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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sassie Is Left Paralyzed as the Result of Yet Still Another Horribly Botched Attempt to Implant a Thoroughly Worthless and Pernicious Microchip Between Her Shoulders

Eight Stitches Were Required to Patch Up Sassie's Injured Neck

"The girl doing the chipping seemed not to have a clue what she was doing. She made two attempts to chip Sassie."
-- Kristina Hogan

Much like an habitual drunkard who cannot stay off the bottle, modern man is seemingly unable to say no to technology. A rather poignant example of that herd mentality is to be found in the public's mindless acceptance of implanted microchips as the preferred method of identifying their cats and dogs.

They are not totally to blame, however, in that most animal rescue groups, such as Cats Protection in Haywards Heath, Sussex, and the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London, have been busily ramming these pernicious devices down their gullets for years. The practice has become so widespread that it not only is well on the way toward supplanting the use of both collars and tattoos but, more importantly, it has been endorsed by just about all shelters and veterinary groups in addition to numerous municipal authorities as well. Perhaps most egregious of all, the totalitarians who call the shots in the European Union mandated in 2011 that all cats and dogs traveling between its member states must be fitted with these devices.

Although there are numerous reasons why this trend is such an ominous development in the field of animal welfare, none so readily stands out as the appalling level of incompetence that exists within the ranks of those professionals that are charged with implanting them. Specifically, although surgically inserting these miniature identification devices between the shoulder blades is a straightforward, uncomplicated procedure, it is shocking just how many veterinarians are unable to do so without either crippling or killing cats.

In addition to general incompetence, an overarching desire to make as much moola as possible within the shortest period of time and with the least expenditure of energy coupled with a lackadaisical attitude toward the well-being of their patients are sans doute contributing factors. Not surprisingly, the petit fait that implanting a microchip is an invasive procedure and as such requires not only competence but diligence as well often gets lost in such a perverse business model.

That is perhaps even more so the case with those charities and governmental authorities that from time to time offer free-of-charge microchipping services to the public. A good case in point was the totally inexcusable pain, suffering, and lasting injuries inflicted upon a pretty three-year-old calico female named Sassie from Consett after her owner took her to such an event sponsored by the Durham County Council in early 2014.

The details are a bit sketchy, but the unidentified individual doing the chipping so botched the procedure that she recklessly plunged the needle containing the device into Sassie's spine as opposed to inserting it between her shoulder blades. As a consequence, she was left paralyzed.

"The girl doing the chipping seemed not to have a clue what she was doing," Sassie's thirty-one-year-old owner, Kristina Hogan, afterwards averred to The Chronicle of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on February 18, 2014. (See "Consett Cat Sassie Paralyzed in Microchipping Bungle.") "She made two attempts to chip Sassie."

Although it has not been disclosed if the woman was actually a licensed veterinarian or merely an assistant of some sort, she additionally came within a hairbreadth of nearly killing Sassie. "On the second, she rammed the needle so hard into her she injected the chip between the first and second vertebrae in the neck, paralyzing her," Hogan continued. "If it had gone any further up it would have hit her in the brain, and if it had gone any deeper it would have perforated her spinal cord."

As a consequence, Hogan was forced to rush Sassie to Croft Vet Hospital in Cramlington, thirty-seven kilometers north of Consett in Northumberland, where the microchip first had to be located with computer scans and then surgically removed at a staggering cost of £3,000. That was nothing, however, when compared to the damage that had been inflicted upon Sassie.

To begin with, eight stitches were required just to sew up her severely damaged neck. Following that, she not only was forced to wear an Elizabethan collar until the incision healed but to be caged for six weeks while she convalesced. Worst of all, the procedure robbed her of the ability to run and jump.

"She just used to really enjoy being out -- if you opened the door to call her she wouldn't come and nine times out of ten you'd have to tempt her in with a bit of ham," Hogan confided to The Chronicle. "Now she'll never be able to go outside again because she's too slow to get away from predators."

Sassie Was Confined to an Elizabethan Collar for Weeks

The full extent of her injuries was not expected to have been determined until after the cone and stitches were removed but since no additional articles concerning her have appeared in the English press, it is impossible to speculate on how she is progressing. All may not have been lost, however, in that some cats who have suffered similar fates eventually have regained some of their mobility.

For example, Simon Platt of the Animal Health Trust's Small Animal Centre in Newmarket, Suffolk, wrote in an article entitled "Spinal Cord Injury Resulting from Incorrect Microchip Placement in a Cat" that an unidentified two-year-old neutered male had in time regained the use of his front appendages even though a certain degree of paralysis persisted in his left leg. (See the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, volume 9, issue 2, April 2, 2007, pages 157-160.)

For its part, the Durham County Council has attempted to atone for what was done to Sassie. "We are extremely upset and sorry that this happened," Ian Hoult, its neighborhood protection manager, told The Chronicle. "We immediately apologized and have paid for all necessary veterinary care to ensure the animal's future well-being."

In addition to leaving Sassie paralyzed, the bungled microchipping also has had a traumatic effect upon Hogan's three young children. "It's affected the children as well -- the kids were in tears," she told The Chronicle. "They can't go and give her a cuddle and pick her up because they're so worried they're going to hurt her spine."

Besides muscling microchips into cats' spines, slap-happy veterinarians also make a disturbing habit of recklessly implanting them at vaccination sites which in turn has led to the onset of cancer. "Veterinarians should be aware that because inflammation may dispose felines to tumor formation, separation and observation of vaccination and implantation sites are indicated," Meighan K. Daly of the University of Georgia at Athens wrote a few years back in an article entitled "Fibrosarcoma Adjacent to the Site of Microchip Implantation in a Cat." (See the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, volume 10, issue 2, April 2008, pages 202-205.)

Veterinary malpractice aside, there is a growing body of evidence that the chips themselves are cancerous. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is Time for Digital Angel and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law.")

Although the toxicity of these devices coupled with the tendency of veterinarians to implant them at vaccination sites and on top of spines constitute the principal concerns, they are by no means the only ones. First of all, not all of them operate on the same frequency and as a result multiple scanners are needed in order to read them and that in the past has led to deadly consequences.

For instance on April 21, 2004, Lisa Massey's eight-month-old American Pit Bull Terrier, Haddon, was killed by an animal shelter in Stafford, Virginia, all because staffers were using the wrong scanner and thus were unable to decipher his implanted microchip. (See the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, July 1, 2004, "Pet's Death Rekindles Electronic ID Debate.")

Secondly, microchips have a tendency to move around inside cats and dogs and that sometimes makes it difficult to locate them. Thirdly, like all such devices they sometimes simply malfunction. (See the Daily Mail, April 17, 2007, "Impounded: Family Forced to Leave Their (sic) Dog in France Because Officials Couldn't Scan Its ID Chip.")

Fourthly, it is almost superfluous to point out but if owners neglect to keep their contact information up-to-date in the databases that the chips are linked up to there virtually is not any way that they can be reached by those shelters and veterinarians that even so much as bother to scan the animals that they impound and treat. This is a huge problem for cats that are bandied about between multiple owners. (See The Australian of Sydney, articles dated March 20, 2007 and March 21, 2007 and entitled, respectively, "Three-Thousand-Dollar United States Cat Handed to RSPCA" and "Valuable Stray Cat Reunited with United States (sic) Owner," plus Cat Defender posts of August 26, 2015 and July 25, 2014 entitled, respectively, "A Myriad of Cruel and Unforgivable Abandonments, a Chinese Puzzle, and Finally the Handing Down and Carrying Out of a Death Sentence Spell the End for Long-Suffering and Peripatetic Tigger" and "Poussey Overcomes a Surprise Boat Ride to Dover, a Stint on Death Row, and Being Bandied About Like the Flying Dutchman in Order to Finally Make It Home to La Havre.")

Only once in a blue moon can a shelter be counted upon to go out of its way in order to reunite a lost cat with an owner who has failed to maintain a current address in a microchip database. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2010 entitled "Winnipeg Family Is Astounded by Tiger Lily's Miraculous Return after Having Been Believed Dead for Fourteen Years.")

Sassie and Kristina Hogan Are Persevering

Trumping all of those concerns is the often overlooked reality that implanted microchips offer cats and dogs absolutely no protection whatsoever against motorists, human and animal predators, poisoners, the elements, and thieves. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

Although proponents may trumpet their efficacy in reuniting lost cats with their owners, the statistics that they cite in support of their reasoning are misleading. That is because for every successful reunion there doubtlessly must be hundreds, if not indeed thousands, of chipped cats that are never found.

One reason for that is the limited availability of scanners. Therefore, individuals who rescue cats from the streets and fields do not have any means of checking for implanted identification devices.

