Escaped cat found after three weeks wandering around JFK airport

A cat that escaped from a carrier while being loaded onto an Italy-bound flight was captured safely after three weeks of wandering around the tarmac at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

John Debacker, vice president of nonprofit animal rescue group Long Island Cat Kitten Solution, said Salvatore Fazio, a man who lives part-time in Mastic Beach, arrived in Italy to find his cat, Ettore, had escaped from his carrier before being loaded into the plane.

Debacker said it was difficult to get permission to search for Ettore on the runway area.

“It was quite difficult to get clearance. My friend Teddy Henn and I were hanging flyers in the terminal when a Port Authority worker noticed a collar found near the runway’s edge by the water matched the flyer description,” Debacker told Patch.

Fazio appealed to the Port Authority, and Debecker was given supervised access to the tarmac to find Ettore.

Debecker said he set up an overnight camera that managed to capture a glimpse of the wandering feline on the first night, allowing him to set a humane trap that managed to ensnare Ettore about 1 a.m.

“The owner was very happy,” Debacker said.

Ettore is staying with Fazio’s girlfriend while they make arrangements to have the cat transported to Italy.

Debecker said pets often get loose at airports. He previously participated in the January rescue of a cat that escaped at a security checkpoint at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and spent 11 days hiding in the hub’s ceiling.