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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 21, 2006

Heroes and Victims: Sixteen Special Cats to Remember from the Year 2006

"God requires that we assist the animals when they need our help."
-- St. Francis of Assisi
As the year rapidly draws to a close it is once again time to pause and remember some of the cats that have tugged at the heartstrings of cat lovers around the world during the past twelve months.

Although far from being exhaustive, sixteen special felines have been selected for this year-end remembrance.

They range from felines that have performed spectacular feats of valor and those that have had narrow escapes on the one hand to still others that have been the victims of unspeakable acts of cruelty and unwarranted euthanasia on the other hand.

There are also cats that have had run-ins with the law and others who have, sadly, crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

1.) Chipper. Kitten Dies after Having Been Run Through a Wood Chipper.


Sans doute, the most heartbreaking story to come out of 2006 was the death in July of a tiny, ten-week-old orange and white kitten named Chipper who was run through a wood chipper in Boca Raton, Florida.

The kitten's front legs and neck were broken in the assault and he also sustained head and eye injuries.

He waged a valiant struggle to live but eventually succumbed to his massive injuries.

As far as it is known, the perpetrator of this horrendous crime has never been apprehended. (See Cat Defender post of July 13, 2006 entitled "Heroic Little Kitten, Fiendishly Run Through a Wood Chipper by Some Devil, Loses His Nineteen-Day Struggle to Live.")

2.) Fred. Undercover Cat Is Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver.


One of the true feline heroes of the year was a fifteen-month-old gray and yellow American Shorthair named Fred who went undercover in February to help the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office arrest a quack veterinarian.

Malheureusement, his owner allowed him to play in the busy streets of Howard Beach, Queens and he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on August 10th.

Rescued from the street with a collapsed lung and suffering from pneumonia, his life almost ended then when shelter workers at first wanted to kill him. (See Cat Defender posts of February 14, 2006 and August 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Special Agent Fred the Cat Goes Undercover to Help Nab Quack Vet in Brooklyn Sting Operation" and "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")

3.) Lewis. Connecticut Tomcat Survives a Serious Brush with the Law.

Lewis and Ruth Cisero

The feline that grabbed the most media attention in 2006 was Fairfield, Connecticut real estate agent Ruth Cisero's five-year-old longhaired, polydactyl tuxedo tomcat, Lewis.

Charged with attacking five women, he narrowly avoided the death penalty when a judge spared his life. He was nonetheless placed under permanent house arrest and Cisero was ordered to perform community service and placed on probation.

He is reportedly making the best of a bad situation by trying to adjust to being an indoor cat. (See Cat Defender posts of April 3, 2006 and June 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Free Lewis Now! Connecticut Tomcat, Victimized by a Bum Rap, Is Placed Under House Arrest" and "Lewis the Cat Cheats the Hangman but Is Placed Under House Arrest for the Remainder of His Life.")

4.) Mohre. German Cat Saves an Abandoned Infant.

Mohre and Dirk Prager

On a cold April morning in Koln, Dirk Prager's jet-black cat Mohre inexplicably started meowing and pawing on the inside of the door.

When he refused to quiet down, Prager reluctantly got up and went to the door where he was shocked to find an abandoned newborn baby boy lying on his steps.

Christened Simon Sonnenschein by nurses at the hospital where he was immediately taken, he is alive today because of Mohre's timely intervention. (See Cat Defender post of April 21, 2006 entitled "Cat Named Mohre Saves Newborn Infant Abandoned in the Cold on a Doorstep in Koln.")

5.) Jack. Declawed Tomcat Trees a Bear.


An orange and white, ten-year-old declawed tomcat named Jack from northern New Jersey is very possessive about his yard.

In fact, he is so territorial that he twice in one day treed a black bear. Not wanting any part of the pugnacious little feline, the bear quickly fled back into the woods. (See Cat Defender post of June 19, 2006 entitled "Irresponsible Cat Owner Allows Declawed Tomcat Named Jack to Tangle with Black Bear in Northern New Jersey.")

6.) Bamboo. Elderly Cat Survives a Vicious Attack by Hoot Owl.

Bamboo and Colleen Hamilton

A diminutive fifteen-year-old cat named Bamboo was abducted from Colleen Hamilton's back porch in British Columbia in July by a hoot owl.