A few of them do, belatedly, ask their veterinarians to scan them but that is usually years after they have been rescued. (See Cat Defender post of July 5, 2013 entitled "Tabor's Long and Winding Road Leads Her Back Home but Leaves Her with a Broken Heart.")

Although collars and tattoos also have their limitations and health risks, they at least are visible to the naked eye and that convenience alone sometimes increases the odds that animals outfitted with them will be returned to their owners. They also have the advantage of being free of both exorbitant veterinary and database maintenance fees which, by the way, is another reason why practitioners and animal rescue groups do not want anything to do with them.

Last but not least, microchips lull owners into a false sense of security that often serves to encourage them to become negligent in the care of their cats. That in turn reinforces the popular, albeit totally spurious, stereotype that cats are self-sufficient loners who are quite capable of taking care of themselves. (See Cat Defender post of October 9, 2015 entitled "A Lynch Mob of Dishonest Eggheads from the University of Lincoln Issues Another Scurrilous Broadside Against Cats by Declaring That They Do Not Need Guardians in Order to Safeguard Their Fragile Lives.")

On a much broader level, all monitoring technology, whether it be microchips, radio collars, cameras, or whatever, has been developed and deployed for reasons that are inimical to the health and well-being of the animal kingdom. To put the matter succinctly, the power to monitor and observe is equivalent of that to know and that in turn equates to the power to control which, ultimately, entails the ability to denature and kill. (See Cat Defender posts of June 11, 2007, May 4, 2006, and February 29, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Katzen-Kameras Are Not Only Cruel and Inhumane but Represent an Assault Upon Cats' Liberties and Privacy," "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals," and "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud.")

As far as it is known, no statistics are kept as to the number of animals that are killed each year, either intentionally or accidentally, as the result of tagging initiatives that are carried out by wildlife biologists and other governmental officials but the total surely must be astronomical. (See Cat Defender posts of April 17, 2006 and May 21, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him" and "Macho B., America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona.")

At this very moment the USDA's diabolical Wildlife Services and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are using radio-collared "Judas" wolves in order to track down and flush out other wolves from their dens. Sharpshooters then gun down the helpless animals from helicopters and airplanes.

The wolves attempt to flee but it is totally impossible for them, especially those that previously have been tagged, to escape. (See the Center for Biological Diversity's press release of March 29, 2016, "Judas Wolves -- Wildlife Services' Sick Killing Strategy.")

Considering the gargantuan lengths that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has gone to in order to eradicate cats on San Nicolas, in the Florida Keys, and elsewhere, the species one day could find itself being treated every bit as cruelly as wolves. It accordingly is not a good idea for those who care about them to provide governmental agencies, rescue groups, and veterinarians with either the electronic means or the data that will make it easier for them to carry out their hideous crimes.

A far more prudent alternative would be to rely upon close observation and conventional means in order to keep track of cats. Such a strategy has, admittedly, its limitations but a reliance upon technology and those groups and entities that champion it is definitely not the answer.

Photos: The Chronicle.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mr. Mistoffelees Will Be Forever Four Months Old All Because He Accidentally Brushed Up Against a Bouquet of Lilies and Then Unwittingly Attempted to Lick the Deadly Pollen Off of His Fur

Mr. Mistoffelees Covered in Orange Lily Pollen

"Had I known that lilies were so deadly to cats I would never have had them in my house."
-- Elizabeth Mackie

There is a well-known Sprichwort about curiosity killing cats and while there unquestionably is some truth to it, the abysmal ignorance and downright carelessness of their owners doubtlessly claims the lives of a far greater number of them. A good case in point was the totally preventable death back on January 10th of a handsome white kitten with patches of black known as Mr. Mistoffelees all because his owner was unaware that lilies are deadly to cats. Lamentably, his life ended almost as soon as it had begun in that he was only four months old.

The unfortunate chain of events that culminated in his demise were set in motion either shortly before or just after he entered this perilous old world when seventy-six-year-old Pat Mackie died of a stroke in September of last year. Depressed over the loss of her mother, daughter Elizabeth adopted Misty, as he was known, and brought him home to live with her in her house in Whitchurch, three kilometers east of the Welsh border and thirty kilometers north of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, the West Midlands.

Everything apparently went swimmingly until Mackie gave away a chest of drawers to an acquaintance who reciprocated by presenting her with a bouquet of white lilies which she then placed in a vase on the ledge of a bay window in her home. Tragically as things later turned out, Mr. Mistoffelees also was partial to that particular perch.

As a consequence, he accidentally brushed against the flowers numerous times while gazing out the window and by the time that the thirty-eight-year-old bar manageress had so much as a clue as to what was afoot his fur was covered in orange pollen. Although she was totally ignorant of just how toxic lily pollen is to cats, Mackie nevertheless had enough bon sens to know that it did not belong in his fur.

She initially attempted to remove it but when her ministrations were met with resistance her next thought was not to seek immediate veterinary intervention but rather to post a photograph of him online accompanied by a plea for suggestions on how best to go about cleansing his fur. It was only after respondents had enlightened her that she belatedly realized the gravity of the situation.

"Suddenly people started warning me that lily pollen is toxic to cats and I should check he hadn't eaten any," she disclosed to the Daily Mail on January 27th. (See "Cat Owner Is Devastated When the Beloved Kitten She Bought to Cheer Herself Up Is Killed by Pollen from Lilies.") "I had never heard this before, I was immediately worried so I called the vets."

In Misty's case it would appear that he ultimately was done in by his species' renowned fastidiousness in that he is believed to have attempted to lick off the pollen with his tongue. It is not known, however, either how long he was exposed to it or how much of it he ingested.

Mr. Mistoffelees at Play

It likewise has not been disclosed what, if any, symptoms of lily toxicity he was exhibiting by the time that Mackie tumbled to his plight. Some of the outwardly observable ones are, inter alia, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, depression, a lack of appetite, and increased urination. Swollen and painful kidneys are another telling symptom but blood and urine tests performed by a competent veterinarian are required in order to make such a determination.

Once she finally got around to doing so, Mackie made a simply terrible decision by taking Mr. Mistoffelees to the Leonard Brother Veterinary Clinic where practitioner Andy Nelson, if press reports are credible, totally botched the job of saving his life. He first sedated the kitten and then attempted to induce vomiting so as to force his digestive tract to expel the pollen from his kidneys and other internal organs.

While he was in the process of doing that, Misty suffered a heart attack but Nelson, inexplicably, did not have any adrenaline on hand. As a result, he abandoned the helpless kitten on his deathbed while he went to scrounge around for some.

Before he hightailed it out of the operating theatre, however, he fobbed off the traumatic job of administering last-ditch chest compressions to the rapidly dying kitten onto the already sagging shoulders of Mackie. The only logical conclusion to be drawn from that absolutely shocking deviation from normal veterinary protocol is that Leonard Brother is not only too cheap to maintain a supply of adrenaline but also to employ trained veterinary assistants as well.

"I massaged his chest as shown by the vet in a bid to save him while he got the adrenaline but unfortunately we couldn't revive him," she confided to the Daily Mail. "I was devastated."

The official cause of death has been listed as a combination of kidney and liver failure. If a necropsy had been performed, it perhaps would have been able not only to have pinpointed exactly what killed him but also to have determined how much and what form of lily toxicity was present in his tiny body. Since it has not been disclosed what was done with his remains, that is a strong indication that they likely were burned so it is way too late now for conducting such a probe.

Unwilling to own up to his own incompetence, Nelson did the next best thing which was to pack off all the blame for Mr. Mistoffelees' untimely death on Mackie. "This is the second cat in the last year that I have seen die from lilies just because the owner did not know that they were dangerous to cats," he shamelessly pontificated to the Daily Mail. "I'm amazed at the number of people who simply do not know how deadly they can be for cats, as they are popular pets and lilies are popular flowers -- but the two just cannot go together."

Andy Nelson

Those same arguments easily could be turned around and applied with even greater force to the pompous and hypocritical Nelson. First of all, since he already was intimately familiar with lily poisoning he should have readily recognized the grave danger that Mr. Mistoffelees was in and accordingly pulled out all the stops in a race against the clock in order to have saved him. Secondly, he should at the very least have had both adrenaline and an assistant ready at hand.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is far too much of a laughingstock as an oversight body for Mackie to waste her precious time and money by lodging a formal complaint with it against Nelson, but she should find another veterinarian if she should decide in the future to acquire a replacement for Misty. (See Cat Defender post of June 17, 2010 entitled "A Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues.")

