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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, December 11, 2014

Uprooted from Home and Left Stranded Thousands of Miles Away, Spice Discovers to Her Horror That Not All the Ghouls and Goblins in This World Are Necessarily to Be Found on Halloween


“I saw something move in the bag. I didn’t know what it could have been. Out popped the cat’s head. It was pretty cool.”
-- Bob Watterson

Spice is a little kitten with three big secrets. Not the least of which is how did the pretty six-month-old gray and white female ever make it all the way from Albuquerque to Portland in less than five days?

Her second secret is the identity of the person who cruelly and irresponsibly zipped her up in a duffel bag on November 5th and then abandoned her on the doorstep of Threads of Hope, a Catholic thrift shop located at 244 St. John’s Street. From that point forward, her story has been meticulously documented but her past remains shrouded in both mystery and intrigue.

Local handyman Bob Watterson was the first to notice the bag and, mistakenly thinking that it contained a donation, he picked it up and carried it inside the old rag shop. His first inclination turned out to be correct in that it did contain a donation but it was not the type that the historically money-mad Catholics easily could convert into the hard currency that they so desperately crave.

“I saw something move in the bag. I didn’t know what it could have been,” he later told the Albuquerque Journal on November 21st. (See “Albuquerque Kitty Turns Up in Gym Bag in Maine.”) “Out popped the cat’s head. It was pretty cool.”

As far as it is known, neither anyone working inside the store nor passing by on the street outside saw who it was that left behind the bag. Regardless of whatever else that can be said about the dirty deed it certainly was a rather bold undertaking coming as it did not only in broad daylight but during business hours as well.

It also was planned well in advance in that the bag contained both cat litter and canned food. It is far from clear, however, if the choice of the shop was intentional or mere happenstance.

Under the former scenario its selection possibly could indicate that the culprit is a Catholic in that it is difficult to comprehend anyone else being willing to entrust the care of any cat to an institution that for millenniums has meted out nothing but diabolic abuse to members of the species. On the other hand, religion may not have played any role whatsoever in Spice’s plight in that individuals abandon cats all the time, in all sorts of places, and under all types of circumstances.

For instance, some individuals even deposit them both inside and outside of bins that are used in order to collect old clothes and, in Angleterre, bottles and cans. Nevertheless, since so many of these abandonments take place on Boxing Day that suggests that Christmas holds some sort of significance in the lives of the perpetrators of these outrageous acts.

Regardless of the motivation behind abandonments of this type, it seems clear that the culprits look upon unwanted cats in much the same fashion as they do old clothes. Even if their heartfelt desire is to spare their victims trips to the killing fields that masquerade as shelters, that ploy most often backfires.

In a case that bears a striking resemblance to the cruel fate that befell Spice, a seven-week-old calico kitten named Sleepy was sealed up in a brown box on June 24, 2009 and deposited in the heat and humidity on the doorstep of a mattress store at 2555 Grand Army of the Republic Highway in Swansea, seventy-seven kilometers south of Boston. Without either water, ventilation, or food, save for a few morsels of kibble, she surely would not have survived for long without the intervention of store employee Michael Medeiros.

Sleepy. Where Is She Now?

“When I tossed the box on my desk, I heard a meow,” he later recalled. Even after she had dodged that bullet, she nonetheless was incarcerated at the Ernest W. Bell Animal Shelter on Stevens Road and that was the last ever to be heard of her. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2009 entitled “Pretty Little Sleepy Survives a Suffocation and Starvation Attempt on Her Life Thanks to the Timely Intervention of a Mattress Store Employee.”)

For ever so briefly it at first appeared that Spice had side-stepped Sleepy’s fate when Watterson took her home to live with him, his wife, teenage daughter, dog, and resident feline. Once she had committed the faux pas of pissing in his bed he however quickly dropped her like a hot potato on November 11th at the Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland (ARLGP) in nearby Westbrook.

As part of the shelter’s routine intake procedure, Spice was scanned upon arrival for an implanted microchip and that is how that it belatedly was learned that she hails from Albuquerque. Her owner, who was contacted three days later by ARLGP, revealed at that time that she had adopted the cat earlier this year from a shelter in Albuquerque and that is likely where the chip was implanted.

The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, was unable however to shine much light on Spice’s cross-county misadventures. All that is known is that she resides in a “large apartment complex” and that Spice vanished sometime during the evening of October 31st while she was handing out candy and other goodies to children on Halloween.

With that being the case, what happened to her on that fatal evening constitutes Spice’s third secret. For her part, her owner claims to be every bit as surprised as everyone else that she wound up so far away from home.

“She was floored, absolutely stunned. She doesn’t know anyone in Maine and has never been here, so she had no idea how the cat got here,” Patsy Murphy of ARLGP told the Today Show on November 21st. (See “Lost Cat Trying to Go Home for Holidays after Mysterious Twenty-Three-Hundred Mile Trip.”) “English is not her first language, and she is very shy, but she desperately wants the cat back.”

That may or may not be true but she does not want Spice back badly enough in order to foot the bill for her return. “She does want her cat back,” Murphy’s sidekick, Jeana Roth, affirmed to the Bangor Daily News on November 22nd. (See “Kitten That Went Missing from New Mexico Found in Portland.”) “Unfortunately she doesn’t have the financial means to send Spice across the country home.”

In that regard she is far from being alone because ARLGP also answers the roll call for all those blessed with deep pockets but, regrettably, short arms. Specifically, the charity claims that it does not have so much as a lousy sou to spare in order to transport Spice back home. It thus would appear that a few drops of errant piss are not the only constraint upon the amount of compassion that both guardians and rescue groups alike have to offer a kitten in extremis.

As difficult as it may be for some contemporaries to comprehend, a lack of money was not always the deal breaker that it is today. Veterinarians, physicians, and other professionals used to be more than willing to work with the impecunious and that in turn gave birth to such venerable old practices as paying on time, lay-away plans, and payment in kind.

There even used to be old-fashioned virtues such as generosity, compassion, and liberality. For the most part, however, all of them have gone with the wind; today, the only tie that binds is cold, hard cash.

Spice Incarcerated at ARLGP in Westbrook

Sandwiched in between a representative from the anti-pissing brigade on the one hand and a pair of confirmed tightwads on the other hand, it sure looked like little Spice’s fate had been sealed. No one, however, should ever underestimate the resourcefulness of a group as well-connected as ARLGP.

It accordingly did what it does best and went begging on bended knee to one of its sugar daddies, Jonathan W. Ayers of IDEXX Laboratories, a multinational headquartered in Westbrook that develops and manufactures diagnostic, detection, and information systems for use by both small and large animal veterinarians. Always on the lookout for opportunities in order to burnish both his and his company's public image, he readily agreed to help return Spice home to her owner.

“It really touched my heart,” he told the Portland Press Herald on November 21st. (See “Wayward Kitten Will Fly Home to New Mexico from Maine.”) “She’s a miracle cat, and I felt like I could do something to complete the miracle.”

All of that would have been more than sufficient but Ayers did not stop there, however. “It just immediately struck me that there was a very strong bond between this pet owner and Spice,” he declared to the Albuquerque Journal in the article cited supra without disclosing how that he had arrived at that conclusion. “When I read Spice’s story, I realized she really wanted to go home.”

Initial plans called for Ayers to not only pay for Spice's transportation but also to pony up for a staffer from ARLGP to accompany her. "We don't want Spice to incur any more stress than she already has," he vowed to the Albuquerque Journal.

A quick turnaround also was promised. "We're hoping to get her on a plane within the next two weeks at most, and we know Thanksgiving is next week and it would be wonderful to get her home for the holidays (sic)," Roth told the Portland Press Herald in the article cited supra.

That is not the way things eventually worked out in that it was not until December 4th that Spice actually was put on a homeward bound plane. A lingering common cold that she had been battling has been cited in press reports as the reason for the delay but that may not be the entire story.

After arriving in Albuquerque Spice, who was accompanied by Murphy, was taken by ground transportation to the Animal Welfare Department's eastside shelter at 8920 Lomas Boulevard where she received a homecoming welcome worthy of a conquering hero. The media was on hand in order to record the event for the sake of posterity and the facility was festooned with "Welcome Home" balloons and a Christmas stocking with her name on it was pinned to a poster.

Her mysterious owner, however, was conspicuously absent. She was scheduled to have taken custody of Spice later in the day but that is a rather questionable outcome in that if she truly loved Spice she would not have missed her homecoming for anything in the world.

"She was a big little deal," Murphy told the Albuquerque Journal on December 5th. (See "Well-Traveled Cat Welcomed Home in Albuquerque.") "We got calls from all over from people who wanted to pay to reunite the cat and her family. Calls came from New York, California, Texas, New Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, China, and Germany."

Spice and Jonathan W. Ayers

It remains unclear, however, who actually paid for what and how many staffers from ARLGP were in Spice's party. The Portland Press Herald reported on December 3rd that it actually was Southwest Airlines and not Ayers who had paid for Spice's flight. Also, Spice was scheduled to have been accompanied by both Murphy and Roth with Ayers footing the bill for their overnight stay in an Albuquerque hotel. (See "Cat from New Mexico That Was Found in Maine Will Fly Home Thursday.")

