Stewart and her husband were moving back to the States after living in the United Arab Emirates for three years. When transporting animals from a foreign country, regulations can make checking your pet unavoidable.
In cases like this, Melchior advises purchasing a solid crate assembled with screws - not plastic clips. TSA regulations are for size - not safety - so ignore the fancy sticker.
Finally, if you have any concerns about your pet's health or handling, "be prepared to get off the plane and advocate for your animal," she said.
As for Felix, hope remains. "There is a search party out there as we speak," Melchior said. This team, including pet-sniffing dog detectives, successfully located a cat named Gyzmo, yet another JFK escapee, this past August.
Felix is just one casualty of routine cruelty-by-incompetence. "People need to ensure better safety standards for these animals," Stewart said. "I just want to get the word out and make a change."