It therefore is anything but surprising that the entire affair from start to deathbed finish has made an emotional wreck out of Mackie. "It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life as he was just a baby and I was there trying to save him like that," she confided to the Daily Mail. "It was awful."

Absolutely no one, except cat-haters, could possibly disagree with her on that point but her suffering certainly did not end with Misty's death; au contraire, she has been left with enough regrets in order to last her for a lifetime. "Had I known that lilies were so deadly to cats I would never had them in my house," she vowed to the Daily Mail.

Considering their popularity and ubiquity, lilies surely must claim countless lives each year and yet very little is either spoken or written about the dangers that they pose to cats. That is so much the case that in recent memory only one other case comes readily to mind and it concerned a white Maine Coon cat named Haggis from parts unknown but presumably somewhere in the United Kingdom.

As was the case with Mr. Mistoffelees, the trouble began when some acquaintances of his unidentified owners presented them with a bouquet of lilies. Like Mackie, they placed them in a vase on a windowsill and some of the yellow pollen collected in Haggis' fur when he inadvertently brushed up against them while peering out through the glass. Not only were they also ignorant of just how deadly the pretty flowers are to cats, but they initially even thought that he looked rather comical covered in yellow pollen.

Mercifully, it belatedly dawned upon them that the lilies just might possibly be toxic to cats and once their suspicions were confirmed by an online search their initial amusement quickly gave way to panic. With no time left to spare, they immediately washed the pollen out of his fur in the shower and then rushed him to a veterinarian. Unfortunately, the only thing that the practitioner was willing to do for him was to place him on intravenous fluids so as to prevent the onset of dehydration and kidney failure.

That unidentified professional apparently neither attempted to induce vomiting nor to soak up any residual toxins left in his stomach by prescribing activated charcoal. His distraught owners were simply told to be patient and to hope for the best.

Haggis Is Only One of a Handful of Cats to Have Survived Lily Pollen

He remained at the surgery for two days but when he failed to exhibit any outward signs of lily toxicity he was allowed to return home. That was a few years ago and thanks to the timely intervention of his guardians he apparently, unlike Misty, never had time to lick off any of the pollen and for that reason is still alive today.

His close brush with death nevertheless has had a profound effect upon his caretakers. "It was a terrible feeling to know that because of your own stupidity your cat could have died," the owners told International Cat Care (ICC) of Tisbury in Wiltshire on September 7, 2015. (See "Keeping Cats Safe -- Lilies.") "Since that day no flower or plant is allowed in our home."

Haggis accordingly can be counted as one of the fortunate few. "The unusual thing about the case of Haggis is that the outcome was good, which sadly is often not the case," Claire Bessant of ICC told Your Cat Magazine of Grantham in Lincolnshire on September 17, 2015. (See "Cat Has Lucky Escape from Lily Poisoning.") "Many owners are still unaware of the dangers of lilies to their cats and cats often die as a result of poisoning."

Even in saying that much she is drastically understating the case. For example, not only is the pollen itself toxic but so, too, are the flowers, leaves, and stems. Why, just even drinking the water from the vases in which they are displayed is sufficient in order to kill a cat.

Moreover, since consumption of less than one leaf can be fatal to a cat, the same is likely true in regard to the pollen itself in that licking up just a few particles of it could conceivably cause renal failure. Because of their tender years and considerably smaller internal organs, young kittens, such as Mr. Mistoffelees, are especially ill-equipped to cope with the devastating consequences of lily toxicity.

There additionally are a wide variety of lilies that are lethal to cats. For instance in the article cited supra, ICC enumerates the following sub-species of Lilium (true lily) as being toxic to cats: Lilium asiatica (Asiatic lily), Lilium asiatica americana (Asiatic-American lily), Lilium candidum (Madonna lily), Lilium hydridum (Japanese showy lily), Lilium lancifolium (Tiger lily), Lily longiforum (Easter lily), Lilium orientalis Stargazer lily (Oriental lily), Lilium regale (Royal lily), Lilium speciosum, Lilium rubrum (Rubrum lily), and Lilium umbellatum (Western or Wood lily). Also, all species of Hemerocallis (Day lilies) are included in that roll call of deadly flowers.

Complicating matters further, there are other closely related plants which can sicken cats without causing kidney failure. Chiefly among these are calla or arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and peace lilies (Spathiphyllum species) that contain crystals which can inflame the mouth and digestive tract and thus cause drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Another plant to watch out for is lily of the valley (Convalaria majalis) which can cause irregular heartbeats and precipitate drops in blood pressure which in turn can lead to the onset of seizures and comas in cats. (See PetMD. com, undated article entitled "Lily Poisoning in Cats.")

For its part, Cats Protection of Haywards Heath in Sussex also warns against poinsettias which if consumed by cats can lead to diarrhea and cramps. Rhododendron and daffodil bulbs are an even greater concern because in addition to sickening cats they also can kill them.

Rather than trying to remember all of that, it would be far preferable to follow the sage advice of Haggis' chastened owners and to refrain from keeping any plants at all indoors. At the very least, owners would be well advised to determine beforehand if a particular plant is hazardous to cats before allowing it indoors.

Oddly enough, outdoor lilies do not appear to pose nearly as much of a threat because most cats prefer to chew on grass. The wind, dew, and rain also helps to disperse the pollen that accumulates on their flowers, leaves, and stems. If that were not the case, there surely would be dead cats everywhere.

Nevertheless, outdoor lilies likely are responsible for a good deal more feline deaths each year than it generally is acknowledged. That is because some cats crawl off and hide once they believe that the end is near and their corpses are never found. Secondly, the owners of even those that return home in order to die seldom request necropsies and as a result the cause of their deaths remains a mystery.

It accordingly would be a good idea for owners as a cautionary measure to remove all lilies and other poisonous plants from their properties. Unfortunately, there is not a great deal that they can do about neighbors who insist upon planting lilies in their gardens in order to purposefully harm and kill cats.

Even more worrisome, horticulturists and the likes of Ted "Slick Willie" Williams and the National Audubon Society most assuredly would not hesitate for so much as a split-second to plant lilies in order to intentionally kill cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 19, 2010 and May 18, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw" and "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It.")


Mackie therefore can be forgiven her ignorance about lilies but her abject neglect of Mr. Mistoffelees is an altogether different matter. Like so many individuals in general and working people in particular, she fell for the myth disseminated by the likes of the flatheads at the University of Lincoln that cats are self-sufficient beings who can take care of themselves. (See Cat Defender post of October 9, 2015 entitled "A Lynch Mob of Dishonest Eggheads from the University of Lincoln Issues Another Scurrilous Broadside Against Cats by Declaring That They do Not Need Guardians in Order to Safeguard Their Fragile Lives.")

In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth in that cats are considerably more difficult to properly care for than dogs and other animals. That is because they not only face far more dangers but also have many more enemies as well. As a consequence, it is imperative that both domesticated cats as well as those that reside in managed TNR colonies have attentive and conscientious guardians.

Far too many individuals think and behave like Mackie in that it is customary for them to routinely lock their cats indoors and then to forget all about them while they go out and chase shekels and romance. Since they consequently rarely ever see them except at bedtime and breakfast, it often is too late in order to save them once they suddenly become either sick, injured, or lost.

It is an entirely different scenario with attentive owners who actually spend considerable time with their cats. For example, during the latter half of 2010 a cat-hater in New Westminster, British Columbia, dunked at least three cats in turpentine.

Corrine Ritchie's cat Linden and Rob Stainton's resident feline Vincent survived because they discovered what had happened to them before they had time in order to lick off very much of the deadly corrosive from their fur. Lamentably, Jennifer Szoke did not reach her cat, Harley, in time. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2010, August 30, 2010, and January 3, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Harley Suffers Severe Burns to His Tongue and Mouth as Well as Lung Damage after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine," "Hope, Prayer, and Veterinary Intervention Ultimately Prove to Be Insufficient in Order to Save Harley after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine," and "Another Cat, Vincent, Is Dunked in Turpentine in New Westminster as the Police and Animal Control Continue to Laugh Up Their Dirty Sleeves.")

Like Mackie, twenty-five-year-old Aidan Moreau-MacLeod spends the lion's share of his time at Bar Negroni in the Little Italy section of Toronto where he slings swill in addition to being co-owner. As a result, he was nowhere to be found when a police dog mauled his eighteen-year-old cat McGuire during the early morning hours of June 4th of last year.

Fortunately, his father discovered McGuire's desperate condition when he returned home later that evening and subsequently rushed him to a veterinarian. The younger Moreau-MacLeod was extremely fortunate on that occasion because McGuire easily could have died from his untreated wounds while he was away from home lining his pockets. (See Cat Defender post of July 2, 2015 entitled "After Allowing One of Their Police Dogs to Maul McGuire to Within an Inch of His Life, the Toronto Police Do Not Have Even the Common Decency to Summon Veterinary Help for Him.")