She somehow managed to escape but the ordeal cost her three broken legs, several puncture wounds, and a patch of fur.

Kudos are also in order for Hamilton who, unable to afford the around-the-clock veterinary care that Bamboo required, instead took two weeks off from work in order to nurse her beloved companion back to health. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2006 entitled "Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia.")

7.) Molly. A Black Cat Is Rescued from Walls of Greenwich Village Deli.


An acoustics expert and a construction worker accomplished what the police and firemen had been unable to do when they pulled an eleven-month-old black cat named Molly from the walls of an English-style delicatessen in Manhattan's Greenwich Village in April.

After being trapped for two weeks, the valuable mouser was later treated to a sumptuous meal of bacon and sardines. (See Cat Defender post of April 20, 2006 entitled "Molly Is Finally Rescued After Spending Two Weeks Trapped Inside the Walls of an English Deli in Greenwich Village.")

8.) Piper. Kitten Survives a Stay in a Storm Drain.


A six-week-old Manx kitten named Piper spent six scary days trapped in a Salinas, California storm drain in September before she was finally freed.

Having tried everything else, rescuers hit upon the idea of baiting a trap with fish and a bell and that did the trick. (See Cat Defender post of September 18, 2006 entitled "Rescuers Lure Manx Kitten Named Piper from a Storm Drain by Baiting a Trap with Mackerel and a Bell.")

9.) Neo. Texas Cat Makes an Unscheduled Trip to Colorado.


A friendly, longhaired brown cat named Neo wandered into a neighbor's moving van in Crowley, Texas and unexpectedly wound up in Longmont, Colorado in October.

Through the efforts of Golden Van Lines, however, he was soon returned to his rightful owners on an airplane. (See Cat Defender post of November 6, 2006 entitled "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado.")

10.) Sneakers. Long-Lost Cat Is Reunited with Owner Thanks to a Microchip.


A longhaired black cat named Sneakers who disappeared from his home in Seattle in 1996 was reunited with his owner in April after he was discovered at a shelter in Sacramento.

The reunion was made possible by the fact that his owner had had the prescience to microchip him. (See Cat Defender post of June 12, 2006 entitled "Given Up for Dead, Sneakers Is Reunited with His Owner After Having Gone AWOL Ten-Years Ago.")

11.) Oliver Gatsby. A Russian Blue Becomes Embroiled in a Custody Battle.

Oliver Gatsby

A pure-blood Russian Blue cat named Oliver Gatsby became the focus of a celebrated legal battle after he was adopted from a shelter by a Manhattan lawyer.

Unfortunately for her, his previous owner found out a year later that he was still alive and demanded that he be returned.

After much legal wrangling, the attorney relinquished her claim to the cat and he was returned to his previous owner. (See Cat Defender post of January 3, 2006 entitled "Manhattan Court to Rely Upon 1894 Dog Law to Decide Custody Battle over a Russian Blue Cat Named Oliver Gatsby.")

12.) Opie. Handicapped Feral Cat Finds a Home at a Tennessee Prison.


A three-legged, bobtailed cat named Opie has found a home in the laundry room of a Tennessee prison.

In doing so he has also won over the hearts of the inmates who live and work there. (See Cat Defender post of November 2, 2006 entitled "Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of Hardened Criminals at Rural Tennessee Prison.")

13.) Zoe. A Texas Kitten Is Divested of Her Ears by Ailurophobes.


In yet still another act of revolting animal cruelty, a tiny kitten named Zoe from Kingsville, Texas had her ears cut off by ailurophobes in October.

She is recovering but her ears are gone forever. Equally troubling is the fact that law enforcement personnel in the Lone Star State do not take animal abuse cases seriously.(See Cat Defender post of October 27, 2006 entitled "Tiny Kitten Named Zoe Has Her Ears Cut Off by Fiends But Texas Police Do Not Seem to Care.")

14.) Tripod. A Vermont Cat Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended.


A faithful three-legged gray cat named Tripod, who for years had brightened the offices of The Caledonian Record in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was killed off earlier this year because the journalists were too cheap and lazy to care for him in his old age.

If he had been given proper veterinary care, he might very well still be alive today.

The fact that he had struggled so hard to go on living after he had earlier lost a leg in a trap proves that he was a fighter. (See Cat Defender post of February 9, 2006 entitled "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")

15.) Dewey Readmore Books. Famous Library Cat Is Killed Off at Age 19.

