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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

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Survivors and Adventurers: Fifteen Wonderful Cats to Remember from the Year 2007

"Those who love cats which do not even purr,
Or which are thin and tired and very old,
Bend down to them in the street and stroke their fur
And rub their ears and smooth their breast, and hold
Their paws, and gaze into their eyes of gold."
-- Francis Scarfe, "How We Should Regard Cats Like Grizabella"

For those who love cats, 2007 was another banner year chock-full of remarkable stories about these exquisite creatures. Cats born with debilitating handicaps, such as Maxwell and Angel, not only survived but prospered. Unspeakable acts of cruelty continued unabated but the world was uplifted by brave little Adam's valiant fight for life. Adventurous souls, such as China, Macavity, and Carlsberg, came through their travails no worse for wear but a feral cat named Wild Oats had a close shave when she got her head stuck inside a peanut butter jar for nineteen days.

Number 10 Downing Street welcomed a new resident feline named Sybil while Ollie took up residence at Manchester International. Windsor Castle was forced to set out an extra plate at lunch for an enterprising feline named Mime and an Indiana cat named Winnie became a national hero when she saved her family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Oscar astounded the medical world with his uncanny ability to predict death and Clara Carmack continued to delight both staff and visitors to the Alamo. Cat lovers paused to remember Simon, the hero of the Yangtze Incident, and to say goodbye to Port Taranaki's world famous seafaring cat, Colin's.

A brief look back at the lives and times of fifteen of the most provocative cats of 2007 follows below. For last year's recap see Cat Defender post of December 21, 2006 entitled "Heroes and Victims: Sixteen Special Cats to Remember from the Year 2006."

1.) Oscar. The Cat Whose Appearance Presages Death.


Without a doubt, the most amazing cat of 2007 was a two-year-old gray and white moggy named Oscar who is able to predict the arrival of the Grim Reaper more accurately than attending physicians. The cat, who lives at a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island, enters the rooms of patients who only have a few hours left on this earth, hops in bed with them, snuggles up, and begins to purr. As soon as they die, he quietly exits the room.

So far, he has correctly predicted the deaths of at least twenty-five patients. He is in fact so serious about his mission that he resents being expelled from the room of any dying patient. Although various explanations have been advanced, no one is quite certain how to account for his prescience. (See Cat Defender post of July 30, 2007 entitled "A Visit from Oscar the Cat Means the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at Rhode Island Nursing Home.")

2.) Maxwell. Orange Tabby Survives Without Eyes and Teeth.


One of the most heartbreaking and at the same time heartwarming stories of the year concerned an orange cat named Maxwell who was not only born without eyes and teeth but later abandoned to fend for himself. Thanks to the compassion shown by Committed Alliance to Strays (CATS) of Medford, Oregon and veterinarian Shannon Sierra, Maxwell has not only survived but today leads a full and productive life.

"At first, I figured he'd survive if he was cared for, but I didn't know what his quality of life would be," Sierra recalled. "Then I spent some time with him and realized how well he gets around. He doesn't know he's handicapped. He just does what he needs to do and he does it really well." (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2007 entitled "Abandoned to Die in a World of Darkness and Without Even Teeth, Maxwell Is Saved by the Compassion of a Rescue Group and a Veterinarian.")

3.) Angel. Kitten Is Born Without Eyes but Survives.


Angel's introduction to this world was not kind. Born without eyes, she was taken from her mother and dumped at the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County when she was only four-weeks-old. Thanks to the medical care and compassion that she received there, she not only survived but was subsequently given a home by one of the shelter's volunteers. She is reportedly doing rather well nowadays.

"She's not missing anything if you think about it," shelter worker Cecily Joque said back in February. "She's got a very good sense of where she is. She can smell and she can hear. So if you're standing by her cage, she'll grab your pants leg." (See Cat Defender post of February 23, 2007 entitled "Born Without Eyes and Later Abandoned, Humble Kitten Appropriately Enough Named Angel Has Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow.")

All handicapped cats deserve both medical care and a chance to live. As both Angel and Maxwell have proven, they can make it in this world if they are given just a little bit of assistance and compassion.