Flurbiprofen Topical Analgesic

It therefore is entirely conceivable that if Mackie had been home watching over Mr. Mistoffelees that she could have saved him if she had gotten him away from the lilies in a timely fashion and promptly dunked him a bathtub in order to have removed the pollen from his fur. She also is guilty, like seemingly everybody else nowadays, of wasting precious time online when she instead should have been on her way with him to a veterinarian.

Although there is not any dearth of knowledge pertaining to the dangers posed by both human and animal predators, motorists, and other cretins to cats that live outdoors, Mackie also is remiss for failing to realize that indoor environments are not necessarily all that much more conducive to promoting feline health, well-being, and longevity. In addition to a lack of exercise space, mental stimulation, and a denial of the fellowship of other cats, indoor environments cannot be reached by the life-giving rays of Old Sol and they circulate primarily old, stale, and polluted air.

They also contain toxins other than lilies, such as cigarette smoke and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). (See Cat Defender posts of October 19, 2007 and August 22, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence" and "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")

Furthermore, whereas it is well understood that both prescription and over-the-counter medications should be kept far out of the reach of cats at all times, the same also holds true for the treated areas and surrounding clothing of individuals who use topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). For example, last spring the Federal Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine in Rockville, Maryland, reported that flurbiprofen, which also contains the muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine as well as baclofen, gabapentin, lidocaine, and prilocaine, had been responsible for the deaths of three domestic cats and renal failure in two others that survived thanks to timely veterinary intervention. (See FDA press release of April 17, 2015 entitled "Flurbiprofen-Containing Topical Pain Medications: FDA Alert -- Illnesses and Deaths in Pets Exposed to Prescription Topical Pain Medication.")

The alert does not specify how the cats came into contact with the painkiller, only that their owners applied lotions and creams containing it to their necks and feet. It nevertheless would stand to reason that the cats licked it off either their owners' bodies or clothing. As is the case with lilies, it only takes a very minute amount of flurbiprofen in order to cause kidney failure and death in cats.

Other mundane, yet lethal, hazards to be found in the home include plastic trash bags, electric recliners, and furniture imported from China and, presumably, elsewhere that contain the mold and mildew retardant dimethyl fumarate (DMF). (See Cat Defender posts of September 24, 2015 and October 21, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Henry Is Saved by Cats Protection after Swallowing Part of a Plastic Trash Bag but His Fate Would Have Been Entirely Different if He Had Fallen into the Clutches of the Mercenaries at PennVet" and "Two Thoughtless Old Biddies Crush Thirteen-Month-Old Sheba to Death Underneath an Electric Recliner," plus The Telegraph of London, December 4, 2008, "Toxic Leather Armchair Kills Father, Son, and Cat, Family Claims.")

Construction mishaps inside the home also can injure and even kill cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 4, 2008 and September 8, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and Then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi" and "Bonny Is Rescued at the Last Minute after Spending Seven Weeks Entombed Underneath a Bathtub.")

Indoor cats are likewise up the spout whenever either fires or carbon monoxide leaks occur. (See Cat Defender posts of September 29, 2008 and April 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Kiki Is Healthy Again but in Legal Limbo as Her Rescuer, Firefighter Al Machado, Basks in the Glory of His Heroics" and "Winnie Saves an Indiana Family of Three from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.")

Mr. Mistoffelees and Elizabeth Mackie in Happier Days

Cats that are left home alone for extended periods of time also have little or no protection against the evil designs of housebreakers. For example on August 14, 2009, burglars broke into thirty-three-year-old Amanda Faulkner's house in Hamilton, one-hundred-thirty kilometers south of Auckland, where they broke one-year-old Nookie's pelvis, his tail in three places, and damaged his bladder by repeatedly kicking him as if he were nothing more than a football.

Faulkner did not even discover his plight until more than a day later and even then she cruelly elected to pay a veterinarian in order to finish the job that the thieves had started rather than to save his life. (See Cat Defender post of September 9, 2009 entitled "Home Alone in New Zealand, Friendly Little Nookie Is Repeatedly Kicked and Left for Dead by Vicious Burglars.")

Topping all of those concerns, cruelly cooping up a cat inside deprives it of the opportunity to ever acquire the prerequisite skills that it would require in order to survive in the real world if it one day were to suddenly find itself on its own. (See Cat Defender post of February 2, 2015 entitled "Cruelly Denatured and Locked Up Indoors for All of His Life, Nicky Is Suddenly Thrust into the Bitter Cold and Snow for Twenty-One Consecutive Days with Predictably Tragic Results.")

To her credit, Mackie has started a petition drive aimed at persuading both florists and supermarkets to put warning labels on bouquets of lilies. "I would hate for anyone else to go through what I have so I hope that our petition can at least raise awareness and if the shops do start labeling them, then that could save a lot of cats from dying a horrible death," she told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.

Although he may have completely botched Mr. Mistoffelees' care, Nelson nonetheless wholeheartedly concurs with Mackie on that point. "It's a very simple change but (it) could save a lot of cats a very painful death from kidney failure and their owners a lot of heartache," he added to the Daily Mail.

In his 1939 poem entitled "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," T.S. Eliot said the following about Misty's illustrious namesake:

"He holds all the patent monopolies
For performing surprising illusions
And creating eccentric confusions
At prestidigitation
And at legerdemain
He'll defy examination
And deceive you again
The greatest magicians have something to learn
From Mr. Mistoffelees' conjuring turn."

It accordingly is truly regrettable that little Misty did not possess just a tiny bit of the original's conjuring prowess. If he had done so, he might then have been able to have risen from his deathbed or, better still, to have avoided the lilies altogether.

What is done is done, however, and it is way too late to do anything for him now. Ironically, the terrible memories of his needless death are destined to long outlive his brief sojourn upon this earth and there simply is not any way that ever can be construed as being anything other than grotesquely unfair and unjust.

Photos: the Daily Mail (Mr. Mistoffelees covered in pollen and Nelson), the London Metro (Misty at play and with Mackie), Your Cat Magazine (Haggis), International Cat Care (Lilium and Hemerocallis), and Sri Rama Pharmaceutical of Hyderabad, India (flurbiprofen).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Barney, the Heart and Soul of St. Sampson's Cemetery in Guernsey, Sadly Joins Those over Whose Graves He Maintained a Lonely Vigil for So Many Years


"The place won't be the same without him and his death has left a gap. I have already seen a lot of people in tears and we are very upset..."
-- Alan Curzon, sexton of St. Sampson's Cemetery

Some cats have become famous over the years as the result of having found work as a combination of companions, mascots, and mousers at libraries, post offices, police departments, hotels, veterinary offices, restaurants, bars, and all sorts of shops, but far removed from the hustle and bustle of the maddening urban crowds a handful of their brothers and sisters also have secured homes and duties at some of the most unlikely and gloomiest places on earth, i.e., cemeteries. Given that the work is primarily outdoors and involves keeping constant company with the deceased, these jobs are, cela va sans dire, not every cat's cup of catnip.

Despite those drawbacks, a ginger-colored tom named Barney was able to somehow eke out such an existence for an astonishing twenty years at St. Sampson's Cemetery in Guernsey. In doing so, he endeared himself to many of the parish's roughly nine-thousand residents by freely dispensing consolation to them after their lives had been irrevocably torn asunder as the result of untimely visits made by the Grim Reaper to the homes of relatives and friends.

"He is a much loved and very adorable cat. For those who enter the cemetery with a heavy heart, he lightens the experience for them," the church's longtime sexton, sixty-three-year-old Alan Curzon, told the Guernsey Press of Vale Parish on December 24, 2014. (See "Barney the Cat 'Comforts' Cemetery Visitors.") "When people walk through the gates, he often comes up to them and brushes against them. There is not a bad bone in his body."

Although Barney was his same lovable and kindhearted self all year-round, his ministrations were most appreciated by those who were visiting the cemetery at Christmastime. In particular, for those who were saying goodbye to a loved one he, according to Curzon, made such somber occasions "slightly more bearable." Visitors and parishioners alike responded in kind by leaving presents for him as a show of appreciation for all that he had done for them.

Sadly, all of the consoling, reviving of sagging spirits, and the replacing of sorrow with hope ended forever on March 4th when he, too, finally succumbed to that inevitable fate that no mere mortal has yet to figure out a way of avoiding. The official word from the church is that he simply died of old age.