The Albuquerque Journal, however, claims in the December 5th article cited supra that it actually was Ayers who paid for Spice's airfare and that only Murphy accompanied her. Of course, it is always conceivable that while Murphy was occupied with dropping off  Spice that Roth was living it up back at the hotel with a daiquiri in one hand and a dog-eared copy of Portnoy's Complaint in the other. The paper further claims that the only thing that Southwest contributed was a crate for Spice to ride in but that, even if true, seems to be rather superfluous in that ARLGP surely has plenty of spare pet carriers.

Regardless of what actually transpired, Spice quite obviously did not either need or require two chaperones and that gives rise to speculation that a donnybrook broke out between Murphy and Roth as to which of them was going to get the free trip to Albuquerque. On the other hand, perhaps they simply put their opportunistic noggins together and decided to stick it to both Southwest and Ayres.

That is not nitpicking considering that multitudes of cats are either dying or being systematically exterminated every day of the week because of a lack of guardians, shelter, food, and veterinary care. All the money that both Southwest and Ayres conceivably squandered on flying, housing, and feeding the superfluous staffer could have been much better spent on cats in need. Moreover, such crass, self-serving behavior exposes the true values and priorities of all those involved.

Back in the autumn of 2005 when a thirteen-month-old brown and gray female named Emily from Appleton, Wisconsin, accidentally became trapped inside a shipping container and wound up in Nancy her return was handled much differently. For starters, Raflatac, the laminating and labeling company that had unwittingly imported her, not only tracked down her owners from information contained on her identification tag but also paid her mandatory quarantine fee of $210.

Continental Airlines then magnanimously flew her home in a $6,000 business class seat. Furthermore, the airline certainly did not provide her with any superfluous chaperones.

Rather, George Chiladze accompanied her on the first leg of her flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport, outside of Paris, to Newark. From there on to General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee she was in the care of Gaylia McLeod.

"I know it is close to the holidays," McLeod acknowledged at that time. "I'm happy to be a part of reuniting Emily with her family." Chiladze felt the same way. "I will make somebody really happy to deliver this poor traveler back home," he said sincerely.

The differences in how Emily and Spice were treated are illuminating. In the former's case, both Raflatac and Continental acted out of compassion and without either any grandstanding or overt self-interest. The same most definitely cannot be said for ARLGP, Ayers, and Southwest who have milked Spice's misfortune for all that it is worth.

Most impressive of all, Emily's eternally loving and grateful owners, Donny and Lesley McElhiney and their then nine-year-old son, Nicky, did not flinch at having to drive one-hundred-seventy-three kilometers to the airport in order to be on hand to throw their arms around her as soon as she was taken off the plane. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in the Hold of a Cargo Ship.")

Spice and Patsy Murphy Meet the Press in Albuquerque

Attempting to make sense out of Spice's biggest secret is not an easy task. Be that as it may, the same rules apply in this instance as they do in solving all riddles and puzzles.

Most important of all, nothing can be taken at face value. In this case, Spice's owner simply could be lying.

For example, Spice could have urinated in her bed and as a result she either abandoned her or gave her away to an acquaintance. In that light it would be interesting to know if she reported Spice's disappearance to either the Animal Welfare Department or the police. Also, did she make either any inquiries in her apartment building or put up any Lost Cat posters?

If she did not deliberately choose to get rid of Spice, it then follows that she either was stolen, accidentally picked up by a cat-lover who thought that she was homeless, or she accidentally, like Emily, became trapped inside some kind of movable object. Although cats have been known to walk tremendous distances in order to return to their homes, Spice most definitely did not walk all the way to Portland in less than five days. (See Cat Defender post of April 27, 2007 entitled "French Chat Named Mimine Walks Eight-Hundred Kilometers to Track Down Family That Abandoned Her.")

She therefore most assuredly transversed the twenty-three-hundred-mile distance using some type of modern conveyance. Considering how quickly that she arrived in Portland, it would seem that par avion would be most logical choice.

Unless she was either transported aboard a private plane or smuggled onto a commercial airliner, that could be easily checked because all major carriers maintain records pertaining to all cats and other animals that fly with them. It is doubtful, however, that the lazy rotters at ARLGP even bothered to look into the matter; on the contrary, they were far too busy plotting how best to exploit Spice's misfortune for their own benefit in order to waste time doing any serious detective work.

With the notable exceptions of service animals and an ongoing pilot project for pets in Illinois, Amtrak does not normally allow animals on board its trains. Its eastbound Southwest Chief does make one daily stop in Albuquerque but that train terminates in Chicago.

Therefore, even if  Spice had been smuggled aboard she and her handler would have been forced to change trains and then to continue on from there to Portland. Even under that scenario it is unlikely that they could have completed such an arduous trek in five days.

BNSF Railway also stops in Albuquerque on its way to Chicago and although cats have been known to hop freight trains by their lonesome, that seems unlikely in this instance due to Spice's tender years. (See Cat Defender post of June 7, 2007 entitled "Rascal Hops on a Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga.")

Greyhound operates between Albuquerque and Portland and it is remotely conceivable that Spice could have been smuggled aboard one of its buses. Individuals smuggle cats and small dogs aboard them all the time but that activity is usually confined to its much shorter runs, such as between Manhattan and Atlantic City.

Emily and George Chiladze Aboard Continental Airlines

Since traveling by boat is totally out of the question, that leaves only trucks and automobiles at Spice's disposal. Given that innumerable cats have been known to unwittingly crawl into either commercial trucks or to be carried aboard them after secreting themselves away in packages and furniture, that is a real possibility in Spice's case. (See Cat Defender posts of November 6, 2006 and August 18, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado" and "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

It is even conceivable that she was sent through the mail. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2008 entitled "Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland.")

If Spice did not travel by truck, the next most likely explanation is that she was transported by car. That assumption is based not only upon the short amount of time that her journey took, but also the circumstances surrounding her abandonment in Portland.

It thus would appear that she was acquired, either legitimately or by nefarious means, by someone in Albuquerque, driven to Portland, and then dumped at Threads of Hope. (See Cat Defender post of July 25, 2014 entitled "Poussey Overcomes a Surprise Boat Ride to Dover, a Stint on Death Row, and Being Bandied About Like a Flying Dutchman in Order to Finally Make It Home to La Havre.")

In the final analysis, it is highly unlikely that the truth ever will be known. Spice's abductor, who could be either a permanent resident of the Portland area or someone merely passing through town, is not about to come forward and make a public confession, her guardian is not talking to the media, and Spice does not speak any language that her human counterparts are able to comprehend.

In spite of the volumes of laudatory media coverage that all of those involved in this affair have received, a closer examination of both the facts and circumstances reveals that none of them are heroes. On the contrary, by their words and deeds they have unwittingly exposed much of what is dreadfully wrong with both cat ownership as well as those individuals and groups who are responsible for their safety, well-being, and health.

In addition to her owner's carelessness, cheapness and, above all, unwillingness to collect her at the airport, Watterson's callous mistreatment and abandonment of Spice is totally inexcusable. First of all, since he blew his stack over a little bit of urine it is frightening to think what he might have done to her if she had either pooped or vomited in his house.

Secondly, by abandoning her at ARLGP he very easily could have initialed her death warrant. No one connected with the organization has been willing to publicly speculate as to what it would have done with Spice if the implanted microchip had not been detected and deciphered, but the possibilities are anything but pleasant to contemplate.

Once it was learned that she was Albuquerque, however, the shelter immediately recognized that it had a proverbial gold mine in both free publicity and donations on its hands and that is the principal reason that it went to such extravagant lengths in order to reunite her with her owner as opposed to getting out the sodium pentobarbital. The free, all expenses paid, late autumn vacation to sunny Albuquerque that Murphy, and possibly Roth, so adroitly finagled for herself was icing on the cake.

Emily Is Reunited with the McElhineys at the Airport  

Just how perilously close Watterson came to dooming Spice is perhaps best illustrated by what happened on December 23, 2010 to a gray cat named Jack-in-the-Box from Troy, New York. Because he, like Spice, was urinating outside of his litter box his owner, Robin Becker, fobbed him off onto then forty-eight-year-old Michael T. Walsh of 10 Woodbridge Avenue who in turn had pledged to dump him at a shelter.

Apparently too cheap to even purchase a pet carrier, either Becker or Walsh sealed up Jack in a cardboard box but when he, justifiably terrified to death, let go with another burst of hot, smelly piss that was the end of the line. Instead of proceeding on to the shelter as agreed upon, Walsh promptly deposited him at the curb of One-Hundred-Ninth and One-Hundred-Tenth streets at the junction of Third and Fourth avenues in the Lansingburgh section of town to be collected by the garbageman.

Jack surely would have been either crushed to death by a trash compactor or dumped in a landfill if his plight had not accidentally come to the attention of Melissa Lombardo who was out walking a pit bull named Phoebe that she was fostering. "I was shocked and sad. I felt bad for the cat," she later told WXAA-TV of Albany on December 23, 2010. (See "Abandoned Cat Found 'Miracle on One-Hundred-Tenth Street'.") "It was obviously scared. It was crying."

Lombardo contacted the Troy Police who took Jack to the Troy Veterinary Hospital where he was treated for exposure to the bitter cold that grips upstate New York during that time of the year. Becker later saw a story about him on television and contacted the authorities who subsequently arrested Walsh on December 30th and charged him with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

As for Jack, he was scheduled to have gone to a new home sometime during the first week of January of 2011. (See Cat Defender post of October 14, 2011 entitled "Chucked Out in the Trash, Tabitha Winds Up in an Oxygen Chamber with Four Broken Ribs, an Injured Lung, and Pneumonia.")

