After two months without steady nourishment, the once-missing feline is battling to regain his health

By Helin Jung
October 27, 2011 04:50 PM

Jack the cat may be out of the customs room, but he isn’t out of the woods.

Two months after he first went missing at JFK International Airport on Aug. 25, American Airlines reported Tuesday that Jack had been found. The cat had been bound for California with his owner, Karen Pascoe, and her other cat, Barry, when he got checked into baggage and went missing from his carrier. A broad and vocal support group rallied around Pascoe, and volunteers across the country worked to locate Jack. This week, he suddenly appeared, as if he’d fallen from the sky.

“He fell through a ceiling tile in the customs office,” volunteer coordinator Bonnie Folz tells PEOPLE. “Somebody in the customs room saw him and contacted American.”

Once a scan of the cat’s microchip confirmed it was indeed Jack, Pascoe was notified of the good news, according to an update on the Facebook page dedicated to the search.

Because he had been going without food for much of the two months, Jack arrived in critical condition at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ hospital in Queens. He is being fed through a nasal tube, receiving medications via IV, getting blood pressure support and wearing a cone.

“Jack is still critical at this time,” board-certified internist Nicole Pacifico, DVM, says. “He has shown some improvement, but the biggest issue is some life-threatening skin wounds that are present. He is severely muscle-wasted and has evidence of fatty liver syndrome, which lets us know his malnourishment was pretty chronic.”

Currently, Jack’s prognosis is at “50-50,” according to Pacifico, but his body temperature and blood pressure are improving, and he is showing more interest in eating food on his own.

Volunteer coordinator Folz, who has visited Jack in the hospital, says she “told him that we’re here and he’s going home soon.” She left pieces of Pascoe’s clothing with Jack, who will need to stay in the hospital at least another five to seven days.

Pascoe, who could not be reached for comment, will fly to New York to retrieve Jack, though arrangements for his travel to California have not yet been made.

“Right now, it’s good for him to just get healthy,” Folz says. “We need to get him healthy, hydrated and eating again.”

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