"The place won't be the same without him and his death has left a gap," is how Curzon chose to eulogize him to The Mirror of London on March 5th. (See "Barney the Cemetery Cat Is Buried in His Own Plot after Providing Comfort for Mourners for Twenty Years.") "I have already seen a lot of people in tears and we are very upset..."

In addition to his other duties, Barney also was a regular at graveside services. "I think the presence of Barney brought a lot of comfort to so many people. Whenever I was taking a funeral up there families were so happy to see Barney milling about," the Reverend Timothy Dack, rector of St. Sampson's Church, recalled to The Mirror. "The mourners would see him and it would bring them a lot of joy. I just think he gave great comfort."

Just as the mere presence of a cat at such difficult times is a reaffirmation that not only does life go on but, much more importantly, that there is still both great beauty and opportunities for happiness and fulfillment to be found in it. The restorative power of these exquisite beings did not escape the attention of poet Rod McKuen who once opined:

"There has never been a cat
Who couldn't calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair."

The eulogies that have poured in following the announcement of Barney's death have by no means been limited to the clergy and staff of St. Sampson's Church but rather parishioners also have gone online in order to both fondly remember him and to express their heartfelt condolences. "God bless you Barney, remember that lovely sunny afternoon, I laid down on the grass in the cemetery and we cuddled up together for two hours," Debbie Ann Le Page wrote on Facebook according to the account rendered in The Mirror. "I needed a friend that day and there you were my angel!"

Other residents of the parish took comfort simply knowing that he was watching over the graves of those who had departed. "I always felt my young daughter was never alone when he was there," Sue Falla wrote on Facebook. "Really going to miss you, Barney, requiescat in pace."

The willingness with which parishioners not only so readily accepted Barney's presence but embraced him with open-arms stands in stark contrast to the cruel and violent reception that a three-year-old gray and white tom named Toldo sometimes received when he visited the grave of his owner, Renzo Iozzelli, in Montagnana, Italy. "There are insensitive people who send him away with stones and other things, convinced that the presence of an animal in the cemetery is almost a desecration," Iozzelli's widow, Ada, disclosed during the early days of 2013. (See Cat Defender post of March 28, 2013 entitled "Even the Finality of the Grave Fails to Diminish Toldo's Abiding Love and Devotion to His Long Dead Guardian.")

Parishioners Left Presents for Barney at Christmas

Although the church was shamefully remiss in neglecting to provide Barney with a memorial service, it did have enough respect and love for him that it, apparently, did refrain from adopting the expedient of having his remains incinerated. Instead, they are buried on the very same grounds that he trod upon for a fifth of a century.

That magnanimous decision was fully supported by the parishioners. "He should have his very own little grave there as this was his chosen place while alive," Andy Baker wrote on Facebook. "He should be laid to rest there."

It was Mandy Hardman, however, who put the case for burying him in the cemetery most succinctly. "He belongs there," she wrote on Facebook.

Whereas the church has not disclosed if it is planning on providing him with a tombstone, failing to do so could only be construed as disrespectful and ungrateful. Like everyone else buried there, he is richly deserving of a proper gravesite where parishioners and tourists alike could visit, pay their respects, and leave behind flowers, kibble, and tins of tuna just as they do to this very day at the bronze statue of Samuel Johnson's beloved cat, Hodge, at 17 Gough Street in London.

All that Curzon has revealed is that the church is planning on erecting plagues on both a wall and a bench, presumably in the burial ground itself, in his memory but he most assuredly deserves a far more fitting monument after all that he did for the church and community. Plus, he is unquestionably the cemetery's most famous resident.

As it, lamentably, is often the case with so many cats, Barney had a rather rude introduction to this wicked old world. In particular, his original owners, who resided next door to the cemetery, cruelly moved away and left him behind while he was still just a kitten. With no other prospects in sight, he kept returning to the cemetery before settling in there on a permanent basis in 1996.

Not a great deal is known concerning the quality of care that he received from St. Sampson's Church. All that has been disclosed is that Curzon and some of the parishioners did feed and water him but how often, plentiful, and nutritious the fare remains a closely guarded secret.

For whatever it is worth, Curzon insists that he led the life of Riley. "He did not have to worry about a thing, but I must stress it was not just me looking after him," he told The Mirror. "There were a lot of people that took him to their hearts."

The church also provided him with a shelter of some sort but it is believed that consisted of only an insulated pet carrier that was tucked away inside of an overturned plastic trash can. A door mat was placed out front but the cage itself was left open in the front where it was constantly exposed to the elements.

The good news is that since Guernsey is located in the Channel Islands just off the coast of Normandy, it enjoys a rather mild climate with nighttime lows rarely dropping below the freezing point and daytime highs seldom climbing above the 70° Fahrenheit barrier. It is, however, rather rainy November through January and the island is sometimes buffeted by cold Arctic winds that can make conditions outside feel like it is considerably colder than 32° Fahrenheit. That is by no means the most inhospitable climate in the world but at the same time it is far from being ideal, especially for a cat that was forced to spend all of his days and nights outdoors.

"He had his own house but he would spend his days wandering around," Curzon told The Mirror. "If he heard a car coming he would make himself known and was so friendly."

That is not surprising in that no cat desires to live its life inside a cage, especially one that is cold and wet. It is even doubtful that Curzon endeavored to so much as change his bedding once it became saturated with water.

Curzon may have been around during the daytime when he was on duty and an occasional visitor may have wandered in once in a while but for a lion's share of the time Barney was left to his own devices not only to deal with his social isolation but also to ward off juvenile miscreants, dogs, and others intent upon doing him harm. In that regard, his fate is reminiscent of that which befell a brown-colored tom with black stripes and yellow eyes named Nelson who was cruelly condemned to tough it out on the violent docks of Seaham Harbor in County Durham for fifteen long and hellish years.

By the time that he was finally taken in by Andrea and Dave Huntley-Crow of nearby Seaton in 2009, yobs already had put out his right eye with either stones or an air gun and either someone or some animal had divested him of his tail. (See Cat Defender post of April 16, 2015 entitled "Nelson's Odyssey from Being the Long Abused Cat That Nobody Wanted to One of England's Most Beloved Comes to a Sad End at Age Twenty.")

Barney in a Contemplative Mood

Instead of cruelly condemning Barney to face both the elements and predators all by his lonesome, someone at St. Sampson's should have provided him with a safe and warm home. Failing that, the church should at the very least have allowed him to sleep inside at night.

Press reports fail to mention if the church provided him with any sort of veterinary care but if it was too cheap to have done that much for him it is doubtful that either Curzon or anyone else cared enough in order to have either brushed his coat, removed parasites from his fur, or attended to minor injuries. Contrary to what an awful lot of individuals fervently believe, the proper care of a cat entails considerably more than occasionally setting out cheap kibble and tap water for it to consume so that it can somehow stave off immediate starvation. Besides, such acts of beau geste are invariably undertaken for reasons of ego gratification with comparatively little regard for the well-being of the cat.

Curzon, Dack, and other residents of St. Sampson's Parish therefore can shout their abiding love for Barney from the rooftops until the cows come home but their abject neglect of him points to an altogether different conclusion. C'est-à-dire, they milked him for everything that he was worth while simultaneously barely bothering to reciprocate in a compassionate fashion at all.

In that respect the benign neglect that he received from St. Sampson's Church in return for his twenty years of unconditional love and loyalty mirrors the revoltingly shabby treatment that the citizens of St. Andrews meted out to their longtime resident feline, Hamish McHamish. (See Cat Defender posts of June 20, 2014 and October 18, 2014 entitled, respectively, "St. Andrews Honors Hamish McHamish with a Bronze Statue but Does Not Have the Decency, Love, and Compassion in Order to Provide Him with a Warm, Secure, and Permanent Home" and "Hamish McHamish's Derelict Owner Reenters His Life after Fourteen Years of Abject Neglect only to Have Him Killed Off after He Contracts a Preeminently Treatable Common Cold.")

In spite of all of those glaring omissions in the church's care of him, the fact that Barney was able to tough it out at the cemetery for so long strongly implies that Curzon and the parishioners surely must have been doing something right. On the other hand, it is entirely conceivable that he owed his good fortune, not to the church, but rather to an environment that was relatively free of both animal and human predators.

As far as the former are concerned, dogs, birds of prey and, in North America, raccoons, coyotes, and fishers take an alarming toll on cats. In regard to the latter, it is chiefly motorists who kill cats and they sans doute do so deliberately and for fun.

Since absolutely no one from the church was watching out for him, Barney's longevity is one indication that vehicular traffic in and around the cemetery surely must be sparse. Additionally, his original owners may have had him sterilized and that likely significantly curtailed his roaming.