Dewey Readmore Books

In another example of man's ingratitude toward animals, the library in Spencer, Iowa recently killed off its famous feline, Dewey Readmore Books, at age nineteen.

Although the library had capitalized on his notoriety in order to fatten its coffers, it was unwilling to go to the added expense and bother of caring for him in his old age.

Worst still, his death was preceded by years of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. (See Cat Defender post of December 7, 2006 entitled "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books.")

16. Humphrey of 10 Downing Street, 1988-2006, Requiescat in Pace.

Humphrey and Cherie Blair

Humphrey, a longhaired tuxedo stray who for many years found a home at 10 Downing Street, passed away in March at the age of eighteen.

He was a fixture at the prime minister's residence during the tenures of Maggie Thatcher and John Major but the ailurophobic Cherie Blair gave him the boot.

This precipitate action prompted the Tories to demand proof from the Blairs that they had not done away with the famous feline.

Known as a proficient mouser, he is said to have been better at his job than Rentokill.

A Cabinet report made public in 2005 described him 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 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.")

As special as these wonderful cats are, it is important to remember that there are millions of cats all over the world that are being abused and killed every day. Shelters and veterinarians exterminate them by the millions each year simply because they are either homeless or old.

Vivisectors, cloners, and purveyors of designer pets abuse and kill countless more of them. Ailurophobes, yobs, motorists, bird lovers, and wildlife advocates kill them for fun. Millions more die from hunger and the cold.

The time has come to end the abuse, torture, and killing of cats. Their lives and liberties are no less precious than those of humans and this self-evident truth should be codified in the laws of all societies.

St. Francis of Assisi once said that "God requires that we assist the animals when they need our help" and they have never needed it more than they do today.

Photos: Danny Ghitis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Chipper), Alan Raia of Newsday (Fred), Brian A. Pounds of the Connecticut Post (Lewis and Ruth Cisero), Schwaiger of the Koln Express (Mohre and Dirk Prager), Suzanne Giovanetti (Jack), Erin Kelley-Gedischk of the Oak Bay News (Bamboo and Colleen Hamilton), WABC-TV, New York (Molly), SPCA of Monterey County (Piper), Erin McCracken of the Daily Times-Call (Neo), WJAR-TV, Cranston, RI (Sneakers), Chavisa Woods (Oliver Gatsby), Shelley Mays of The Tennessean (Opie), KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi (Zoe), The Caledonian-Record (Tripod), Spencer Library (Dewey Readmore Books), and Fiona Hanson of the Associated Press (Humphrey and Cherie Blair).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Minnesota Cat Named Baby Celebrates His Thirty-Sixth Birthday; English Pub Cat Named Daisy Turns Twenty-Two

Cats live short lives. For domestics, the average is only about fifteen years. Ferals, on the other hand, are lucky if they live to see their fourth birthday. Some cats are able, however, to beat the odds.

There is, for example, a black cat named Baby (See photo above) from Duluth, Minnesota whose owners insist is thirty-six-years-old. Al and Mary Palusky claim that they rescued him from a group of yobs way back in 1970 after they had imprisoned him in a garbage can and were throwing firecrackers in on him.

Al credits an occasional cheese puff and plenty of exercise for Baby's longevity. "He'll tear around the house running up and down and across things and his tail gets big and his back goes up and he takes off running and then he jumps in his bed and falls asleep," Al related to WCSH-TV of Portland, Maine on November 24th. (See "Thirty-Six-Year-Old Cat Still Going Strong.")

Although some cats have reportedly made it into their fourth decade, these claims have never been verified. Nonetheless, if Palusky and his wife are being truthful Baby is unquestionably one of the world's oldest living cats.

Although no one knows how much longer Baby will be around, Al is already making plans for his future care. "We're going to make him the beneficiary. He'll outlive us," he told WCSH-TV.

At the Hen and Chicken Pub in Southwater, fifty-eight kilometers south of London, a cat named Daisy celebrated her twenty-second birthday on November 24th.

"She's been here all her life and although the pub has had different management couples they've all had Daisy," co-owner Chris Marks (See photo on the left of him and Daisy) told the West Sussex Observer on November 24th. (See "Daisy -- Oldest Cat?") "The current landlords, Roy and Maureen Bailee, have a couple of dogs, but the dogs have had to get used to Daisy and now she rules them."

