Lost Cat Spells PR Nightmare for AA

Jack the CatJack the Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK Facebook page has nearly 1,400 fans, with comments piling up by the minute. The page is mentioned in news stories around the country, via print and broadcast. Jack the Cat was lost by American Airlines during the Irene hurricane craziness and the owners weren’t satisfied with the airlines response. So they took to social media and this heartbreaking pet story has gone viral.

The comments are interesting. No matter what atrocities are happening in the world – mass murder, genocide, disease, famine – a sad pet story will bring people to their knees. Many people in all corners of the nation are praying for the safe return of Jack and AA is being bombarded by Facebook comments, Tweets, emails, calls.

This is worse, PR-wise, than a plane crash. Many people, and I am one of them, suffer deeper hurt from animal abuse than human abuse. It’s a strange phenomenon. This episode will cost AA millions in lost revenue and a damaged reputation. They should spare no expense, and use every possible resource to find that cat. If they find Jack, and put safeguards in place so it never happens again, there might be a sliver of redemption for the airline.


  1. Devin says:

    American airlines should be doing more to find this little munchkin cat. It is their fault and their responsibility even if they have to hire an entire crew to walk the area. Even better why don’t they use heat detecting night vision. Yes I know other things will show up but only so many will be of the correct size and be running around and then use a helicopter to fly over the area with this heat detecting night vision.

  2. I HAVE CAT says:

    Thank you so much for posting about Jack. His page is now over 8k fans in JUST ONE DAY!

    The upsetting thing is that for FIVE days they did not do ANYTHING to help find Jack. It took the public outcry on social media that finally got picked up by mainstream media outlets to get them to pay attention.

    For FIVE DAYS they did not look at the tapes, get a tracking dog or even have humane traps out!
    I truly hope they find that sweet cat.

    Also, it upsets me when people feel we have to chose between caring about humans and animals. No one said people aren’t important. We just feel our 4-legged babies are too!

  3. Veronica R. says:

    It is refreshing to know that there is some sort of humanity found on social media regarding animal abuse and other worthy causes. What saddens me is that social media was not being used by a large corporation like American Airlines to assure the owners that staff are on an active search for Jack by using photos and status updates. This assures the public that they are attending to the situation in a way that is effective for the public, and could provide an outlet for people who could give AA some leads.

  4. Jamie says:

    I agree with Veronica, that it’s extremely heart warming to see that some people have a heart when it comes to seeing animals as well taken care of and loved/searched for as human beings. It’s, however, very disturbing to see a major brand ignoring a major publicity issue during a weather crisis. It’s even more disturbing that they were most likely going to ignore it if the situation hadn’t garnered media attention and public outcry. I own a PR Firm and this sort of thing is what we call a ‘crisis issue’ – I do hope they’ve got some savvy pr people to save their butts on this one.

  5. Andrea B. says:

    I came across this thread while surveying the buzz of activity tonight regarding Jack, the missing cat, and thought someone may be interested in an update. I hate to point out that it is just about a month since the last comment here, which unfortunately, does not speak well for Jack.

    However, his fans do keep hoping he will be found, and to that end have been relentlessly self-promoting Jack’s story, unfair treatment of the issue, and have had several news notes/articles this week:
    http://www.betabeat.com/2011/10/18/why-do-15000-people-care-about-a-missing-cat-at-jfk-one-word-facebook/, and http://www.theprcoach.com/pr-cat-astrophe-american-airlines-that-cat/. The second one is the most direct finger-pointing at what has happened, whereas most of the other stories are not quite so eager to place blame.

    I hope that if you are interested, you will come over to Jack’s facebook page. I joined the group on the second day and have been working on this ever since. At this point, the search is, I believe, fueled partially by anger at how AA handled this initially, and then proceeded to censor anyone’s comments on their public forums.

    Please do join us – tomorrow there is an “Awareness Event’ at JFK – I don’t know how many will be able to attend but I do know those of us online and not close to NY have been putting in many hours working on getting more attention for this. Thank you, Andrea

  6. Caroline says:

    American Airlines did a horrible job managing this crisis. With being such a successful airline one would think that they would have a crisis management plan just in case the airline ever lost an animal. Losing an animal is much different than losing luggage. You don’t have to keep luggage alive. Perhaps the most appalling thing AA did wasn’t losing the cat, it was the five days of silence in response to the misplacement of Jack the Cat. Their PR staff should be embarrassed for that. Everyone knows that silence is the worst action to take in a crisis. I am willing to give AA a break just because of the timing of this crisis but just because it was miniscule compared to other issues, their actions or lack there of is unacceptable. No issue is too small for a good company.

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