4.) Clara Carmack. Keeping the Alamo Free of Rodents.

Clara Carmack

The Alamo has always had cats but its current head mouser is really something special. Eleven-year-old, twelve-pound Clara Carmack arrived at the shrine pregnant and feral in 1996 but she was eventually trapped and domesticated. In addition to keeping the rodents at bay, Clara also serves as a guard cat and helps conduct tours of the facility.

"She's our guard kitty and the grounds are her territory," according to the Alamo's Pattie Sandoval. "No mouse would dare show his face around here." The black and white moggy is also credited with reducing stress and boosting staff morale. (See Cat Defender post of May 14, 2007 entitled "Davey Crockett May Have Lost the Alamo to the Mexicans but Clara Carmack Is Making Sure It Does Not Fall to Invading Mice.")

5.) Mime. The Cat Who Dines with the Queen.


Some felines have a taste for haute cuisine and Mime is one of them. The black and white moggy wants no part of owner Kevin Lam's leftovers. Instead she prefers to stroll across the street from the Chinese restaurant where she lives in order to cadge a free meal off of the queen at Windsor Castle.

"Mime's part of the furniture. Everyone looks forward to her visits," a castle spokesperson told The Sun. Well, not exactly everyone. The queen's prized corgis have had their objections but appear now to have grudgingly accepted the interloper's presence at lunch each day. Making Mime' coup all the more delicious is the petit fait that the queen is known to prefer dogs and horses to cats. (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.")

6.) China. Trapped in a Crate at Sea for Thirty-Five Days.


A tough little cat named China arrived in the tiny mountain town of Hendersonville, North Carolina back in May after having been trapped in a crate of motorcycle wearing apparel that had left Shanghai thirty-five days earlier. Since shelter officials required that she spend an astounding six months in quarantine, it was at first feared that she would be killed because no one was willing to foot the bill for her forced confinement.

According to Brenda Miller of Henderson County Animal Services, an employee of the importer, Olympia Moto Sports, has expressed an interest in adopting her so hopefully she is still alive. After all that she has gone through, killing her would be a crime of monumental proportions. (See Cat Defender post of May 17, 2007 entitled "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of a Ship from China.")

7.) Sybil. Number 10 Downing Street's New Resident Feline.


For the first time since the ailurophobic Cherie Blair banished the charismatic Humphrey from the premises back in 1997, 10 Downing Street has a new resident feline and her name is Sybil. The black and white tabby, who arrived in London on September 10th from Edinburgh, is the companion of Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and his wife, Margaret.

Darling wasted no time in reassuring the media that the cat was not a freeloader and would be expected to earn her keep. "Sybil has been brought down because there are mice here," he told the Daily Mail. He also predicted that because of her past record of achievement that she soon would have the situation in hand. (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.")

8.) Ollie. Manchester International's Newest Attraction.


When Ollie first arrived at Manchester International he had already lost most of his left ear and was looking down-at-the-heel. Airport officials could have had him killed, like JFK in New York is doing with its cats, but they instead decided to love and care for him.

Not only do employees and vendors of the busy transportation hub ensure that he has plenty to eat but they have also constructed a shelter for him. "Air crews give him a feed early in the morning and staff from the airport and its service partners look after him throughout the day," according to airport employee Bob Molloy. "He's a big talking point around her. Everybody likes him."

Ollie, who also has his own page on Facebook, has received food parcels from as faraway as Paris, Chicago, and New York. (See Cat Defender post of November 28, 2007 entitled "'Lovable' Ollie Finds a Home at Manchester International Airport After Workers and Vendors Come to His Aid.")

9.) Adam. Kitten Torched by Laughing Teenage Girls.


A two-month-old black kitten named Adam was set on fire by two laughing teenage girls in Santa Rosa, California on June 20th. The kitten suffered second and third degree burns over seventy-five per cent of his body and his tail was so horribly burned that it had to be amputated.

He was put through excruciating pain and multiple surgeries but somehow he survived. He is not completely out of the woods just yet but things are looking up for him in that he was recently given a home by Tina Wright of Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County.