Daisy, who spends most of her time in the bar, loves wool and will reportedly jump on any sweater or coat made of it that is left unattended. She also loves to sit by the fire although one day she got too close and her faux pas cost her most of her valuable whiskers.

Although for her twenty-first birthday regulars were treated to a drink on the house, a much less subdued celebration was planned for this year. "... I expect she'll just celebrate her twenty-second with a few extra prawns," Marks predicted.

Photos: WCSH-TV (Baby) and West Sussex Observer (Daisy and Chris Marks).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Former Stray Named Wesley Lands Job as a Greeter and Security Guard at Iowa Hardware Store

"He has a lot of fans and they like to come in and pet his head."
-- Geoff Warmouth

Rescued from a trailer park in 1998, an orange tabby named Wesley has landed a permanent job at a hardware store the Des Moines' suburb of Waukee. From his familiar perch in the front window of Geoff Warmouth's store, Wesley not only serves as the store's mascot and greeter, but he keeps an eye on things as well. (See photo above.)

"If the sun is shining, we couldn't drag him out of the window," Warmouth told The Des Moines Register on December 8th. (See "'Watch Cat' Wesley a Fixture at Shop.") "He's here twenty-four-seven; he's our watch cat."

The gentle and friendly cat, who is thought to be between twelve and thirteen years of age, has become so well-known around the tiny town of approximately three-thousand residents that many of Warmouth's customers are unable to do their shopping without first stopping and saying hello to him. "He has a lot of fans and they like to come in and pet his head," Warmouth conceded.

"He's the icon of the store. There's no more better focal point than to come and see Wesley," customer Dan Willson (See photo below) told The Des Moines Register. "You have to say 'hi' every time you're in the store."

The cat is also especially popular with the kids from the neighborhood. "For business, he's a good draw for the kids," co-owner Ann Warmouth said. "A lot of kids want to come in just to see Wesley."

By adopting Wesley the Warmouths not only probably saved his life, but his presence at the store has enriched both their lives and those of their customers. He also has no doubt put a few extra dollars into his owners' coffers.

Photos: John Gaps III of The Des Moines Register.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A New Breakthrough in Feline Dementia Research May Actually End Up Killing More Cats Than It Saves

A Defenseless Cat with an Electrode Drilled into Its Brain

"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are like us.' Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."
-- Charles R. Magel.

A huge increase in the number of cats that are forced to donate their lives in the search to find a cure to Alzheimer's disease is expected in the wake of last week's announcement by a group of Scottish researchers that they have discovered a protein in the brains of elderly cats that is also found in people suffering from dementia. This protein, Beta-Amyloide, causes tangles inside the nerve cells of both cats and humans and thus prevents information from being properly processed by the brain.

As is the case with humans, the presence of thick, gritty plaques on the outside of elderly cats' brains has long been regarded as one indicator of dementia. The discovery of the protein not only confirms that cats suffer from a form of Alzheimer's but also that their central nervous system is being compromised in a manner similar to that of their human counterparts.

This is not surprising in that cats and humans afflicted with dementia exhibit many of the same symptoms. Whereas humans become forgetful, get lost in public places, and fail to recognize family members, old cats sometimes fail to recognize their owners, wander aimlessly, cry at night, exhibit aggressive behavior, and become incontinent.

The researchers, led by Danielle Gunn-Moore of the University of Edinburgh, found neurological abnormalities in the brains of seventeen out of nineteen cats that they dissected. These findings thus appear to support previous research that has suggested that up to twenty-eight per cent of cats between the ages of eleven and fourteen tend to develop at least one old age related behavioral problem. For felines over the age of fifteen the percentage jumps to more than fifty per cent.

Questions have already arisen concerning how the cats were acquired and how they were killed. For instance, a joint press release posted on the University of St. Andrews' website, which also participated in the study, claims that the cats "succumbed naturally to the disease," whereas Stern reported on December 6th that they were between the ages of sixteen weeks and fourteen years of age. (See "Vergessliche Katzen.")

The researchers are most likely lying. It strains credulity that they waited around for the cats to drop dead in order to cut them up. Moreover, it appears that they killed kittens as well as old cats. After all, it seems only logical that they would want to compare young and old brains for neurological wear and tear.

