Today, we express our gratitude for Jack the Cat.
The story of Jack the Cat is a sad and cautionary tale, but there are also many layers to what happened.
First, the story, directly from Jack’s Facebook page FAQ section, found here:
“1. How was Jack lost?
The bottom line is this: we don’t really know at this time. Here is what we do know: On August 25, 2011, Karen checked Jack and her other cat, Barry, into the American Airlines system to fly on her flight, but travelling as “checked baggage.” Each cat was flying in its own crate. She went through the TSA system with them, reloading them into their carriers and securing the carriers per AA policies. She then said goodbye to them and went up to the passenger area to have something to eat before the flight. Approximately 30 minutes after leaving the cats, she was called by a baggage supervisor to come back to the baggage area because one of the cats had been lost. When she returned to the baggage area, she saw the empty carrier that had contained Jack. Barry was still secure in his carrier. After walking around the baggage area and calling for Jack for over an hour, Karen was advised to take the last flight out and they would call her as soon as they found him. She got on that later flight with Barry. Jack has not been seen since.”
This is the outside layer of Jack. This is the part that makes us cry.
The next layer of Jack is the day that he was found. October 25, 2011, 2 months to the day from being lost.
The very worst, most heartbreaking layer to Jack’s story was November 6, 2011, when it was determined that Jack was suffering, and he was helped to cross over to the Rainbow Bridge. Jack had starved for 2 full months. His aunt posted the following on that sad day:
It is with tears that I must tell you that Jack has gone over the rainbow bridge. (continued in 1st comment) He was with Karen yesterday, and his condition was worsening. He was treated overnight, and she (and I) both had extensive conversations with the vets at Blue Pearl regarding his condition. Jack had extensive wounds on the back of his body, and the wounds were unable to heal because his skin had deteriorated due to the malnutrition that occurred while he was lost. Despite antibiotics, the infections were worsening, and his skin was continuing to deteriorate. He needed surgery to treat the wounds, but there was not enough available skin to close the wounds after the surgery. The vet compared his skin condition to having severe burns over 50-60% of his body. The vet was very clear that she had conferred with every possible doctor regarding options for Jack, but none of them left him with a substantial chance of survival and all of them involved him suffering. Jack had been through so much, and the last thing anyone wanted was for him to suffer more. Jack was bathed in love and crossed over just a few minutes ago.”
In between those heart wrenching days, miracles occurred. JFK Airport was shut down because of Hurricane Irene. Karen, Jack’s mom felt helpless. But through the miracle of Facebook shares, search parties were organized to do the job that airline employees were not doing. Lasting friendships were started during those dark days. That’s one happy layer to Jack’s story. The searchers became a group called “FoJs” or “Friends of Jack.” They have reunions, some meet more casually, and still others created discussion groups and grass-roots movements on a variety of topics involving cats.
That’s yet another layer of Jack.
Then there is our layer. Your Imagine Home admins arrived at our layer in a round-about way, through another group. That group shall not be named here, as it is not worth mention, other than to say that it taught us what we did not want to do. Here we stand, in honor of Jack in all that we do. Jack opened our eyes to the sad plight of animals everywhere. The germ of an idea that came about because of Jack grew into what you now see as Imagine Home. We are still nowhere close to realizing all of our dreams and goals. We dream of a day that we no longer have to teach people that animals are not playthings to discard and mistreat at will. We also realized somewhere along the way that the hearts of those who love cats sometimes need healing. We believe that by healing hearts and minds, we can also heal the souls of the helpless cats that we strive to help. (*what we call the paw of Jack.)
And the other layer to that layer? We realize that we are nowhere without our friends, fans and followers. We thank you all. And today, as we do every single day, we thank Jack the Cat for teaching us that there is no such thing as “just a cat.” Look at the layers of love that Jack built. ~noelle~