In addition to being cruel and heartless, Watterson also is guilty of being terribly shortsighted in that if he lives long enough he, like just about all men, is almost certain to come down with an enlarged prostate and the incontinence that accompanies the malady. Once that happens he is once again going to be relegated to wearing diapers, pissing all over himself, and stinking up someone else's house.

Unlike Spice, however, his condition is not going to be either temporary or one that he is going to be able to outgrow. In comparison, occasionally being forced to clean up a little cat urine and feces is of no consequence, especially if doing so saves a life.

The case against Ayers and IDEXX is a good deal more sordid. First of all, the company employs nearly six-thousand workers at forty locations around the world and in 2013 it had revenues of $1.38 billion.

Ayers himself knocked down almost four-million dollars last year in salary, stocks, and other assorted perks. Even though he does own four cats, the only thing known for certain that he did for Spice was to pick up her veterinary tab; the largess that he squandered on Murphy and Roth does not count.

Emily and Nicky. Is That Not Worth More Than Money?

His cheapness even extends to fundraisers held by ARLGP. For instance, at an open house held on December 6th IDEXX raffled off a measly $300 Visa gift card and a paid adoption fee for the lucky winner. (See the American Journal of Westbrook, December 4, 2014, "Westbrook Notes, December 4th.")

That is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg, however, as far as Ayers and his colleagues at IDEXX are concerned in that they are god-rotten, scum-of-the-earth vivisectors! Quite obviously, all of the tests, procedures, and instruments that the company develops and manufactures for veterinarians and others must first be tested on cats, dogs, and other animals.

In that light it is imperative that the company be investigated in order to determine where it gets its cats and other animals, the conditions under which they are housed, the tests performed on them, and what ultimately becomes of them. Needless to say, giving a few quid to ARLGP pales in comparison with the innumerable cats that are tortured and killed in IDEXX's laboratories.

The atrocities that take place in its Livestock and Poultry Diagnostics Division surely must trump even those committed by its Companion Animal Group. For example, it is estimated that seven-trillion terrestrial animals are slaughtered each year in the United States alone for consumption and that does not even begin to include the unspeakable abuse meted out to dairy cows and laying hens.

On a more fundamental level, veterinary medicine as it is practiced today is nothing less than a fraud and a disgrace. For instance, small animal practitioners normally will not treat either cats that belong to the impecunious or those that are homeless. (See Cat Defender post of March 19, 2014 entitled "Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital.")

At the same time they are more than willing to kill off, for a fee, cats that simply have grown either old or incontinent. (See Cat Defender posts of October 18, 2014 and August 27, 2014 entitled, respectively, "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" and "After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner.")

They also work hand in glove with shelters and rescue groups in the commission of their myriad of crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of January 11, 2012 and December 22, 2011 entitled, respectively, "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years" and "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals.")

Likewise, the wholesale atrocities committed against animals that are raised for their flesh, milk, eggs, and other body parts would hardly be possible without the able-bodied assistance of large animal veterinarians. Members of this thoroughly immoral profession also experiment on defenseless animals themselves and IDEXX is up to its eyeballs in aiding and abetting them in the commission of their crimes.

For example, with locations in Columbia, Missouri, West Sacramento, and Ludwigsburg in Baden- Württemberg, as well as at its flagship office in Westbrook, IDEXX's Bioresearch division is devoted to testing, monitoring, and studying diseases in research animals. Included in all of that devilry is unspecified genetic research, cold-blooded vivisection itself, and the inculcation of veterinary and graduate students in the ancient art of torturing defenseless animals to death.

As thoroughly reprehensible and patently immoral as all of that is, it has not deterred ARLGP the least little bit from frolicking in the hay with Ayers and IDEXX. "IDEXX is a generous supporter of the ARLGP, and we are very appreciative of their help getting this little lady back to her family," the organization proclaimed recently in an undated press release posted on its web site. (See "Spice, Kitten from New Mexico Mysteriously Lands at ARLGP!") "Please join us in putting our paws in the air for IDEXX and Jon Ayers."

Jack-in-the Box and Veterinary Assistant Natasha Stalker 

Besides that, ARLGP is not only cheap but greedy and opportunistic as well. "To support animals like Spice, who come to the ARLGP in need of treatment, shelter, and care, please consider making a donation to our treatment care fund to support our life-saving programs," the organization pleaded in the press release cited supra. "Every dollar makes a difference."

There undoubtedly is much truth in that last declaration but it is suspected that the difference is more often than not reflected in Roth's and Murphy's bank accounts than in the lives of animals in need. As revolting as that may be, it is merely the norm with most animal rescue groups.

For example, when it comes to cases of animal cruelty most of these organizations categorically refuse to even launch investigations. Instead, they content themselves with appealing to the public for donations while offering beau geste rewards for information that they know full well they never will be forced to honor. (See Cat Defender post of January 6, 2010 entitled "Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie's Head.")

The organization additionally continues to dishonestly trumpet the value of implanted microchips. "Spice's journey speaks to the importance of microchipping and providing identification tags for your cat or dog," the shelter stated in the press release cited supra. "Microchipping is a low-cost service we provide right here at the ARLGP, for just $35."

Clearly, microchips are just another of its numerous money-making scams in that quite a few entities, such as Animal Humane New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque, sometimes offer this service for free. Even Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London is offering the service gratis during the run-up to a new mandatory microchipping law that targets canines and is scheduled to go into effect on April 6, 2016. (See "Battersea's Five-Hundred-Day Countdown to Compulsory Microchipping" at www.battersea.org.uk.)

As it should be perfectly obvious to any thinking person, microchips do not offer cats so much as an inkling of protection against both humans and animals intent upon doing them harm. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

"It's wonderful when you read about these reunions, but unfortunately for ninety per cent of lost cats, there is no returning home," Lorie Chortyk of the BCSPCA told The Province of Vancouver on January 2, 2011. (See "Cats Rarely Come Back.")

Additionally, microchips are sometimes difficult to locate and decipher, the contact information contained in the databases that they are linked up to is not always kept updated, and they have been known to cause cancer. (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.")

Perhaps most egregious of all, ARLGP is opposed to both homeless cats and TNR. "We hope that the message here is that if you have a stray animal in your neighborhood, use your shelter as a resource," Roth declared to the Bangor Daily News on September 4th. (See "Stray Cat Survives Shotgun Blast from Gorham Police Officer Who Thought Feline Was Rabid.")

Since very few cats that enter shelters alive ever come out in the same condition, it is anything but surprising that ARLGP intentionally fails to disclose its kill-rate on its web site. Although it does place some cats with farmers as mousers, it also is mum on the subject of sanctuaries.

Spice Contemplates an Uncertain Future. Que Será, Será.

Instead of defending and caring for the animals that need it most, ARLGP is guilty of not only accepting receipt of shekels that are encrusted with the blood of murdered animals, such as those given to it by Ayers, but also of sucking up to both the Gorham Police Department (GPD) and Animal Control after they conspired to have a falsely accused and totally innocent cat named Clark gunned down in cold blood on August 20th. "We had a meeting with the Gorham Police Department and we talked about communications and working together," Murphy disclosed back in September. "We're happy to work with the Animal Control officer and community to get strays into shelters."

After the way in which those two agencies attacked and nearly killed Clark any halfway legitimate animal protection group would have immediately brought animal cruelty charges against both of them and the fact that ARLGP freely chose to do the exact opposite is just one more staggering indictment against it. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun.")

It is a difficult lesson for both individuals and groups alike to learn but money is the elixir of life as far as most people are concerned. With that being the norm, it is imperative that individuals and groups that cherishes their independence and freedom have their own sources of funding and that does not include bumming from vivisectors, the government, churches, or anyone else for that matter.

In that respect, ARLGP's sellout to IDEXX, the GPD, and others, stands in stark juxtaposition to the behavior of practitioners of TNR who not only donate their time and labor but also pay for their cats' food, milk, shelter, veterinary care, and legal protection out of their own pockets. Unashamed of a little honest toil, most of them labor at uninspiring, low-paying, dead-end jobs but their sacrifices allow them to maintain both their integrity and independence.

ARLGP's legitimacy as an animal protection group is further tarnished by the petit fait that it does not have to associate with the likes of Ayers and IDEXX. Even Murphy herself has publicly admitted that her organization had dozens of offers from individuals around the world who were willing to come to Spice's aid but yet she shunned all of them in favor of accepting shekels from a vivisector.

It is anyone's guess as to what kind of life Spice has been able to resurrect for herself upon her return to Albuquerque. The very best that can be hoped is that she has not once again gone from the frying pan into the fire.

Perhaps the Animal Welfare Department occasionally will look in on her in order to see how she is doing but even that is doubtful. Murphy may have done some nosing around while she was in town but more than likely she was too busy enjoying herself in order to have been troubled with doing so.

It is difficult to let go of cats, even those that have been encountered only from afar, in that there is always the tendency to worry about them and to wonder how that they are progressing. Be that as it may, Spice is now on her own and must either sink or swim by her lonesome.

In what was destined to be a harbinger of things to come, Spice's ordeal began on All Hallows' Eve which can be a pretty spooky time of the year in its own right. She can be forgiven, however, for failing to realize back then that in this world there are considerably more ghouls and goblins to be found in everyday life than ever have ventured out on that celebrated night of both fun and mischief.

