Lonely Planet Writer

The week-long adventures of a missing cat in JFK airport

As all cat owners know, when a feline wants to go on an adventure, nothing will stop them. Not even if they’re in one of the world’s busiest international airports.

Cats are natural escape artists. Photo by Carlina Teteris

Pepper the cat was in Terminal 4 of New York’s JFK Airport on 20 April. She was on her way to check in to a flight to China when she decided to make her great escape. After worming her way out of her pet carrier, she flew across the terminal and disappeared, in the way that only a cat can.

While her owners tried to catch her – and missed their flight as a result – eventually they had to go back to China and were assured that the Port Authority were on the case, with a little help from a friend of the owners who lives in the country.

Soon, Pepper made her appearance and revealed she had used her climbing abilities to escape to the upper structures of the airport. For a week, the elusive feline evaded the humane traps that were set around the terminal for her, although she was sighted in various parts of the building throughout the time period.

Officers left food out wherever she was sighted to ensure Pepper didn’t go hungry (although we think she could probably take care of herself). The Port Authority even posted pictures and videos of the cat on the loose in the terminal on their social media, prompting some public interest in the furry escape artist.

Eventually, on 28 April, Pepper’s adventure came to the end when she was safely rescued by police officer Kameel Juman…or perhaps she just got bored and allowed herself to be captured. Either way, she’s now safely staying with her owners’ friend until her owners can return from China to collect her.

Animals in airports are becoming a more common sight in airports as emotional support animals grow in popularity. As the requests get stranger, people are facing stricter rules on what kind on animals they can bring on board with them. So on your next trip abroad take a look around, you may find a cat – or pig or duck – on the run.