American citizens Jennifer Stewart and her husband Joseph Naaman – both travellers on board an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi, UAE to New York have been left shattered after the airline apparently misplaced their pet cat Felix. According to CNN, the couple was told that their pet cat has been “misplaced” after the duo landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on April 1. The couple was relocating to the U.S. after spending over three years living in UAE.
While cases of lost luggage and misplaced articles are fairly common in this era, there are occasions when airlines misplace some truly precious cargo. According to the CNN report, the pet cat apparently went missing somewhere on the grounds of the JFK airport AFTER the plane landed at New York. This has been apparently confirmed by Etihad Airways as well. Apparently, Felix, who was placed inside a plastic carrier, managed to escape from it after it was badly damaged in transit. After the flight landed in New York, a cargo manager called up the couple to give them the dreadful news that their beloved pet cat could not be located and that the plastic carrier in which the cat was housed was badly crushed.
Jennifer later took photographs of the carrier which showed a large hole on its top. Its corners were also badly damaged. It remains unclear what caused the heavy damage though.
Now, it’s been a week since the pet cat went missing, and the couple still do not have any answers as to where Felix disappeared.
“For them to take a cat and ship him like he was cargo, not a live animal, makes me sick. You trust that people care and are doing the job well, and then this happens,” Jennifer told newspersons.
Meanwhile, an Etihad Airways spokesperson revealed that while loss of pet animals on flights is an extremely rare phenomenon, there are occasions when it might happen. He added that efforts are still on to locate the pet cat and that they are working with handlers on the ground at the airport to help locate the missing cat. They are also employing “third party specialists” in order to find the pet cat.
Etihad Airways also released an official statement.
“We deeply regret this unfortunate incident and are keeping the owner apprised of the progress of the search. We will review our pet handling procedures in the wake of this incident, as the safety and care of pets traveling with Etihad Airways is a top priority.”
The couple had spent over $1200 to have their pet cat Felix safely shipped to the U.S.
“You pay all of this money, but for what? People assume you pay extra to have your pets taken care of, but they’re treated no differently than a free piece of checked luggage,” Stewart said.
The Inquisitr has in the past reported about instances of Airlines misplacing pets. In fact, a similar incident had occurred at JFK back in 2011 as well. That cat was found two months later within the airport premises – but had to be euthanized because of malnutrition and general poor health.
[Image Via CNN]