For instance, with Murphy and Roth swooping high and low on their gold-plated broomsticks in search of yet still more shekels, Ayers terrorizing cats and other animals with his horns, long tail, and razor-sharp pitchfork, and Watterson, mop and pail in hand, screaming like a banshee about a little piss, Spice surely must have thought that she had descended into the bowels of Hades. Her unfortunate foray into the macabre world of shelters, their sugar daddies, and those who use them in order to get rid of unwanted cats is, hopefully, at an end but for millions of other animals the horrors that she experienced constitute nothing less than a never-ending nightmare.

Photos: Shawn Patrick Ouellette of the Portland Press Herald (Spice by herself and in a cage), The Herald News of Fall River (Sleepy), ARLGP (Spice and Ayers and a contemplative Spice), Dean Hanson of the Albuquerque Journal (Spice and Murphy), Christopher Ena of the Associated Press (Emily and Chiladze), Kirk Wagner of the Appleton Post-Crescent (Emily's homecoming and with Nicky), and Cindy Schultz of the Albany Times Union (Jack-in-the-Box and Stalker).

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tory MP Anne McIntosh Calls for Cats to Be Brought Back to the Palace of Westminster in Order to Get the Rodent Problem Under Control

Anne McIntosh

"It is a matter of fact that the mouse population at Westminster is spiraling out of control. Will the Right Honorable Gentleman review his decision and, using the same model adopted by ten and eleven Downing Street, consider having a rescue cat that can be released in the evening to keep the mouse population under control?"
-- Anne McIntosh, Conservative MP from Thirsk and Malton in North Yorkshire

Although the world famous resident felines of Downing Street, both past and present, receive a lion's share of Fleet Street's attention, cats also are a hotly debated topic down the street at the Palace of Westminster where their invaluable service as mousers is dearly coveted by some members of Parliament (MPs). That is especially the case in that it is claimed that the joint is overrun with mice who deposit their excrement all over the place and even gnaw into official documents.

Whereas a considerable amount of palaver is devoted to the use of the Downing Street cats as mousers that is clearly a well-orchestrated public relations charade. That is not to say that the official residences of the prime minister and the chancellor the Exchequer do not have mice but that problem is handled by professional exterminators.

The cats, on the other hand, are kept in order to not only put kinder, gentler, and more civilized public faces on some pretty unsavory characters but also to temporarily take citizens' minds off of some of the more disquieting political and economic realities of the day.

By contrast, the ongoing debate in Parliament appears, at least from afar to be much more genuine and practical in that any cats employed there as mousers would belong to that body as a whole instead of to individual politicians and that in turn would make it far more difficult, but by no means totally impossible, for any member to exploit their presence for personal political gain. That analysis of the situation is buttressed by the fact that in comparison to the executives on Downing Street individual MPs receive comparatively little media exposure.

In the past the palace has employed cats as mousers including an unidentified feline who was so proficient that it reportedly caught up to an astounding sixty mice per night. Due to ailurophobia and some MPs being allergic to them, the facility currently relies exclusively upon professional exterminators, either for better or for worse, in order to control the rodent population.

Consequently, the only known current resident feline is a gray cat named Order who is owned by the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. While it is not known if Order is used on rodent patrol, it is doubtful that a single feline would be capable of policing the sprawling estate.

Pauline Latham
Predictably, the issue has divided parliamentarians along party lines with the Conservatives being largely in favor of bringing back the cats while both Laborites and the Liberal Democrats are adamantly opposed to their return. Also, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London, which supplied Prime Minister David Cameron with his current resident feline, Larry, back in 2011, has become unwittingly embroiled up to its eyeballs not only in the tug-of-war itself but the internecine nature of English politics as well.

"I am thrilled and delighted to work with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home," Anne McIntosh, a Conservative MP from Thirsk and Malton in North Yorkshire, declared to The Independent on January 28th. (See "Cats Poised to Descend on Parliament to Help Rid Westminster of Vermin.") "In my view, provided the situation was controlled with care, particularly considering the welfare of those allergic to cats, the best way to control and eliminate the mouse problem in Parliament would be a rescue cat."

Her proposal quickly was seconded by her colleague in the House of Commons, Pauline Latham, a Conservative from Derbyshire. "Battersea Dogs and Cats Home do a fantastic job, and I would certainly love to have one of their rescue cats come and take care of the mouse problem in my office," she added to The Independent.

In response to the politicians' plea for assistance, Battersea initially offered to dispatch a three-year-old tuxedo named Jill, an orange four-year-old male named Finn, and a one-year-old tortoiseshell named Bloom to work as palace mousers. Unfortunately for the cats, the Commission which runs the Palace vetoed that idea and it is not known what ever became of either them or their hopes for new leases on life.

Undeterred, McIntosh has continued to press her case. "It is a matter of fact that the mouse population at Westminster is spiraling out of control," she told Viscount Thurso ( John Archibald Sinclair), a Liberal Democrat who represents Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross in the Scottish Highlands, during debate on October 22nd according to the Daily Mail's October 23rd account of the proceedings. (See "Vermin in the Commons...Call the Squeaker!") "Will the Right Honorable Gentleman review his decision and, using the same model adopted by ten and eleven Downing Street, consider having a rescue cat that can be released in the evening to keep the mouse population under control?"

Thurso, however, was not about to be swayed. "Measures are being taken to combat that through pest control," he retorted. "Given the scale and size of the estate, it would be necessary to have a great number of cats to make any impact."

There are several problems with Thurso's bluster. First of all, the professional exterminators obviously are not any more up to the job than Vincent Price and his colleagues were when they battled an invasion of ship rats in a terrifying episode  of Suspense from the 1950's entitled "Three Skeleton Key." Secondly, he is guilty of deliberately distorting the number of cats that would be required in order to get the rodent infestation under control.

Bloom, Finn, and Jill: Where Are They Now?

All of that would have been bad enough if he had had the bon sens to have stopped there but he could not resist to temptation to make jest of McIntosh's proposal. "Having a herd of cats on the parliamentary estate would present a number of difficulties," he continued. "I am also advised by my own chief whip that herding cats is quite difficult."

Thurso obviously considers himself to be a part-time comedian and a full-time cutie-pie. His words and actions, however, expose him to be little more than a dishonest smart aleck.

That is because if Latham's plan were implemented, the care and supervision of the cats would be the personal responsibility of individual legislators and neither any herds nor herding would be necessary. Plus, their presence would be required only in specific offices and establishments, such as restaurants and bars, with significant rodent problems.

Of course, it is conceivable that it is precisely that aspect of Latham's proposal that Thurso fears the most. While it is not known if a per se cat vote does in fact exist, the political hacks on Downing Street clearly have demonstrated the numerous benefits of owning one.

"If mice can be close to the source of food and pose a health hazard, one would think it would be perfectly sensible to introduce a cat to keep the mouse population down." McIntosh, apparently familiar with the old Norwegian Sprichwort which counsels that "it is better to feed one cat than many mice," added in vain.

Similar arguments have been raised to no avail all over England, in New York City, Carson City, Salem, and elsewhere. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2008, April 20, 2006, February 17, 2009, and May 21, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Pecksniffian Management at Swindon Pub Plies Ember with Food and Then Gives Her the Bum's Rush," "Molly Is Finally Rescued After Spending Two Weeks Trapped Inside the Walls of an English Deli in Greenwich Village," "Health Department Banishes Smallcat from Popular Carson City Restaurant but Her Feisty Owner Is Putting Up Quite a Fight," and "Salem, Massachusetts, Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During 1692 Witch Trials.")

In spite of the soundness of her reasoning on that point, McIntosh is terribly wrong in striving to emulate the simply abhorrent example set by the politicians on Downing Street. As intelligent and sentient beings, cats are entitled to not only exemplary treatment but their care and well-being requires a lifetime commitment.

Viscount Thurso
They are not Flying Dutchmen to be bandied about by unscrupulous politicians who merely use, abuse, neglect, exploit, and then casually discard them like yesterday's newspapers once they no further use for them. That is precisely what the no-good rotters on Downing Street have done with Humphrey, Sybil and, most recently, Freya. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006, August 13, 2009, and November 13, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18," "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness," and "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her.")

That also likely is destined to be Larry's cruel fate. (See Cat Defender posts of July 21, 2011 and November 28, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline" and "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

The Commission's ruling left many cat-lovers disappointed but no one perhaps more so than the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts. "What fun it would have been to see the occasional pussycat strolling the corridors and playing cradle with the clerks' wigs. They could take post-prandial snoozes in the lap of the Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell. They could play games with the Westminster Police's anti-bomb sniffer dogs. They could compare claw varnish with the likes of Labor's Luciana Berger (of Liverpool Wavertree)," he fantasized in the October 23rd article cited supra. "But those ninnies in the Commission insist instead on using poisons and traps."

The House of Lords likewise has a recurring problem with mice and back in 2010 they were spotted, inter alia, in both the Peers' Guest Room and Bishops Bar. That in turn prompted Lord Brabazon, the then chairman of committees, to install a so-called "mouse helpline" so that his colleagues promptly could report any and all rodent sightings. (See the Daily Mail, March 5, 2010, "More Parliamentary Fat Cats Needed Fast.")

In spite of that chamber's ban on cats, one intrepid black and white moggy did somehow manage to gain access to the facility on several occasions last autumn. In fact, the cat was captured on film on November 14th. (See The Telegraph, November 15, 2013, "A Cat Burglar in the Commons (sic): the Mysterious Tale of a New Westminster Fatcat.")