None of this however deterred The Scotsman of Edinburgh from declaring on December 6th that it was unlikely that cats would be experimented upon in order to find a cure for Alzheimer's because of physiological differences between them and humans. (See "Cats a Clue to Development of Alzheimer's in Humans.") This is, quite obviously, pure tosh.

Physiological differences have never deterred the scientific community from torturing and killing animals by the millions. For example, cats have long been used not only to study Alzheimer's, but also to investigate spinal cord injuries, AIDS, diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and vision impairments.


Professor Charles R. Magel summed up the moral conundrum rather well when he once said, "Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are like us.' Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."

In spite of the thousands of cats that will be sacrificed in the race to find a cure to Alzheimer's, the researchers are nonetheless attempting to pass off their findings as being a great boon for cats because it will pave the way for the development of new drugs that will allow their dementia to be treated. This, they allege, will discourage cat owners from "putting down" their elderly cats.

All of that assumes that cat owners will be either willing or able to afford these new drugs once they come on the market. Regrettably, most cat owners are not only too cheap to buy the drugs but too lazy and selfish to attend to an aging cat with health problems. (See Cat Defender posts of December 7, 2006 and February 9, 2006 entitled, respectively, "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books" and "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")

Just as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, mental stimulation, a healthy diet, and companionship have been shown to retard the onset of dementia in both cats and humans. "If humans and their cats live in a poor environment with little company and stimulation, they are both at higher risk of dementia," Gunn-Moore conceded. "However, if the owner plays with the cat, it is good for both human and cat. A good diet enriched with antioxidants is also helpful in warding off dementia, so a cat owner sharing healthy meals like chicken and fish with their pet will benefit them both."

If Gunn-Moore truly believes what she is espousing, it would not only be more morally correct but also less expensive for the scientific community to invest its time and expertise in promoting healthy living for both cats and humans rather than conducting senility research. Public health initiatives, such as mass inoculations, clean air and water, and improvements in sanitation, have produced far greater benefits for the whole of mankind and the animal world alike than all the horrors and crimes ever committed in the name of science in animal research laboratories.

There is, however, a tremendous amount of money and glory in animal research. Besides, vivisectors love torturing and killing small animals. It makes them feel like they are gods although devils would be closer to the truth.

There is an even more glaring contradiction in Gunn-Moore's motivation for undertaking the study of feline dementia. She and her husband Frank, an Alzheimer's specialist at the University of St. Andrews, became interested in the topic when their cat, Cardhu was diagnosed with the ailment at the tender age of eight. Hopefully, they were not feeding it single malt scotch whiskey.

While it is certainly understandable that she would want to find a cure for this debilitating disease, it is equally hard to comprehend how any genuine cat lover could sacrifice thousands of totally innocent cats to the machinations of vivisectors no matter how lofty the goal. Just as cloning cannot restore life to a departed cat, torturing and killing cats in search of a cure for dementia is not going to bring back Cardhu.

Photos: Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive (cat with electrode in its brain) and University of St. Andrews (Cardhu).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, the Ingrates at an Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books

Dewey Readmore Books and Vicki Myron

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
-- Dylan Thomas

During the nineteen years that he roamed the aisles and stacks of the public library in Spencer, Iowa, Dewey Readmore Books wore many hats. He was by turns a goodwill ambassador, chief fundraiser, and head mouser.

Found in a book drop with frozen paws on a sub-zero January morning in 1988, Dewey soon became world famous. He was featured in a video about library cats entitled Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat and a television crew once traveled all the way from Japan to his tiny hometown in northern Iowa in order to do a special about him.

Stories were written about him in Cat Fancy Magazine and people regularly wrote to him from as far away as England, Canada, South Africa, Belgium, and France. Vacationers even went so far as to rearrange their itineraries just so that they could visit Spencer and be photographed with him. For regular patrons of the library he soon became a dear old friend while for first-time visitors we was always a pleasant surprise.

Named appropriately enough after a popular library cataloging system, Dewey and the library were a good fit from the outset. "From day one, we felt he'd be the right personality for the public," Vicki Myron recalled for the Sioux City Journal on December 1st. (See "Spencer's Famous Library Cat Dies.") "He's always loved people and meetings."

