Juman, who was in charge of the rescue and retrieval mission, said he duct taped and sealed the carrier this time so the furry runaway could not go AWOL again.

As PEOPLE reported earlier, the cat was scheduled to board a flight with her owner to China, but escaped her carrier during check-in and got loose inside the airport’s sprawling Terminal 4. The owner missed her initial flight but had to board her newly scheduled one even though her feline was still MIA. Apparently, she was moving back to China permanently and was devastated to leave her pet behind.

But, all’s well that ends well. Though reportedly a little dusty and a tad thinner, Pepper/Dai Meng went home with Tang on Saturday afternoon to recuperate from her ordeal. The cat whisperer tells the Daily News that “She’s doing good,” and her owner is “super excited” the frisky feline is safely ensconced with Tang until the pair can reunite.

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