Given that the lawmakers are so passionate about cats that do not even belong to them, it should not come as any surprise that they feel even stronger about their own beloved companions. With that being the case, at least one and possibly more MPs apparently do not have any scruples about engaging in a little old-fashioned cheating so long as doing so advances the cause of their cats.

That transpired in early February when Battersea, attempting to raise public awareness of the plight of homeless cats, sponsored an online contest in order to select the cat of the year. In addition to all the notoriety that was expected to go to the winner of the popularity contest, the lucky cat was to be dubbed "Purr Minister."

A Tuxedo Breaches the Supposedly Airtight Security at the House of Lords

Although anyone with access to a computer was eligible to vote, only those cats belonging to MPs and peers were allowed to enter. As things turned out, four Tory MPs and a trio of their Labor counterparts submitted entries. From the House of Lords Laborite Baroness Joyce Gwendolen Quin entered her cat Paul while Lord Tom McNally put forward his cat, Monty.

Everything went swimmingly until a fourteen-year-old black cat with green eyes named Bosun racked up an astonishing thirty-thousand votes over the course of a seven-hour period. As it later was revealed, many of the votes came from Australia which in itself is rather hard to believe in that the miserable low-life murdering scumbags who run the show down under are currently in the process of systematically exterminating, without apparently the least bit of public opposition, as many as twenty million homeless cats. (See The Australian of Surry Hills, June 2, 2014, "Greg Hunt (Environment Minister) Calls for Eradication of Feral Cats That Kill Seventy-Five Million Animals a Night.")

As it just so happened, Bosun is owned by Tory MP Sheryll Murray from the village of Millbrook in Cornwall and once her competitor, Labor MP Andrew Gwynne of Greater Manchester, got wind of what was afoot he cried bloody murder from every rooftop in London. "I think there's been vote-rigging," he declared to The Mirror on February 11th. (See "MP Sheryll Murray Withdraws Cat Bosun from Westminster Beauty Contest Amid Allegations of Vote-Rigging.") "It is not fair; it is against the spirit of it."

In her defense, Murray denied taking part in any chicanery. "It is very upsetting for me," she told The Mirror. "It is very upsetting for my children, because we have done nothing wrong."

A statement later released by Bosun's campaign raised the possibility that both he and Murray may have been victimized by a put-up job. "Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have already said that there have been a lot of voting irregularities with many candidates and we do not know if this instance was by a well-meaning supporter of Bosun or someone who was trying to frame him," the BBC reported on February 11th. (See "Westminster Cat of the Year Contest 'Hit by Vote-Rigging'.") "It does seem to have been a bit obvious."

Regardless of who was behind the sudden surge in voter support for Bosun, the damage already had been done to his candidacy and Murray reluctantly was forced to withdraw him from the contest. That decision provided Gwynne, who already had withdrawn his cat, Jude, in protest, with a golden opportunity in order to do some gloating.

Bosun Busy at Work Counseling MP Sheryll Murray

"It is such a shame that some people choose to take advantage of the incredible work that Battersea does finding homes for dogs and cats," he pontificated to The Mirror. "Justice has been done. This isn't Soviet Russia. Here in Britain, our cats play by the rules and those that don't will be found out!"

Although the dispute between Murray and Gwynne sans doute tarnished the integrity of the contest, it had even more disastrous results for both of their cats. Bosun, who was named in honor of Murray's late fisherman husband, would have made a splendid Purr Minister as would have Jude who was fished out of a canal in Manchester.

"In good faith, Battersea placed no onerous restrictions on voting. After all, the voting is simply to name a cat," a spokesperson for the charity told the London Metro on February 10th. (See "Ministerial Cat Elections for MPs' Pets Rocked by Cheating Scam.") "So we have been surprised by the voting patterns and will look carefully at how people can vote in next year's competition."

Once the dust finally had settled, a sixteen-year-old couch potato known as Kevin and owned by Labor MP Bill Esterson of the Borough of Sefton in Merseyside ended up taking home the prestigious title of Purr Minister with 29.8 per cent of the vote. "I'd like to thank all the other cats and their staff for taking part in the election and promise to be on the side of hard working cats everywhere," he declared in his gracious acceptance speech according to a February 13th press release issued by Battersea. (See "The Purr Minister Votes Are In and the Winning Westminster Moggy Is Kevin.")

He also is a cat blessed with quite a sense of humor. "Bringing a weight of experience to the job, Kevin will happily represent fat cats everywhere," is how Esterson described his cat in an undated pre-election address posted originally on Battersea's web site and later on his own web page. (See "Sefton Central Labor MP Bill Esterson's Cat Kevin Named Purr Minister" at billesterson.org. uk.) "He takes a laissez fur approach to life in general but fights hard to be top cat in our household against recent feline arrivals. He has sixteen years of eating and (mostly) sleeping to call on as valuable experience."

Kevin's ascendancy also allowed Lindsey Quinlan of Battersea to expeditiously dispose of all the difficulties that had plagued the contest from the start by uttering what has to be the understatement of the year. "Here at Battersea we know the British public love their cats and we're so pleased to see that our politicians do too," she declared unabashedly in the press release cited supra. "The inaugural competition was certainly memorable and we hope Kevin enjoys his exciting year as our first Purr Minister and we wish him well!"

The Ultimate Winner, Purr Minister Kevin

The other competitors in the contest were a cat named Tommy who is owned by Tory MP Greg Knight of East Yorkshire, Scaredy-Cat owned by Labor MP Sarah Champion of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Parsnip owned by Tory MP Mark Spencer of Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, and Montague owned by Tory MP Justin Tomlinson of Swindon in Wiltshire.

In marked contrast to all the media attention ladled on both the parliamentarians and the big shots on Downing Street, the royal family's treatment of cats receives almost no public exposure. The one notable exception occurred in 2007 when it was disclosed that an intrepid black and white female named Mime was permitted to dine with the queen's corgis at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

"Mime is part of the furniture," a castle spokesperson said at that time. "Everyone looks forward to her visits."

Owned by then sixty-nine-year-old Kevin Lam, she lives at the Chinese restaurant that he operates a scant fifty yards across the street from the castle. For reasons that are known only to her, she does not care for his cooking.

"She won't eat any of our leftovers," Lam confessed. "She's been going there for about four years."

Even in her case it is the castle's caretakers that she has to thank for both the food and her humane treatment in that the queen and her entourage seldom stay at the facility. The palace guards even have been known to unlock the fortress's Henry VIII gates for her on those rare occasions when they are bolted, such as on the queen's birthday. (See Cat Defender post of November 27, 2007 entitled "Mime Eschews Her Owner's Chinese Fare in Order to Dine with the Queen's Corgis at Windsor Castle.")

Regardless of the hospitality afforded Mime, it is suspected that the royal family is anything but a fan of the species. In particular, the queen is known to be a dog and horse enthusiast.

Even though the five sprawling royal estates that are scattered throughout England and Scotland make inviting refuges for cats than are on the road, it is extremely doubtful that their presence is either welcomed or tolerated. Moreover, none of the royals have been known to either give sanctuary to any homeless cats or to practice TNR.

Mime on Her Way to Have Lunch with the Queen's Corgis

With that being the case, it is likely that any cats that wander onto the royal palaces are liquidated on the spot by the queen's henchmen. If not by them, then either private exterminators or obliging humane groups are inveigled to do the royals' dirty work for them.

In summation, cats and politicians are not, generally speaking, a good mix. First of all, the vast majority of those individuals involved in politics are unwilling to devote the extraordinary amount of time and energy that are required in order to properly care for a cat.

On a more fundamental level, very few of them genuinely love and respect cats. Rather, they only use and exploit them for their own personal and political ends.

Perhaps most damning of all, no politician of note ever has been known to champion the cause of cats; au contraire, they are far better known for defaming and exterminating them en masse. With that being the case, they should not be permitted to get away with exploiting and abusing them as political props.

Rescue groups, such as Battersea, who not only bow and scrape at the feet of the political elites but also actively participate in their hideous crimes against the species are a disgrace to their profession. The first imperative for any halfway legitimate humane group should be to adopt and religiously implement an uncompromising attitude in respect to the inalienable right of all cats to live and implicit in that is a strict ban on all forms of killing including the misnomered practice of euthanasia.

The second imperative should be to provide free, competent veterinary care to any cat that needs it. Their third mandate should be to place all homeless cats in either good homes, sanctuaries, or managed TNR colonies.

Lastly, it is imperative that they take a no-nonsense attitude toward all forms of abuse and neglect and that includes, above all, going after the high and mighty, vivisectors, professors, the military, ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and all others who talk and behave as if they are endowed with a divine right to do with cats as they see fit. To put the matter succinctly, they must put the rights and needs of cats first; the dictates of their wallets and the gruntings of the elites are to be ignored.

Photos: annemcintosh.org.uk (McIntosh), paulinelatham.co.uk (Latham), BBC (Bloom, Finn, and Jill), Keith Edkins of Wikipedia (Thurso), The Telegraph (cat at the House of Lords), the Western Morning News of Plymouth (Bosun and Murray), Bill Esterson (Kevin), and The Sun (Mime).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gutless Georgie "Porgie" Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her

Freya Relaxing

"Freya had to go, it just wasn't working out. She was a handful. Poor Lola was scared of her."
-- an unidentified Downing Street source

Freya's short-lived reign as the first cat of the Exchequer has come to an abrupt end. Fortunately, she has not been either run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist or gotten lost again as it often was feared would be her undoing.

