A North Carolina Shelter Is Plotting to Kill a Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in the Cargo Hold of a Ship from China
"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright (sic) will rather preserve its life than destroy it."
-- Henry David Thoreau
Just as cats never cease to astonish, man likewise continues to amaze but in his case it is not for the right reasons.
Par exemple, it was only last week that a dehydrated and half-starved-to-death cat arrived in the tiny North Carolina mountain town of Hendersonville inside a cargo container stuffed with motorcycle wearing apparel. Since the forty-foot container had left Shanghai on April 3rd, she had been without food and water for an incredible thirty-five days! (See photo above.)
Unless she was purposefully locked inside as someone's idea of a cruel joke, she most likely became trapped when the container was sealed. Olympia Moto Sports owner Eric Congdon was, quite naturally, astonished at what he found when he opened the crate. (See mug shot below.)
"I have seen some small, dead critters before," he told the Times-News of Hendersonville on May 12th. (See "Live Cat Inside Crate from China.") "It's just inconceivable that the cat could live that long."
The cat, now dubbed China, was forced to spend her involuntary confinement in total darkness and wallowing in her own excrement. The fear, loneliness, claustrophobia, strange noises, frequent changes in temperature, and the general hopelessness of the situation must have exacted a terribly high psychological toll on her.
Barely alive and frightened out of her wits, China would not allow Congdon near her so he committed the grievous faux pas of summoning Henderson County Animal Services (HCAS) which is now plotting to kill the long-suffering and brave little cat.
Once the organization's Brenda Miller got her filthy hands on China she immediately declared that the cat had to be quarantined for six-months but that HCAS was too cheap to foot the bill for her confinement.
"We will keep the cat for as long as we can but we are about to enter a season that we have a lot of animal issues," she told the Times-News. "Also, the cat needs to be quarantined at a state qualifying veterinarian. We just don't have the funds to take on something like that."
Although it is a widely accepted fact that this world is chock-full of heartless and evil people who do not have a smidgen of justice in their black souls, Miller takes the cake. To even suggest that China should be killed after all that she has been through proves that she has no business whatsoever working with animals of any sort. She is most likely just another old political hack who is feeding at the public trough even though she does not have any expertise or interest in animal welfare issues.
Although the denizens from the land of Jesse Helms and Billy Graham like to blow long and hard about Jesus and sin, they have seldom ever shown an iota of compassion for either the poor or the millions of pigs, chickens, cows, and other defenseless animals that they slaughter each year on their factory farms. Their brand of piety amounts to little more than an elaborate camouflage of their wickedness and baseness.
For instance, it was only this February that a North Carolina jury allowed PETA to get away practically scot-free with killing scores of cats and dogs and then disposing of their corpses in a Dumpster. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")
Although still terribly undernourished and frightened, China appears to have come through her ordeal without any physical injuries. HCAS is, at least for the moment, feeding her but the organization has imprisoned her in another crate.
Alex Elam, one of Congdon's employees, has volunteered to adopt China but he has not said if he is willing to pay HCAS its blood money. As for Congdon, he has been even less forthcoming.
"It would be a shame for the cat to die after it survived such an ordeal," he told the Times-News. True enough, but he needs to put his wallet where is mouth is and save China from the butchers at HCAS.
After all, it was his idiotic decision to call HCAS that has landed China on death row. What he should have done was to have fed and watered her and given her a place to live. Since she was uninjured, there was not any need to even take her to the vet.
Moreover, the enormous amount of free publicity that China has generated for both his retail business and musical career more than compensates for what it would cost him to save her. For instance, he was interviewed on the CBC's As It Happens on May 15th.
Anyone who cares about cats and dogs needs to realize that Animal Control and shelters are primarily in the killing business; in reality, they are little more than glorified abattoirs. Since these institutions and individuals do not have any respect for the sanctity of animal life, it is therefore incumbent upon caring individuals to ensure that they never get their murdering hands on any cat, dog, or other animal.
Secondly, Congdon should have kept quiet about China being an immigrant. Forcing her to endure six-months of quarantine in a cage at either a disease-ridden shelter or veterinarian's office is not only unnecessary but unhealthy and cruel and inhumane as well. The only diseases that an initial examination might fail to detect would be those that she would contract during her confinement. Shelters, like hospitals and physicians' offices, are rife with disease.
The entire scheme amounts to little more than a shakedown in that it forces caring individuals to choose between the dictates of their hearts and their wallets. Laws should be enacted that would not only outlaw the killing of all animals but also bar shelters from holding cats like China for ransom.
If Congdon is too cheap to save China, then perhaps the manufacturer in Shanghai could be prevailed upon to ransom her. After all, its carelessness in sealing up China inside the cargo container was even more egregious than Congdon's negligence.
If neither of these capitalists are willing to intervene than the onus falls upon animal rights groups and cat-lovers in western North Carlina. One way or another, Miller and her murdering band must be stopped and China saved.
The intransigence of Olympia Moto Sports is in marked contrast to the compassion and generosity that Raflatac, a laminating and labeling company in Nancy, France, bestowed upon an American cat named Emily back in 2005.
The thirteen-month-old black and gray cat from Appleton, Wisconsin was accidentally trapped in a cargo container for more than three weeks as it wended its way to France. Far from being uncaring and cheap, Raflatac paid Emily's $210 quarantine fee. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")
The company also contacted Emily's owners, Donny and Lesley McElhiney, and Continental generously flew the cat home gratis. (See photo above of the happy reunion.)
It generally has been accepted as a truism that animals, man included, can survive for only about three weeks without food and only three days without water, but both China and Emily have disproved that notion. Michelle Misavage of After Hours Small Animal Hospital in Raleigh hypothesizes that cats are able to survive such ordeals by licking up condensation that collects inside their would-be tombs and that their kidneys and other vital organs are able to adjust to a lack of water and nourishment.
Misavage also pointed out to the Times-News that China must have been in good health at the start of her misadventure because she otherwise would have have survived. That admission in itself not only negates the need to quarantine her but also to kill her as well.
China therefore deserves to live not only because of all that she has endured, but also because all life is precious. As Henry David Thoreau once put it, "Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright (sic) will rather preserve its life than destroy it."
It is a shame that the backward, cold-hearted, shekel-counting North Carolinians who hold little China's fate in their hands do not have a drop or two of French blood in their veins instead of only moonshine and hog fat.
Photos: Patrick Sullivan of the Times-News (China), Eric Congdon (mug shot), and Kirk Wagner of the Appleton Post-Crescent (Emily and the McElhineys.)