A week ago, Chester, a seven-month-old Blue Scottish Fold, was supposed to be on his way to his forever family in Cloverdale, British Columbia, shipped by a breeder in Montreal. He made it as far as Montreal’s airport, where the breeder’s sister dropped him off at Air Canada’s live cargo area, according to Global News.
That’s the last anyone has seen of Chester.
Chester disappeared, seemingly into thin air. His cage was found open. The airline believes the carrier was improperly latched and the cat escaped.
"We are doing all possible to look for the escaped cat," said Air Canada to Global News in a statement. "We have examined the kennel as part of our investigation into this situation and found the kennel bottom had become unsecured."
Amanda Stewart, who was due to receive Chester, isn’t so sure. She told Global News that the airline and the breeder’s sister checked the door when the cat was dropped off; she also says it was secured by a zip tie.
While the airline searches for the cat — looking in surrounding areas and leaving traps set with food in the cargo area, as well as sending Chester’s picture to other airports in its reach — Stewart and the breeder believe people should be looking in a different area.
They think Chester was stolen.
"He is a show cat, and a very expensive cat," said Stewart.
Despite other stories of missing pets receiving much media attention, Chester’s case has received nearly none aside from the Global News story last week and this from Life With Cats. Two Facebook pages have popped up to bring attention to Chester: Help Find Chester the Cat Lost by Air Canada and Boycott Air Canada Until Chester Comes Home.
On the pages, which have combined likes of nearly 2,500, people are getting organized, combing through Craiglist for found and for-sale cats, putting pressure on the airline to increase its searching, offering advice on who to contact for more help, and generally trying to get the word out. But people are getting frustrated.
The administrator of the boycott site recently posted this message: “I don’t know what else I can do. This is just insane. The cat was never an outside cat, I don’t understand how he can be missing this long. He was also super friendly and loved people. THIS MAKES NO SENSE.”
Stewart is keeping up pressure on the airline, which both Facebook pages say has been slow to act. Yesterday, a representative from Air Canada responded to her, and she posted the message on the Help Find Chester page:
Please be aware that traps were installed in the baggage room (4 total, with sardines inside), they are checked many times throughout the day by staff and the area is staffed 24/7. To date, no one has seen Chester anywhere on airport grounds. It is possible that he may have found his way into the neighborhood adjacent to the airport. Rest assured that despite nil sightings of Chester on airport grounds, all personel are still searching, and will continue. Should any new information arise, I will contact you.
As you might know, missing cats in airports generally don’t fare well. Jack the cat, who was lost at JFK for months in 2011, died while being treated for injuries after he was finally found. A cat named Xiaohwa disappeared at JFK in 2012 and still hasn’t been seen. In 2010, a cat named Patch was lost on before boarding a Delta Air Lines flight in Cairo, Egypt; he has not been found either.
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