Rather, she is still alive and, as far as it is known, in good health. She is no longer living at 10 Downing Street, however, because her guardian, Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer Georgie "Porgie" Osborne, has sent her packing.

The end it is believed came sometime last week when Osborne fobbed off  the care of the dashing five-year-old brown female onto the hands of an unidentified member of his staff. All that has been revealed about that arrangement is that she is now residing at an undisclosed location somewhere in Kent.

The official word from Osborne and his flunkies is that Freya was gotten rid of for her own good. "The car accident could have been fatal, and as a result the family took the view that she was at too much risk living in Downing Street," an unidentified aide to the chancellor confided to the Daily Mail on November 8th. (See "Chancellor's Pooch, a Moody Mouser -- and an Uneasy Coalition That Was Doomed from the Start: George Osborne Evicts Freya the Cat for 'Bullying' His Bichon Frisé Dog.")

By that the official was referring to Freya's having been run down by a motorist on Whitehall Road back on August 7th. (See Cat Defender post of November 10, 2014 entitled "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer.")

Quite obviously, Osborne and his subalterns are lying through their rotten teeth about why Freya was given the bum's rush. First of all, the accident occurred more than three months ago and if Osborne and his irresponsible family had cared so much as one whit about her safety and well-being they would have taken action back then.

Secondly, Osborne's contorted logic and warped morality is nothing short of stupefying in that no caring individual ever would abandon a cat under the pretext that by doing so he was saving her life. For example, millions of cat owners all over the world are forced to deal with the perils that threaten the lives of cats that roam but very few of them either choose Osborne's expedient or indulge in his outrageous, self-serving lies.

With all of his millions, Osborne easily could have assured Freya's safety simply by either confining her indoors or extending the height of the walls and fences that surround Downing Street and installing netting on top of them. He additionally could have either trained her to walk on a leash or assigned one of his numerous underlings to have accompanied her on her rambles. Any genuine lover of the species would have been more than willing to have spent the extra money and to have gone to the additional trouble that would have entailed in order to have kept her both safe and happy.

The Other Female in Osborne's Life, Lola

That is perfectly obvious to any thinking individual but it is the Daily Mail that the world has to thank for exposing Osborne as a bare-faced liar. "Freya had to go, it just wasn't working out," an unidentified Downing Street source confided to the newspaper in the article cited supra. "She was a handful. Poor Lola was scared of her."

Lola is a white Bichon Frisé that Osborne acquired less than a year ago and, admittedly, loves madly. "Some early toilet training issues (which are common with this particular breed )... but we don't care," he tweeted recently according to the November 9th edition of The Independent. (See "George Osborne's Family Cat Freya Sent from Downing Street to Kent.") "We love her."

That indeed surely must be the case because Osborne claims that he gets out of bed in order to walk her at both midnight and 6 a.m. He even earlier this year arranged for her to tie the knot in a mock wedding ceremony with another Bichon Frisé named Snowy that is owned by the Conservative Party's chief whip, Michael Gove.

Osborne supposedly decided to get rid of Freya because she had been bullying his beloved Lola but that allegation is difficult to believe. First of all, Freya was seldom home in order to bully anyone even if she had been so inclined. Secondly, the two pets were kept segregated on separate floors.

While it is conceivable that they may have had a few run-ins while passing on the stairs, they likely did not amount to anything serious. The Osborne camp's version of events also strains credulity in that it is always dogs that harass, and often kill, cats and not vice-versa. Most telling of all, it is simply beyond belief that Freya ever would want anything to do with Lola in the first place.

For whatever it is worth, another unidentified aide to the chancellor has shied away from the bullying story while simultaneously going to great lengths in order not to deviate from number 10's original pack of lies. "The issue was her tendency to roam, not her relations with Lola," he told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "She has ended up all over the place: Trafalgar Square, the Red Lion pub and miles south of the river. It was getting too much and it was only a matter of time before she was seriously hurt."

It is unclear at this juncture what affect, if any, Freya's ouster will have on the fate of Prime Minister David Cameron's much maligned resident feline, Larry. (See Cat Defender posts of July 21, 2011 and November 28, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline" and "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

Nevertheless, her departure is anything but a good omen as far as he is concerned. With politicians being the opportunistic old slugs that they are, Cameron no doubt is closely monitoring the public's reaction to Osborne's shabby mistreatment of Freya before plotting against Larry.

In Freya's case, it is not known either if Osborne paid the staffer to take her off of his hands or who is footing the bill for her food and veterinary care. "A kind member of staff agreed to look after her and the family will get regular updates and photos," is all that a Downing Street source was willing to reveal to The Independent in the article cited supra. "The family are (sic) very grateful."

Freya Where She Felt Most at Home, on the Street

Truer words never have been spoken in that the Osbornes surely must be still popping the champagne corks in celebration of finally getting shed of the cat that they never really wanted in the first place. Even their token commitment to receive photographs and periodic updates on Freya's progress has been passed off as a concession to Osborne's children, thirteen-year-old Luke and eleven-year-old Liberty.

Osborne, quite obviously, could care less about what becomes of her. Even his children's supposed interest in her well-being sounds disingenuous in that it is highly unlikely that he would have been able to have so easily abandoned Freya again if they had, in reality, cared anything about her.

Osborne's troubles are now over but it is an entirely different story as far as Freya is concerned in that the changes she is undergoing in both scenery and ownership in no way address the underlying issues that have plagued her troubled life. First of all, it is not known who will be looking after her in that it certainly will not be the staffer who will be busy most of the time in London doing Osborne's bidding.

Secondly, it has not been disclosed if she will be confined at her new address or allowed to roam at will. Although it may sound counterintuitive, suburban thoroughfares and country roads often are far more dangerous for cats than congested inner city streets, such as those in Westminster. That is because the former attract considerably more speeders as well as those who run down and kill cats for the sheer pleasure of doing so. There also are fewer peelers patrolling the streets outside of the big cities.

Shortly after her birth in April of 2009, Osborne purchased Freya from an undisclosed source as a present for his children. A few months later, he not only carelessly allowed her to disappear but, worst still, made only a half-hearted effort in order to locate her. Consequently, it was not until June of 2012 that she finally was relocated and returned to him and his family.

So, in effect, this is the second time in less than five years that he has inexcusably abandoned her. Even when she was living underneath his roof he did little or nothing in order to protect and safeguard her life.

It thus could be argued on the one hand that she is far better off to be finally rid of both him and his god-rotten family. Hopefully, that will in deed turn out to be the case but even that happy prospect appears to be a long shot.

Specifically, entrusting her care to anyone who would work for such an irresponsible, cold-hearted, and filthy rotter as Osborne is anything but reassuring. Be that as it may, Freya's fate is now sealed for either better or worse in that there is not a solitary animal protection group in all of England that cares enough about her well-being in order to intercede on her behalf.

Freya as She Was and Will Be Remembered

If a private individual ever were to so neglect a cat as Osborne has done with Freya that person likely would have been arrested long ago and the animal confiscated. It is just too bad that has not happened to him because a little time spent standing in the dock at Old Bailey Bird has been known to sober up even those individuals terminally besotted with power and self-importance. In this case, however, Osborne not only has been allowed to get away scot-free with his hideous crimes but to fob off Freya's care on an unknown individual of his own choosing.

By his simply abhorrent mistreatment of her, Osborne has demonstrated writ large that he looks down upon cats as soulless automatons that big shot like him can neglect and abuse to their hearts' content. On that point his thinking is every bit as wrongheaded as his economics. Freya and all other cats have more soul, class, and dignity than a no-account bum like him ever will acquire even if he should live to be as old as Methuselah.

Even though not a great deal is known about what goes on inside a cat's head, it is nevertheless strongly suspected that their minds works pretty much the same way as those of their human counterparts. In particular, home is everything to them and that is verified by the old Sprichwort which maintains that "dogs belong to people but cats belong to places."

In Freya's case, she has been bandied about so much that by now she hardly knows where she belongs. First of all, she was uprooted from her place of birth by Osborne and shanghaied to live at his house in Notting Hill.

She soon thereafter either escaped or got lost and as a consequence was forced to spend the next three years eking out a living as a homeless vagabond. After that it was on to 10 Downing Street for a little more than two years and now she finds herself in Kent surrounded by strangers.

Being shoved around in such a cavalier fashion surely has exacted a high emotional toll from her and may, just perhaps, explain her Wanderlust. She could be in fact still searching for her original home.

It also is perfectly clear that the Osbornes did everything in their power to make her feel as unwelcome as possible in both Notting Hill as well as in London. Cats that are loved, appreciated, and esteemed do not often leave home of their own freewill.

Although there is not any known connection, Freya is not the only four-legged member of the Osborne household to have done a runner in recent months. For example, back in July the family's hamster broke out of its cage and went on the lam for two weeks before it was found and rescued by Freya.

Freya Was Always on the Outside Looking In

So, it is perhaps not just cats that cannot abide living under the same roof with the Osbornes. (See The Independent, August 8, 2014, "George Osborne's Cat Freya Recovering at the Vets After Being Struck by Car.")

In addition to getting used to a new environment and different people in her life, Freya undoubtedly will miss, at least for a while, visiting her old haunts in Westminster, especially the Red Lion, as well as all the attention has been ladled on her in the past. In time, however, she will forget about them just as Fleet Street and the world are destined to forget about her.