Dewey Was World Famous

All the love and mingling with the public came to an abrupt end on November 29th when Myron took him to the vet and had him killed. Suffering from both a hyperthyroid condition and stomach cancer, he weighed only five pounds at the time of his death. According to staffer Kim Peterson, the decision to kill him was made because he was "acting funny, trying to hide."

It is conceivable that he realized that his time on this earth was about up and simply preferred to meet the Grim Reaper in private; on the other hand, he may have been only playing hide and seek with the staff. Press reports do not indicate that he was in any obvious discomfort.

Euthanasia, as this horrible practice is politely known, is nothing more than a fancy name for murder. Cats live very short lives and their sojourns on this earth should never be shortened by man, even if they are in obvious pain.

Suffering is an integral part of life for all animals, man included. Besides as Lucretius astutely pointed out in the De rerum natura, small pains are bearable whereas severe pain soon leads to death.

What Dylan Thomas once said about human mortality applies likewise to cats and all other animals: "Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Practitioners of pet euthanasia usually attempt to justify their conduct by arguing that they cannot bear to see an animal suffer. These assertions sound hollow, however. (See Cat Defender posts of February 9, 2006 and September 2, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont" and "Ginny, a Dog Who Rescued Cats, Is Killed Off by Her Owner on Long Island.")

Being too cheap to provide proper veterinary care and too lazy to attend to an ailing pet, euthanasia advocates decide to cut their losses and take the convenient way out. For people who think and behave like that, cats and dogs do not have any intrinsic value outside of whatever service or pleasure they provide. Consequently, years of faithful companionship are rewarded with a jab of sodium pentobarbital to the heart.

Dewey in His Special Bed

Serious questions also have been raised concerning the quality of the care that Dewey received from the library. For instance, the Sioux City Journal states that his caregivers fed him a steady diet of scrambled eggs, roast beef from Arby's, plain cheeseburgers, tuna sandwiches, boiled ham, and garlic TV dinners.

Since it is generally conceded by most health experts that such a diet would be harmful even to humans, it is hard to imagine how it could have been beneficial to Dewey; in fact, it could have been responsible for both his stomach cancer and thyroid condition. An occasional table scrap will not harm a cat, but it is far preferable that they are fed specially prepared meals since even most commercial cat food is pure garbage.

Of additional concern was the large amount of time that this very sociable cat was forced to spend alone at the library. Writing in a November newsletter produced by the library, Myron defended her actions by arguing, "Some folks think that he should retire and come to my house to live out his days in quiet. But that would be worse than prison for him. He hates being alone and can't stand the days we are closed. He still insists on going to meetings and events even if there are two-hundred people milling around."

That is, quite obviously, double talk. Since the library is only open at the maximum sixty-four hours a week (fewer when there are holidays and weather-related closings), Myron spends considerably more time at home than she does at work. Dewey could have stayed home during the day with her family or he could have commuted to work with her. Since she was unwilling to consider either of those options, she could at least have acquired a second cat to have kept him company when the library was closed.

The library was also wrong to have had Dewey sterilized and declawed. Since he was kept indoors, there was not any need to have had him neutered and declawing is not only extremely painful but inhumane as well. (See Cat Defender post of June 19, 2006 entitled "Irresponsible Cat Owner Allows Declawed Tomcat Named Jack to Tangle with Black Bear in Northern New Jersey.")

Considering all the free publicity that he generated for the library and the thousands of dollars that his notoriety brought in, Dewey deserved far better treatment. A healthier diet and more companionship would have greatly added to both the quality and length of his life, but above all he deserved to be allowed to finish out his life on his own terms.

Even in death the library continues to use him as a cash cow. Apparently too cheap to give him a proper burial and a tombstone, it is considering having him cremated and scattering his ashes on the library's grounds. Also, postcards bearing his image are still being hawked at the library and on its website for the exorbitant price of $1.50 each.

Postcards Are All That Is Now Left of Dewey 

All of this is terribly wrong. Cats, dogs, and other animals should be valued for their intrinsic worth as sentient beings. Most people, however, are totally incapable of looking upon either the animals, Mother Earth, or even their fellow human beings as anything other than objects of exploitation.

It is therefore not surprising that once they have gotten all that they can get out of a cat or some other animal that they kill it. Despite all the pretenses, man is little more than an exploiter and an exterminator.