Two fifteen-year-old girls were arrested and charged with animal cruelty on July 5th but because of their ages the severest sentence that they are eligible for under the law is three-years in reform school. Because court hearings involving juveniles are usually conducted in camera, the general public probably will never know the final disposition of this case. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2007 entitled "Burned Nearly to Death by Laughing Teenage Girls, Two-Month-Old Kitten Named Adam Is Fighting for His Life in Santa Rosa.")

10.) Colin's. 1990-2007, Requiescat in Pace.

Colin's, Port Taranaki's world famous seafaring cat, was killed off by Superintendent Gordon MacPherson back in May after the seventeen-year-old tortoiseshell's health had taken a turn for the worst. She made headlines in 2001 when she was either willingly or unwillingly taken aboard a South Korean tanker and spirited out of New Zealand.

As soon as MacPherson discovered what had happened, he flew to Yeosu and retrieved Colin's. She was later made an honorary ambassador for New Plymouth, where the port is situated, by Mayor Peter Tennent as well as an honorary member of the local cat club. Gone but far from forgotten, she is still featured prominently on the port's website and plaques commemorating her achievements adorn the terminal's kitchen. (See Cat Defender post of May 31, 2007 entitled "Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen.")

11.) Simon. Hero of the Yangtze Incident.


Although Simon died fifty-eight-years ago, he is still very much alive in the memories of the crew of the HMS Amethyst. In fact, members of the Royal Navy gathered at his grave in Ilford, Essex for a wreath-laying ceremony on November 1st. When the HMS Amethyst was attacked and later held hostage for one-hundred-one days by Mao's forces in 1949, Simon protected the crew's dwindling food supplies from mice and helped to keep up morale.

Unfortunately, upon the ship's return to Portsmouth the hero of the Yangtze Incident died in quarantine as the result of shrapnel wounds and a broken heart. "Simon is still remembered with great affection," Stewart Hett, lieutenant commander of the HMS Amethyst, said at the recent commemoration. (See Cat Defender post of November 13, 2007 entitled "Simon, Hero of the Yangtze Incident, Is Remembered with a Wreath-Laying Ceremony in Ilford.")

12.) Winnie. Saves Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Winnie with Eric, Cathy, and Michael Keesling

On March 24th, a fourteen-year-old gray cat named Winnie from New Castle, Indiana saved her family from dying of carbon monoxide poisoning by awakening her mistress, Cathy Keesling. By that time Cathy's spouse, Eric, was already unresponsive and their fourteen-year-old son, Michael, was unconscious in a hallway.

"If it wasn't for Winnie screaming and hollering and carrying on, we wouldn't be here today," Cathy later declared. For her heroics, Winnie has later named Cat of the Year by the ASPCA. (See Cat Defender posts of April 23, 2007 and November 12, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Winnie Saves Indiana Family of Three from Dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning" and "Winnie Is Honored as the ASPCA's "Cat of the Year" for Saving Her Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.")

13.) Macavity. Rides the Bus All by His Lonesome.

Macavity Likes to Ride the Buses

A plucky white cat with one blue eye and one green one and dubbed Macavity has become a regular on the three-thirty-one bus which operates between Walsall and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. Macavity, who takes the bus two or three times a week, always boards at Churchill Road in Walsall and rides for about four-hundred meters before disembarking at a shopping plaza.

Although it is a bit of a mystery what he is up to, Macavity has nevertheless earned high praise from his fellow commuters for his gentlemanly behavior. "I suppose he is the perfect passenger really," Paul Brennan told the Daily Mail. "He sits quietly, minds his own business, and then gets off." (See Cat Defender post of April 19, 2007 entitled "Bus-Hopping Macavity Earns High Praise from His Fellow Commuters for Being the 'Perfect Passenger'.")

14.) Carlsberg. The Cat Who Stowed Away on a Beer Lorry.

Carlsberg and Catherine Redgrave

He did not do it in order to wet his whistle. In fact, as far as it is known he is a teetotaler. Nonetheless, a black and white moggy dubbed Carlsberg from Broseley took an unplanned two-mile jaunt on a beer lorry on October 31st.

Upon his arrival at The Swan in Ironbridge, Shropshire, he was befriended and adopted by bar employee, Catherine Redgrave. His previous owner, Jennie Harris, saw his photograph in the Shropshire Star, however, and sought and secured his return.