An environment that was free of such prolific cat killers as ornithologists, wildlife biologists, Animal Control officers, and representatives of PETA also would have augured well for his survival. The same logic is equally applicable to private citizens who make careers out of poisoning, shooting, and stealing cats. Quite obviously, St. Sampson's Parish is a far more cat-friendly area than any comparable city in the thoroughly lawless and morally bankrupt United States where almost any form of cruelty, no matter how heinous, is not only simply accepted by the hoi polloi but sanctified by the country's shamefully corrupt political and legal establishment.

As far as Barney's death is concerned, there is not any obvious reason to question the church's version of events. That is by no means meant to imply that Christians have either a more abiding respect for the sanctity of feline lives than non-believers or that they are any more honest and truthful than, say, politicians and Bauernfängers.

Rather, St. Sampson's decision to allow Barney to live out his life to the very end likely was rooted in the legendary cheapness of Christians. After all, confirmed cheapskates who truly believe that they should be patted on the back for handing out stale peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and thimblefuls of Kool-Aid®, which they received from the government no less, to the poor is not about to pay a veterinarian to whack a cat.

"I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ," the soon-to-be canonized Macedonian hypocrite, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, once declared while she was still alive and living high on the hog. "I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people." (See Michael Parenti, "Mother Teresa, John Paul II, and the Fast-Track Saints," Common Dreams, October 22, 2007.)

Like the Jews, Christians only champion the cause of the poor so that they can exploit them. "Nicht ihre Menschenliebe, sondern die Ohnmacht ihrer Menschenliebe hindert die Christen von heute, uns -- zu verbrennen," is how Friedrich Nietzsche put it in his 1886 work, Janseits von Gut und Böse. (Aphorismus einhundertvier).

Besides being hypocritical and self-serving, the drivel served up by both groups of fraudsters serves only to foster a culture of subservience and poverty. "...Christianity, with its emphasis on humility and the hope for a happier afterlife, was clearly a religion for slaves and poor people," Edward Rutherfurd observed in his 1997 historical novel, London.

Barney Resting in an Outdoor Pet Carrier That Likely Was His Only Home

The Christians' abuse of cats, other animals, and Mother Earth is even more pronounced than their mistreatment of their fellow humans and that is so much the case that it can only be characterized as patently immoral and criminal. Specifically, their outrageous and totally unforgivable crime spree against the animals and Mother Earth began when they fell hook, line, and sinker for the Jews' morally repugnant theology contained in Genesis 1:26-28, Acts 10:9-13, and the Book of Revelation.

Armed with such sottise, Pope Gregory IX denounced black cats as satanic in a papal bull issued in 1233. Later in the fifteenth century, Pope Innocent VIII followed his lead by issuing his infamous witch bull which declared that all cat worshipers, and by implication all cats as well, should be disposed of via the auto-da-fé.

Those and other pronouncements by the Vatican led to the commission of wholesale atrocities against cats and their female owners who were branded as witches. (See Cat Defender posts of May 22, 2006, August 6, 2009, and May 27, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Belgian Ritual of Tossing Stuffed Cats from the Belfry Makes a Jest of the Hideous Crimes of Capitalists and Catholics," "Unrepentant and Totally Shameless, Ieper Once Again Makes a Mockery of Its Past Crimes Against Cats by Staging Kattenstoet," and "Salem, Massachusetts, Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During the 1692 Witch Trials.")

Even more damning, very few clergymen, with the notable exception of Anglican priest Ralph Inge,  have been willing to even acknowledge the commission of such heinous crimes. "We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the devil in human form," he declared in his 1922 book, Outspoken Essays.

Guernsey itself is by no means any stranger to the hideous crimes perpetrated by the Catholic Church against the indigenous people of Europe. In point of fact, both the island's patron saint as well as the parish in which Barney resided for so many years are named in honor of Samson (sic) of Dol-de-Bretagne who forcibly converted the inhabitants to Christianity during the sixth century.

It is a bit difficult to unearth the historical particulars but if the Catholics followed the same methodologies in subduing Guernsey that they did elsewhere across Europe, they eradicated wholesale numbers of both non-believers and cats as well. Moreover, the Catholics were not only brutal but thorough as well in that the only known so-called pagan manuscripts to have survived their purges were Beowulf in England, the Nibelungenlied in Deutschland, and the Younger Edda and the Elder Edda in Iceland.

Once the followers of St. Sampson had polished off those who still believed in the Norse gods they quickly turned their attention to Protestants and as a result Catherine Cauchés and her two daughters, Perotine Massey and Guillemine Gilbert, were burned at the stake on July 18, 1556 during the Marian (Queen Mary I) Persecutions. The gory details are nothing short of horrifying.

Although the usual procedure called for the condemned to be strangled before being burned, on that occasion the cord broke and as a result the women were cast into the flames while still very much alive. Even more shocking, after the flames had reached Massey her stomach broke open and out popped an infant boy. A bystander rescued him from the fire but the bailiff, Hellier Gosselin, ordered that he be tossed back into the pyre where he, too, perished alongside his mother, aunt, and grandmother.

Quite obviously, the Vatican's outrage over abortions is not only a fairly recent contrivance but it historically did not even apply to the unborn children of those that it considered to be heretics. Furthermore, even though "Bloody Mary's" father, King Henry VIII, had taken the Church of England out from underneath the yoke of the Vatican in 1534, that made absolutely no difference as far as the fate of these three women and one unborn child were concerned.

The Catholic Church no longer liquidates dissenters but the same most definitely cannot be said for its abhorrent mistreatment and neglect of cats and other animals. Of late, however, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has signaled that it is at least willing to consider inching away from the Dominion Mandate.

"We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God's image and given dominion over the earth justices absolute dominion over other creatures...." he wrote last June in a much discussed encyclical on climate change entitled "Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home." (See The Philadelphia Inquirer's print edition of June 19, 2015, "Praise, Doubt on Francis' Stand.")

What, if any, concrete steps that he is going to be willing to take in order to save the animals is unclear. What is needed, however, is for him and the church to make a clean break once and for all time from their Jewish brethren and to declare in no uncertain terms that all animal abuse, exploitation, and killing is immoral.

Even if, against all odds, he should be willing to take such a giant step, he is going to face stiff opposition. For example, at the United States Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, scientists are in the process of committing seemingly every diabolical atrocity known to man in order to re-engineer cows, pigs, sheep, and other animals so as to, inter alia, force them to grow fatter and to give birth to larger litters.

Not surprisingly, the former director of the USDA-operated laboratory, Robert R. Oltjen, invoked the Dominion Mandate back in 1979 as a divine justification for the hideous crimes that he and other scientists are committing. (See The New York Times, January 19, 2015, "United States Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit.")

The crimes that are committed against animals by vivisectors, factory farmers, animal shelters, veterinarians, hunters, the imperialist war machines of the Yanks and Jews, and phony-baloney conservationists such as ornithologists and wildlife biologists are several million times worse than anything that goes on inside abortion clinics and yet both Catholics and Protestants alike do not have a problem with the former. Contrary to what the Vatican claims, it most definitely is not pro-life; rather, its morality is strictly limited to belatedly being pro-fetus.

In addition to the fundamental problem that the Vatican's behavior seldom, if ever, matches its rhetoric, it also has a disturbing tendency for taking ten steps backwards for every one that it takes in the opposite direction. For example, when Bergoglio was in Washington last September he not only held a clandestine meeting with anti-homosexual rabble-rouser Kim Davis of Kentucky but also canonized Father Junipero Serra, an eighteenth century Franciscan, who has been accused of, inter alia, mistreating, expelling, and forcibly converting Native Americans in California to Catholicism. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Barney as He Will Be Remembered, Roaming the Headstones

It therefore almost goes without saying that no halfway decent human being, let alone the head of the Roman Catholic Church, should be canonizing cretins like him and frauds such as Bojaxhiu. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer's print edition of May 7, 2015, "Francis Praises Future Saint.")

All the while that Bergoglio and other Christian leaders around the world are continuing to fumble around in the dark in a belated effort to locate their long-lost moral compasses, their adherents are going right on abusing and killing cats with impunity. For instance, churches such as St. Jude in Tequesta, Florida, and Northside Baptist in Baltimore have given the heave-ho to down-and-out homeless felines who have so much as dared to venture onto their precious little turfs. (See the Palm Beach Post, October 19, 2007, "Cat Feeders Hiss at Church's Barricade" and Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2009 and May 1, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way That Hatred of Cats Is Every bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine," and "When It Comes to Cats, Acts of Faith Count for Absolutely Nothing with the Good Christians at Northside Baptist.")