The library should nonetheless be commended for rescuing Dewey and giving him a place to live. According to its website, two-hundred-fifty-eight cats are currently living in libraries around the world. Not surprisingly, one-hundred-ninety of them are living in the United States with the bulk of the remainder scattered in English-speaking countries such as England, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.

More public institutions and private businesses should adopt cats and dogs because in doing so they will not only be saving lives but enhancing their own well-being and happiness in the process. They should not, however, be permitted to sterilize and declaw cats. Moreover, they should be required to feed them a healthy diet and not to leave them alone on days when closed.

Since it is reportedly looking for a replacement for Dewey, it is vital that these prohibitions be enforced against the Spencer Library. Exploitation is no less onerous when its perpetrators are members of the intelligentsia.

Photos: Tim Gallagher of the Associated Press (Vicki Myron and Dewey) and Spencer Library (Dewey in chair, resting in bed, and postcard.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Milo, Who Visits the Vet by Her Lonesome, Is Named Old Blighty's Most Adventurous Cat

"Milo has to be the cheekiest, most spirited, and adventurous cat there ever was."
-- Leila Abbou

A three-year-old ginger-colored female named Milo who has car surfed as well as visited the vet on her own has been named England's Most Adventurous Cat.

Milo, who resides with Leila Abbou (See photo above) in Southam in Warwickshire, beat out several hundred other felines from all over Old Blighty in a competition sponsored by Go-Cat, a division of Purina. Natacha Mauvoisin of Go-Cat said that Milo was chosen because of her "amazing sense of adventure and courageous attitude."

For being selected, Milo earned a satellite navigation system for her owner and a year's supply of cat food, a collar, a certificate, and a trophy for herself. Ten runners-up will also receive a year's supply of cat food, a collar, and a certificate.

It is not exactly clear how the winners were selected but Go-Cat's website claims that GPS was used to track the movements of the entrants. Although Milo has been microchipped, collars fitted with GPS are not yet available for cats. Mobile indicators and transponders can be attached to their collars but both of them have a rather limited range and utility.

Nonetheless, Go-Cat's research has led it to hypothesize that an average cat travels more than 19,600 miles in its lifetime and that eighty per cent of this unescorted roaming is done at night.

Milo, however, appears to be an exception to this rule in that most of her known adventures have occurred during daylight hours. Most notably, she was once spotted, willingly or unwillingly, riding on the roof of a stranger's car. Another time she showed up by herself at the vet's office in order to have some incisions removed. Afterwards, she calmly waited around for the vet to call Abbou to come and get her.

She has also become quite a celebrity around Southam. Her rambles have taken her to the public library where she has been treated to a bowl of milk and to a nursery school were she was served bangers.

She often can be sighted hanging out on a bench at the taxi stand and she is apparently savvy enough to obey the traffic lights when crossing the street. She is not universally loved, however. For instance, she was once given the bum's rush by the ailurophobes at the Building Society.

"Milo has to be the cheekiest, most spirited, and adventurous cat there ever was," Abbou is quoted on Go-Cat's website as exclaiming. "But we do lover her, and will probably have many more days of chaos to come."

Home to approximately seven-thousand residents, Southam is located in the West Midlands, one-hundred-twenty-two kilometers northwest of London. Although it is a quiet town (See photo below of Market Hill), it is difficult to say if Abbou should be allowing her cat to roam. Her admission that Milo has already had her legs clipped by a motorist testifies, however, to the petit fait that it only takes one cat-hating motorist to run down a cat no matter how small the town.

Although the English love their wandering cats and dogs, it is difficult to fathom how any conscientious pet owner could willingly allow them to play Russian roulette with the kamikaze motorists who nowadays rule the roadways. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006 and November 20, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18" and "Ratty's Taste for Bangers Coupled with His Owner's Negligence Places Terrier's Life in Grave Jeopardy.")

It is also disturbing that Purina and the manufacturer of the GPS system that it is giving away would sponsor such a competition in the first place. In doing so they are encouraging owners to put the lives of their cats in mortal danger by allowing them to roam in dangerous urban streets.

This is another prime example of the predatory nature of capitalism. Purina wants to sell more cat food and the GPS manufacturer wants to peddle more tracking devices even if their actions are at the expense of the welfare of cats.

Photos: Go-Cat (Milo and Leila Abbou) and Wikipedia (Southam).