Sooner or later, however, a brief notice will appear out of the blue in the London dailies recording her demise. Most likely, she either will be prematurely killed off by her new caretaker or run down and obliterated by a motorist.

That is precisely how it ended for both Humphrey and Sybil after the elites on Downing Street had exploited them to the hilt and then sent them packing. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

She will not be quite so easily forgotten, however, by her legions of admirers around the world who are going to dearly miss seeing her and reading about her exploits. It truly has been a rare and distinct pleasure to have been able to have shared her life, even if it has been only from afar.

She therefore truly belongs to, not Osborne and his cronies, but rather to the world. If there was so much as an ounce of justice in life, her fate would have been decided by those who love and admire her instead of a second-rate old political hack who merely exploited her for his own benefit.

It has been said before but it nonetheless bears repeating: real men do not hide behind cats and small children. They do not shirk their moral responsibilities and they do not tell outrageous lies.

The only thing positive that can be said about old Georgie "Porgie" is that it is somewhat poetic that a blighter who has spent his entire life down on his knees sucking the pennies out of the cracks of the rich now has been relegated to scooping up dog shit. While he is at it he might as well go whole hog and thus join Lola in a little copraphagia.

Photos: the Evening Standard (Freya relaxing) and The Independent (Lola, Freya in the street, up close, and outside number 11).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer


"...she also likes to spend time in the bar. On many an evening she can be found in Westminster's favored political watering hole, the Red Lion, despite having to cross four lanes of traffic to get there. Apparently at the end of the evening the barmaids regularly have to carry her back home."
-- Oliver Wright of The Independent

Freya, the resident feline of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had an especially close call on the evening of August 7th when she was struck by a motorist outside of her residence at the world famous 10 Downing Street. The details are pretty sketchy but she apparently was attempting to cross perilous Whitehall Road when she was mowed down.

According to the August 8th edition of the Daily Mail, she was left "battered and bruised." (See "George Osborne's Cat Freya Being Treated by Vets after Being Run Over Outside Downing Street.")

The August 8th report in The Independent was even bleaker. "Not very well at all," is how it summed up her condition. (See "George Osborne's Cat Freya Recovering at the Vets after Being Hit by Car.")

Fortunately, kindhearted pedestrians came to her rescue and saw to it that she was rushed to a veterinarian. As best it could be determined, the nature and extent of her injuries never have been made public.

Consequently, it is not known either how much trauma she was put through or how long it took her to recuperate. All that can be said is that she certainly looks well enough in a photograph of her that was posted September 16th on the Facebook page of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. That of course could be an old snap.

The Chancellor afterwards expressed his gratitude to those who came to Freya's assistance but insisted that he would pay for her treatment out of his own pocket. No information has been released as to the identity of her assailant but it would seem likely that she was the victim of a hit-and-run motorist in that it was passersby that came to her aid.

The good news is that Freya somehow survived and is still gracing the face of the earth. The bad news is that Osborne, his authoress wife, Frances, and their two children, Luke and Liberty, have not publicly announced any preventative measures designed to better protect her fragile life.

Relying upon the general public in order to look after a cat is an extremely dicey proposition as both a nameless two-year-old tuxedo and twenty-seven-year-old dog lover Dylan Cottriall of St. Helens in Merseyside found out firsthand back in July. Emaciated, dehydrated, and near death as the result of an infestation of fleas that were sucking the very life out of her, the cat had keeled over in the gutter alongside a busy highway.

Freya in a September 16th Photo Released by the Foreign Office

Unlike the Londoners who came to Freya's rescue, none of the passing motorists could be bothered with stopping to check on her condition. Even Cottriall at first thought that she likely had been run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist but, thankfully, he had enough compassion and concern for her in order to pull over and make certain one way or the other.

"I stopped and went over to her to see if she had a collar and it was then I could see she was moving," he related to The Reporter of St. Helens on July 11th. (See "Outrage as Drivers Ignore a Dying Cat.") "She was just a bag of bones and had simply given up. Although she was at death's door she didn't stop purring even though she was too weak to do anything to help herself."

Cottriall then rushed the cat to Paws n Claws where she was provided with the emergency veterinary care that she so desperately needed in order to recuperate and thus to go on living. At last report she was in foster care with Gill Farrar of St. Helens.

Although little or nothing is known about the events that led to her abandonment alongside that busy thoroughfare, it is an entirely different story as far as Freya is concerned. Born in April of 2009, Osborne reportedly purchased her as a present for his children while he and his family were residing in Notting Hill, a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London.

She did not stick around for long, however, and instead mysteriously disappeared a few months later. The Osbornes reportedly blanked the tony neighborhood with "Lost Cat" posters but Freya never was located.

They eventually wrote her off as being dead and forgot all about her. The Conservatives later prevailed in the 2010 election and a year later the Osbornes moved into 10 Downing Street when George became chancellor of the Exchequer.

As was the case not only with Mark Twain but Prime Minister John Major's cat, Humphrey as well, the news of Freya's death turned out to be premature. In June of 2012, Frances received the shock of her life when she got a telephone call informing her that Freya not only had been found but, best of all, was alive and well.

The identification was made thanks to implanted microchip after Freya had been brought to a veterinarian for unspecified reasons by an unidentified neighbor of the Osbornes in Notting Hill. As best the story can be pieced together, the neighbor had not seen the posters and, believing her to be a stray, had been feeding her in a garden.

St. Helens' Cat, Cottriall, Gill Farrar, and a Woman Identified Only as Lizzie

Since the neighbor resides only a few streets removed from the Osbornes' dwelling, the only logical conclusion to be drawn from events is that they neither searched very hard nor very long for her. In particular, it is totally inexcusable that they did not personally knock on every door in the neighborhood.

That criticism in no way obviates the myriad of difficulties associated with locating an errant cat. Motorists, dogs and other animals, as well as ailurophobes kill them with impunity and afterwards their corpses are quickly disposed of by either garbagemen or the summertime heat.

Animal Control officers, the RSPCA, and other so-called humane groups steal and exterminate them all the time. Plus, they often become accidentally trapped inside automobiles, boxes, discarded furniture, and other movable objects and as a result wind up hundreds, even thousands, of miles from home.

Many private individuals also rescue homeless cats and then lock them up permanently inside, thus foreclosing any opportunity for them to ever return home. In spite of all those impediments, if a lost cat is still living outdoors on its home turf someone likely has seen it and probably is feeding it.

Although the neighbor in question is to be commended for feeding and providing Freya with veterinary assistance, it is shameful that the individual did not provide her with shelter. Not only are London winters far from being pleasant affairs, but she would have been much safer spending at least part of her time indoors.

After having been successfully reunited with the Osbornes, Freya took up residence with them at 10 Downing Street which, contrary to popular belief, serves as the official residence of the chancellor of the Exchequer. The prime minister and his family reside at the more commodious number 11.

It did not take the intrepid moggy long, however, to put her own indelible paw prints on her job as the number two mouser in Her Majesty's government. That began when the Osbornes, not wanting to lose track of her again, outfitted her with a £50 diamante collar with a tag.

Even that act of bon sens was not without controversy coinciding as it did with the austerity budget that Osborne had foisted upon his fellow citizens. (See the Daily Mail, July 20, 2012, "Feline Flush: Chancellor's Cat Shows Off Her Diamante Collar as She Prowls Downing Street.")

Freya and Her Pricey Collar

Later in October of that year, she became involved in a well-publicized scrap with Prime Minister David Cameron's cat, Larry, on the steps of number 10. One observer even later claimed that she had gotten the better of him. (See The Telegraph, October 16, 2012, "Police Called to Break Up Violent Cat Fight in Downing Street.")

It even has been alleged that she is a far more proficient mouser than Larry. That in turn spawned an erroneous rumor that she even had taken his job. (See the Daily Mail, September 16, 2012, "A Paw Performance! Larry the Downing Street Cat Is Sacked as Number 10's Chief Mouser after Chillaxing (sic) Too Much on the Job.")

One of the numerous limitations associated with implanted microchips is that they neither can be seen nor deciphered with the naked eye; for that, scanners owned almost exclusively by veterinarians and shelters are required. It therefore was fortunate that the Osbornes had equipped Freya with a collar and a tag because in May of this year she did yet still another runner.

On that occasion, she wound up in Vauxhall, more than two kilometers removed from home, and in the borough of Lambeth. Fortunately, she was found by Kate Jones of Thames Reach's London Street Rescue who allowed her to spend the night on her pillow.

Thanks to the information contained in Freya's tag, Jones was able to contact the Osbornes who immediately dispatched a chauffeur-driven limousine in order to collect her. It is unclear from press reports but apparently Freya was AWOL for only one night.

Her deliverance did not come without a political price tag, however, in that Jones took full advantage of the golden opportunity presented to her in order to post not only a photograph of Freya online but to accompany it with a blast at Osborne for his disgraceful neglect of the homeless. Regrettably, there is not any evidence to suggest that the dressing down that he received from her has had any impact upon his policies.

Much more importantly, it is doubtful that he even realizes just how rare it is to locate a lost cat once, let alone twice. "It's wonderful when you read about these reunions, but unfortunately for ninety per cent of lost cats, there is no returning home," Lorie Chortyk of the BCSPCA somberly pointed out to The Province of Vancouver on January 2, 2011. (See "Cats Rarely Come Back.")