The Baptists who run the show at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, kill them with impunity whereas Fundamentalist Mormon enclaves like Colorado City, Arizona, are a no-man's land for both them and dogs as well. (See Cat Defender posts of February 12, 2007 and August 8, 2012 entitled, respectively, "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break" and "Polygamists Condemn Thomas to a Long and Excruciatingly Painful Death by Burying Him Up to His Tiny Neck Inside a Steel Post Filled with Wet Concrete.")

In Bastrop, Texas, Pastor Rick Bartlett stole his neighbors' cat, Moody, and subsequently flung him off a bridge to his death. (See Cat Defender post of January 10, 2014 entitled "Texas Judge Idiotically Allows Pastor Rick Bartlett to Get Away with Stealing and Killing Moody but a Civil Court May Yet Hold Him Accountable.")

Even when they are not killing cats outright, the gross negligence shown them by the likes of Cross Church in Seattle and evangelical blowhards such as Prophetess Royal Poinciana Sprewell in Kissimmee is usually more than sufficient in order to result in them suffering life-threatening injuries if not indeed their premature deaths. (See Cat Defender posts of May 6, 2009, August 17, 2009, and December 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Resident of a Church-Run Homeless Shelter in Seattle Uses a Box Cutter in Order to Gut Scatt from Collarbone to Tail," "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as a Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon," and, "Tavia's Desperate Pleas for Help Fall Upon the Deaf Ears of the Evangelical Who Abandoned Her and the Heartless Officials and Citizens of Kissimmee.")

Although St. Sampson's has not said one way or the other if it is planning on acquiring a replacement for Barney, that likely is not in the cards. Besides, during his tenure he became pretty much indispensable and irreplaceable.

Nonetheless, with him now gone there will not be anyone to console the bereaved in quite the same way that he did for so very long. "When relatives and friends have suffered the awful loss of someone close to them and go to visit a cemetery they are not in the best frame of mind but Barney was always there to cheer them up," Curzon explained to The Mirror.

No matter how hard modern man attempts to first rationalize and then curtly dismiss such events, there simply is not any way of getting around the reality that there is something profoundly sad about the death of a cat. That is not only attributable to their brief life-expectancies and the total lack of understanding and appreciation that they receive while alive, but it also lies in knowing that they will not be coming back in either this world or ten-thousand worlds in the future.

With their young minds unpolluted by the blatant lies so profusely disseminated by the Platonists, Jews, Christians, and rationalists in the universities, the Norsemen and the presocratic Greeks understood that only too well. Along with that they also knew that although existence could be beautiful and joyful, it also had its ugly and heartbreaking side as well.

Perhaps most important of all, the Norse were fully cognizant that both they and their gods, who also were mortal, were doomed. Yet, they fought valiantly to the bitter end when the Catholics finally subdued and exterminated them and in the process nearly succeeded in completely erasing not only any memory that they had so much as existed but their dark and terrifying truths as well.

Although they and their culture were consigned to the dust bin of history long ago, the special relationship that they had with cats refuses to die and given that the roines, as the inhabitants of St. Sampson's Parish are known, were so willing to open up their hearts to Barney it is entirely possible that a few precious drops of residual Norse blood still flows in their aged veins. "All our family loved you so very much and we will always be so grateful of the comfort you gave us at what can be a difficult place," Kelly Ogier said of Barney on Facebook. "You brought sunshine to us and we will love you forever."

Well, perhaps at least until both she and St. Sampson's Cemetery join him in the great void. In the final analysis, however, that is not such a bad deal. It simply means that wonderful cats like him should be loved, treasured, and revered for every day that they are here because tomorrow is not guaranteed to any creature and life after death is only a gimmick concocted by the Christians in order to line their pockets, enslave the naïve, and to excuse the detestable crimes that they persist in committing here in the present.

Photos: Small World News Service via The Mirror.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Freckles Is Alive and Well More Than Two Years after Having Been Inexcusably Left for Dead in the Rubble of the Burned-Out Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter

Freckles Was Found Alive Six Days Later

"She has made a complete recovery and is such a happy and loving girl. She's such a wonderful companion."
-- Emily Tolliver of the Lexington Humane Society 

It is not known how it all began for Freckles. She either could have been born without a home and thereafter unjustly and inhumanely incarcerated by an Animal Control officer or she may have had at one time a family who later dumped her at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter (KWAS).

Her friendly and sociable demeanor tends to lend credence to the latter explanation but either way her past history made little difference when at 9:45 p.m. on November 29, 2013 a deadly fire broke out at the facility located in the heart of coal country in Rockholds, Kentucky. That is because on that hellish night she was just one of thirty-seven helpless felines who were inexcusably left locked in their cages to be either burned, suffocated, or crushed to death by the flames, smoke, and disintegrating walls and roof.

There was considerable discrepancy in press reports at that time but somewhere between twenty-nine and thirty-four of Freckles' fellow felines perished. Somehow the one-year-old tortoiseshell survived the fire but even then she was cruelly condemned to spend the following six days trapped in her cage and licking her injuries. In addition to those miseries, she had neither food, water, nor even clean air to breathe.

Sooner or later she, too, would have succumbed to either her extensive burns or a lack of sustenance if it had not been for an unidentified insurance investigator who just happened to accidentally stumble upon her on December 5th while sifting through the rubble of the burned-out shelter in search of clues as to the origin of the conflagration.

She immediately was rushed to the Lexington Humane Society (LHS), one-hundred-sixty-two kilometers to the north in the metropolis of the same name, where she was diagnosed to be suffering from an upper respiratory infection, burned paws and pads, and singed fur and whiskers.

Since she had gone without replenishment of any sort for a week, she also was understandably dehydrated and malnourished. The important thing, however, was that she amazingly was still alive.

"She's in serious, but stable condition," Teresa Martin, a volunteer at KWAS, told WBIR-TV of Knoxville on December 6th. (See "Cat Found Alive in Rubble One Week after Animal Shelter Fire.") "Her will to survive is just amazing."

At LHS, Freckles' burns were attended to and she was treated with hydrotherapy but, sadly, all of her claws, both front and rear, had to be surgically removed. In time her fur and whiskers grew back and the pads on her feet healed.

"She is a very sweet cat after everything she has been through (and) we are amazed she is alive," the shelter's Ashley Holder told WKYT-TV of Lexington on December 5th. (See "Cat Pulled from the Rubble of Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.") "Having her here is just wonderful, all of our hearts are filled with joy. We are so glad that she made it through this devastating time."

Freckles and Her Singed Whiskers and Fur

Holder was by no means the only employee of LHS that Freckles charmed with her sweet disposition and unconquerable will to live in the face of such herculean odds against her. Most notably, her colleague Emily Tolliver was so smitten with her that she simply could not let go of her.

As a consequence, Freckles has been residing with her and her two-year-old son, a pair of cats, and two dogs since early in 2014. Best of all, she has made a good recovery and is able to get around well despite not having any claws.

The only obvious drawback is that she likely is confined exclusively indoors these days because without any claws she would be unable to either defend herself or to scale heights in order to elude both animals and humans intent upon doing her harm. It additionally would be almost impossible for her to hunt under such circumstances but since she now has a loving provider that is no longer a necessity.

"She has made a complete recovery and is such a happy and loving girl," Tolliver proclaimed in an August 4, 2015 e-mail letter. "She's such a wonderful companion."

Freckles' traumatic journey from death row to the grave only to be ultimately resurrected like a phoenix from the ashes and to find happiness as one of Tolliver's beloved resident felines can only be described as miraculous. Whether she lives for either twenty more years or a scant twenty minutes, she unquestionably richly deserves every solitary second of her new lease on life.

All of that aside, numerous questions concerning the fire remain unaddressed to this very day. First of all, the discrepancy in the number of feline fatalities never has been explained. Since all institutions of this sort are supposedly required by law to maintain records of all the animals that they take in, it is inexplicable that KWAS did not know exactly how many cats had perished in the blaze.

Secondly, almost nothing has been revealed concerning the origin of the blaze. All that can be deduced from the available information is that since the insurance company ended up paying the shelter $225,000, the fire likely was not set by an employee.

Thirdly, it is not known if either of the shelter's two paid employees or any of its volunteers and foster parents were on duty at the time that the fire erupted. Since it got so quickly out of hand the logical explanation would seem to be that the animals had been left unattended.

An unidentified individual eventually did notify local firefighters, most likely members of the Rockholds Volunteer Fire Department, who arrived on the scene and doused the flames. Press reports later claimed that the firemen and an unspecified number of volunteers from the shelter attempted to rescue some of the cats. That contingent most definitely did not include Martin, however, who only learned of the carnage when she arrived for work the following morning.

The nature and extent of the rescue attempt is of paramount importance because although twenty-nine or more cats perished, only one of the twenty-five dogs housed at the facility died in the blaze. Ironically, the victim was the shelter's mascot, Sassy.

The Burned-Out Shell of the Animal Shelter

"(She) greeted everyone who would come in. She would go to nursing homes. She would go to all the events," Martin told WBIR-TV of Knoxville on December 2, 2013. (See "Animal Shelter Looking for Temporary Home after Devastating Fire.") "She was the ambassador for the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter."

For whatever it is worth, Martin attributes the disproportionate number of feline fatalities to the fact that they were incarcerated in an interior room at the shelter and that the roof collapsed on rescuers before they were able to release them from their cages. Although the firefighters can be excused for not being familiar with the layout of the facility, the volunteers should have had enough bon sens to have gotten the cats out first.

More to the point, it is not only conceivable but highly probable as well that long-standing, institutionalized prejudices against the species also played a significant role in the volunteers' decision to let them burn to death. For instance, it is well-documented that shelters exterminate a far disproportionate number of cats than they do dogs.

They also find it both easier and more profitable to sell back dogs to the public than to do likewise with cats. In fact, some of these hellhole institutions detest cats so much that they categorically even refuse to allow both private individuals and rescue groups to ransom their lives off of death row. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2010 entitled "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Common Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home.")

It accordingly is easy to understand how that such ingrained biases against the species could have resulted in a laissez-faire attitude toward saving their lives on the night of the fire. It additionally is conceivable that the volunteers viewed the blaze as a godsend in that it relieved them of the job of whacking them.

That analysis is buttressed by the disgracefully criminal conduct of shelter employees in the aftermath of the disaster. Specifically, although it surely must have crossed their twisted minds that some of the cats had lived through the inferno, none of them ever bothered to reenter the facility in order to check their cages for survivors.

Press reports claim that they were not permitted to do so but they at the same time fail to mention either who or what authority issued that ridiculous edict. In the end the point is moot because the saving of lives, those of cats included, always trumps all legal proclamations to the contrary.

Besides, the remnants of the shelter that were left standing do not appear to have been in imminent danger of collapse. Furthermore, if the insurance investigator, who was unfamiliar with the premises, was brave enough to have ventured inside in order to collect evidence, staffers who most certainly knew their way around did not have anything even remotely approaching a valid excuse for refusing to reenter the facility in order to search for feline survivors.

If any of them had been willing to have done so, they not only would have found Freckles and thus spared her from being forced to spend a week with the Grim Reaper's icy fingers tightly clutched around her parched throat. Every bit as importantly, they also conceivably could have saved the lives of many other cats as well.

Sassy, Sadly, Did Not Make It Out Alive

Instead, these callous rotters left the cats to die slow and agonizing deaths while still locked in their cages. The pain and torments that they were subjected to during and after the conflagration are almost too horrible to even contemplate.

"I hate that animals had to suffer that way," Kenneth Cumpston of Corbin, sixteen kilometers north of Rockholds, told WBIR-TV in the December 2nd article cited supra. "It's just a horrible way to go, stuck in the fire."

Although absolutely no one even remotely connected with KWAS would agree with her, Virginia Thompson of Rockholds put the entire deplorable situation into the proper moral perspective. "I think an animal's life is (as) precious as a person's and I think that was a horrible, horrible death," she averred to WBIR-TV.

The needless deaths of these cats also constituted the very epitome of animal cruelty and gross negligence. Consequently, if there were so much as an ounce of justice to be found in this world staffers would have been promptly indicted on multiple charges and forced to stand in the dock. If convicted and sentenced, they additionally should have received lifetime bans on working in the animal protection field.

The horrific feline death toll at KWAS was by no means an isolated event in that hundreds, if not indeed thousands, of cats perish each year in fires at both public and private shelters around the world. (See Cat Defender post of April 3, 2007 entitled "Fires at Private Shelters Claim the Lives of More Than Two Dozen Cats in Connecticut.")

In addition to being dressed-up death camps and firetraps, shelters also are incubators of disease as well as stressful and harrowing milieus for cats. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

The only humane and morally acceptable alternative therefore is not to allow any of these wretched institutions ever to get their hands on cats. Instead, all resources should be diverted to sterilization efforts, TNR colonies, temporary sanctuaries and, above all, finding homes for all of those that are homeless.

In its defense, LHS claims on its web site that it adopts out almost five-thousand animals a year and has a save rate of ninety-five per cent. Even though it did a simply outstanding job of rescuing, treating, and placing Freckles, its claims cannot be taken at face value simply because most shelters utilize far too many dodges in order to conceal the carnage that they inflict upon cats.

Most prominently among these ruses are staffers and affiliated Animal Control officers who summarily execute cats in the field and these fatalities are neither included in their intake data nor their kill rates. That is a tactic that the mass murderers at PETA have down to a science. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007, February 9, 2007, and October 7, 2011 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom," "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs," and "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")

Secondly, shelters also kill cats through negligent trapping procedures and these innocent victims likewise are not counted in either their intake numbers or kill rates. (See Cat Defender post of August 3, 2010 entitled "Valley Oak SPCA Kills a Cat by Allowing It to Languish in the Heat in an Unattended Trap for Five Days at the Tulare County Courthouse.")

Freckles at Home Today with One of Her Playmates

Thirdly, shelters outsource their dirty work so as to make themselves look cleaner and more humane. (See Cat Defender post of July 29, 2010 entitled "Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No-Kill Shelter" and the Alamagordo Daily News, November 7, 2009, "Kitty City Near La Luz Provides Haven for Felines Facing Euthanasia.")

Most staffers at these facilities and their affiliated Animal Control officers engage in such wholesale dishonesty and double-talk that in order to even begin to accurately evaluate any of them firsthand, eyewitness data as to the number of cats impounded, what, if any treatment they might require and receive and, most importantly, their ultimate disposition must be known and that knowledge is well beyond the reach of the average citizen. Moreover, these institutions seldom, if ever, are subjected to surprise inspections by either governmental or private concerns.

Even those individuals who unconscionably dump their cats at these facilities wholeheartedly go along with the assurances that they receive that homes will be found for them even though they know in their hearts that they are blatant lies. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2015 entitled "The Cold-Blooded Murder of Spitz Once Again Exposes the Horrifying, Ugly, and Utter Appalling Truth about Not Only Shelters but Callous Owners and Phony-Baloney Animal Rights Groups As Well" and The Fort Bend Star, July 14, 2010, "Baby Kittens Put to Sleep in Error.")

The LHS accordingly could be telling the truth about its kill rate but the nature of the animal sheltering business mitigates against that being the case. Besides, even a kill rate of five per cent is still five per cent too high.

As for KWAS, it decamped to a temporary warehouse in Corbin on December 17, 2013 and its new facility, financed with the blood money that it received from the insurance company, opened its doors to the public in the same city on April 4, 2015. (See an April 2, 2015 article posted on its web site entitled "Animals Moved into New Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter," plus The Times-Tribune of Corbin, April 2, 2014, "A New Home.")

Outrageously, the same old hacks who irresponsibly sentenced all of those cats to die back in 2013 are still running the show instead of being behind bars, which is only what they so richly deserve. Even more deplorably, since the new facility can only accommodate a grand total of one-hundred cats and dogs, they could not possibly be operating anything other than a feline extermination camp in disguise.

Residents of Appalachia have had a long and enduring love affair with king coal despite the disturbing reality that a lopsided proportion of the benefits derived from its extraction from the ground always have accrued to those who have owned the mining companies. Generation after generation of miners, their families, and other residents of the area have been felled by emphysema, black lung, and rock lung while of late the tops of more than four-hundred mountains have been blown off in the search for this valuable, albeit carcinogenic, mineral.

Moreover, the region has some of the poorest performing public schools and health care facilities in the nation. No one either inside or outside the region gives so much as a hoot, but the same is equally true of its animal shelters, especially KWAS. None of that is about to change, however, because Kentuckians, like most Americans, love only money.

Given that Freckles owes her salvation to a real-life, latter-day Johnny Dollar, the LHS, and Tolliver, it can only be concluded that she is alive today not because of anything that KWAS ever did for her but rather in spite of its best efforts to the contrary. It is almost needless to point out that the tens of thousands of cats who are destined to pass through the portals of its latest incarnation over the course of the next several years will not be anywhere nearly as fortunate.

Photos: Emily Tolliver of the Lexington Humane Society (Freckles), WBIR-TV (burned-out shelter), and the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter (Sassy).