The dangers associated with Freya's occasionally getting lost pale in comparison to the menace posed by London motorists. In particular, she is known to be a regular at the Red Lion located at 48 Parliament Street (a  continuation of Whitehall under a different name) and a little less than half a kilometer  removed from home. "...she also likes to spend time in the bar. On many an evening she can be found in Westminster's favored political watering hole, the Red Lion, despite having to cross four lanes of traffic to get there," is how Oliver Wright of The Independent described her perilous trek on June 7, 2013. (See "Lost Pet or Double Agent? Meet Freya, the Roving Tabby of the Treasury.") "Apparently at the end of the evening the barmaids regularly have to carry her back home."

Freya and Larry

Even more astonishing, Osborne is acutely aware of just how much danger he is placing her in through his abject neglect of her. For instance, back in February he publicly acknowledged that she was a regular at the bar. (See YouTube video of February 28, 2014 entitled "Fuller's Red Lion, Westminster, Is Reopened by George Osborne.")

She also has been sighted backstage at the Trafalgar Studio Theatre at 14 Whitehall, also half a kilometer from home but in the opposite direction from the Red Lion. Her roaming around the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office at number 10, and Exchequer do not pose much of a threat to her safety in that they are closely situated together and on the same side of Whitehall.

That is not meant to imply that even Downing Street itself is completely free of dangers as the aforementioned Humphrey discovered back in the 1990's when he came within an eyelash of being run down and killed by a limousine lugging around the ultimate political whore, Bill Clinton. (See Cat Defender post of April 6, 2006 entitled "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18.")

The failure of Old Blighty's political elites to better protect their resident felines is made all the more inexcusable by the petit fait that it would be rather easy and inexpensive for them to create a safe haven around numbers ten and eleven for Freya, Larry, and all future cats to roam. The area already provides enough gardens and public buildings in order to furnish them with plenty of fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and mental stimulation all within a safe and secure environment.

All that is needed would be to extend the height of the fences and walls which surround the compound and to install netting on the top. Aesthetics are not an issue given that Downing Street has been closed to the public since 1989.

An even better solution would be for the authorities to go whole hog and close Whitehall and the City of Westminster to all vehicular traffic. The time has come to remove both murderous motorists and their greenhouse gas emitting noisy machines from the inner cities and to transform those areas into pedestrian malls.

Neither proposal would be too much to ask especially considering how all recent occupants of Downing Street have so nakedly exploited their cats as valuable political props while simultaneously demonstrating little or no regard for their personal safety and well-being. Almost as shameful, no animal protection group in England is willing to so much as even contemplate holding them accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes.

The cold shoulder that Cameron and his minions have shown Larry over the years is a good case in point. Back in 2009 when he was still in the opposition and only daydreaming of political power and glory, Cameron put the kibosh on any notion of there being a resident feline in any new government that was led by him.

Freya at Home

By the time that February of 2011 had rolled around he had changed his tune and had consented to adopt Larry from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2011 entitled "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

It did not take long, however, for Larry to wear out his welcome and for Cameron and his cronies to start belittling and sniping at him at every opportunity behind his back. (See Cat Defender post of November 28, 2011 entitled "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

A fork in the road of sorts was reached last year with the publication of Matthew d'Ancona's tome, In It Together. In the tell-all exposé, d'Ancona claims that Cameron does not care for Larry because he has failed to solve the rodent problem plaguing his residence and leaves cat hairs on his expensive suits. The prime minister also apparently does not even like the smell of cat food.

Once news of Cameron's reported antipathy toward Larry became public fodder a "Save Larry" campaign was launched on Twitter and that, at least for the time being, has saved both his job and home. "I can set everyone's mind at rest in the #Save Larry campaign," Cameron tweeted. "He and I get on purr-fectly well. The kids love him too."

Should the Tories fail to prevail in next year's upcoming election, Cameron will no longer need Larry and that very well could end up costing him his home. In that case, he most likely would be either sent back to Battersea or fobbed off on to an obliging staffer.

That is precisely the cruel fate that befell Humphrey. Although both the Iron Lady and Major welcomed him with open-arms, Tony Blair's resident witch, Cherie, could not bear the sight of him.

The miserable old hag, whom the Countess of Wessex once referred to as "horrid, horrid, horrid," first attempted to have him done in and when that ploy was foiled by Fleet Street she had him exiled to the residence of an unidentified staffer. "Humphrey is voting with his paws," a Tory spokesman chimed in on that unhappy occasion. "After eight happy years under a Conservative government he could take only six months of Labor."

He died in obscurity in March of 2006, but never has been forgotten. "He has caught numerous mice and the odd rat," a Cabinet dossier compiled on him and released in 2005 stated. "By a perhaps unfair comparison, Rentokill have been operating for years and have never caught a thing."

Freya Is Given the Bum's Rush by a Foreign Office Flathead

The document went on to famously describe that wonderful feline gentleman as "a workaholic who spends nearly all his time at the office, has no criminal record, does not socialize a great deal or go to many parties and has not been involved in any sex or drug scandals that we know of." (See The Times of London, March 20, 2006, "Political World Mourns a Killer Named Humphrey" and former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe's loving remembrance of him in The Telegraph, January 26, 2011, "A New Cat for Westminster.")

A simply adorable black and white female named Sybil who was owned by Osborne's predecessor, Alistair Darling and his wife, Maggie, was treated even shabbier than Humphrey. Brought down from Edinburgh by the Darlings on September 10, 2007, she initially was given free rein of the grounds and even had her own basket at the Exchequer.

"Sybil has been brought down because there are mice here," Darling declared upon her arrival. "She's a really good mouser." (See Cat Defender post of September 19, 2007 entitled "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil.")

Alas, even that valuable and much sought after talent was not nearly enough in order to save either her job or home because Darling's boss, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, turned out to be a closet cat-hater. Sybil accordingly lasted only six months on the job before she was unceremoniously sacked and cruelly fobbed off on an old acquaintance of the unconscionable Darlings.

Like Humphrey before her, she either died or was deliberately killed off by her new owner on July 27, 2009 while living in obscurity. (See Cat Defender post of August 13, 2009 entitled "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

"As numerous thinkers have noted, cats often have a soothing quality on their owners," is how The Independent began its July 29th eulogy of her. (See "Feline Friends.") "Granted, the economy is looking as shaky as a newborn kitten at the moment, but imagine what condition it might be in
without Sybil."

The one thing that both Freya and Larry have going for themselves is that they are owned by Tories who are occasionally more favorably disposed toward the species than their counterparts in the Labor Party. Additionally, Osborne appears to genuinely like animals in that in addition to Freya his family has a budgerigar named Gibson, a Bichon Frise named Lola, a hamster, and a pair of goldfish.

The odds therefore are at least even that he will choose to hang on to Freya regardless of what happens next year at the polls. Unless he dramatically mends his irresponsible ways and takes considerably better care of her, however, that is going to be a moot point.

Freya Makes Yet Another Daring Escape

In spite of their myriad of shortcomings and failings as guardians, English prime ministers and chancellors of the Exchequer treat cats slightly more humane than their utterly nauseating American counterparts who care little or nothing about the species, animals in general, and Mother Earth; au contraire, the only things that they care about are sucking up to the rich, lining their pockets, killing people, and telling lies.

For example, George H. Bush's cat, India, was either killed off or died from natural causes shortly before he and his family vacated the White House. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2009 entitled "India Dies at Age Eighteen Leaving the White House Without a Resident Feline for
the First Time in Sixteen Years.")

Callous and uncaring Clinton fobbed off Socks on his secretary, Betty Currie, as soon as he no longer had any further need of him. (See Cat Defender posts of December 24, 2008 and March 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Former First Cat Socks Is Gravely Ill with Cancer and Other Assorted Maladies" and "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")

The utterly worthless stooge currently ensconced in the White House not only does not want anything to do with cats but has sat idly by while the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has launched en masse extermination campaigns against them on San Nicolas, the Florida Keys, and elsewhere. He also has sanctioned the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of Ernest Hemingway's world famous polydactyls in Key West. (See Cat Defender posts of February 24, 2012, June 23, 2011, and January 24, 2013 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of Their Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island," "Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys," and "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

All of those atrocities are in addition to the tens of thousands of bobcats, cougars, jaguars, lynxes, ocelots, and other large cats that are being systematically liquidated each year by the USDA's Wildlife Services and other federal agencies. Even more alarming, the fate of both small and big cats alike is not even part of the political discussion; the president and the feds merely assume that they have a divine mandate to do with them as they see fit.

Although politicians are entitled to own cats just like everyone else, they should be required by law to not only take proper care of them but to respect their inalienable right to live. Furthermore, in failing to fulfill their moral and custodial responsibilities to them, they are setting a simply horrible example for their constituents.

An individual can, either wittingly or unwittingly, fail a cat in countless ways but to knowingly allow one to regularly venture out into traffic on a busy, four-lane road constitutes the very epitome of animal cruelty and Osborne accordingly should be held accountable for  his shameful negligence. Unlike with Larry, however, there does not appear to be a "Save Freya" campaign on the horizon and that makes her situation all the more desperate because her precious life is rapidly slipping away like sand through an hourglass.

Photos: The Independent (Freye up close, at home, in the street, and scaling a wall), Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Facebook (Freya beside a statue), The Reporter (St. Helens' cat with her rescuers), Political Pictures (Freya's diamante collar), and The Telegraph (Freya and Larry).