"It was such a shock. I don't know how he survived, but he seems prouder than ever," she later told the Star. (See Cat Defender post of December 12, 2007 entitled, "Bored with Conditions at Home, Carlsberg Stows Away on a Beer Lorry for the Adventure of a Lifetime.")

15.) Wild Oats. Survives Nineteen Days with Jar on Her Head.

Wild Oats

Wild Oats, a feral tabby from the Memphis suburb on Bartlett, was forced to go without either food or water for nineteen days in November because she had gotten her head trapped inside an empty peanut butter jar. Doretha Cain and her daughter, Tabitha, were finally able to capture her and remove the jar.

"She couldn't fight and wasn't struggling because she was barely breathing," Doretha recalled. Fortunately, she soon recovered from her ordeal and was eating again within two days. (See Cat Defender post of December 18, 2007 entitled "Wild Oats Survives Nineteen Days with a Peanut Butter Jar Stuck on Her Head.")

Not to be overlooked are Tanker Ray, a popular bar cat from Tampa, and hero cats Cuddles of Prince Albert in Saskatchewan and Bacon of Ottawa, both of whom saved their owners from perishing in fires. Tizer, head mouser at King's Cross railway station, and the Dallas Symphony's Miss Widget also made lasting impressions.

There was also Wizzo of Edwards Air Force Base and Bootsie of El Cerrito, California. Joe, a television star from Dore, England, and Nora, a piano-playing cat from the City of Brotherly Love, charmed millions with their uncanny abilities.

Blackie kept postmen in Ramsgate, Kent on their toes while Lucy of Colorado Springs and Sammy of Billingham, Washington made friends with deer. Sadly, Sammy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Spice survived being trapped for nineteen days in a shipping crate that was bound for San Bernardino from Hawaii while Rascal meandered onto a freight train in South Bend and wound up in Chattanooga. Mimine of Treveray, Meuse and Marmalade from the Melbourne suburb on Brunswick overcame great obstacles in order to rejoin their families after long absences.

Stinky was rescued from a rooftop in New Albany, Indiana while Stone somehow survived the carnage in war-torn Lebanon in order to find a new home in Wheaton, Illinois. In Chester, England, Penny was rescued at the last minute from a scrap metal yard while in Pennsylvania's Lower Windsor Township Roo miraculously survived being run down by a motorist and nearly succumbing to hypothermia.

As in all years, countless cats were victimized by acts of violence. Bill of Vista, California was brutally slain by a psychopath with a bow and arrow while Solskjaer from the Manchester suburb of Burnage was doused with acid. A bird lover was responsible for the premature death of Fletcher from Bramley Crescent in the Sholing district of Southampton. Cosmo of Thousand Oaks, California was mauled by a coyote while Little Man of Gainesville, Virginia was horribly disfigured by an unknown animal. Thankfully, both cats survived.

Moppel of Rodau, Sachsen was caught in a leghold trap while both Butty of Houston and Mork of Ruislip in Middlesex were mistakenly killed by Animal Control. Marmalade of Lincoln City, Oregon was not only attacked by a raccoon but was dying from a prolapsed rectum when kindhearted tourists from Michigan intervened in order to save his life.

As the year draws to a close, Maximum, a Parisian cat on vacation in Los Angeles, Slim of Ottawa, and Corporal Cuffs of Philadelphia remain missing.

Photos: Dina Rudick of the Boston Globe (Oscar), Jim Craven of the Mail Tribune of Medford, Oregon (Maxwell), KOMO-TV, Seattle (Angel), J. Michael Short of the San Antonio Express-News (Clara Carmack), The Sun (Mime), Patrick Sullivan of the Times-News of Hendersonville (China), BBC (Sybil), Manchester Evening News (Ollie), Forgotten Felines (Adam), Taranaki Daily News (Colin's), People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (Simon), Associated Press (Winnie), Daily Mail (Macavity), Ed Bagnall of the Shropshire Star (Carlsberg), and Karen Pulfer Focht of the Commercial Appeal (Wild Oats).

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Prominent New Zealand Physician Who Ludicrously Claims to Be an Ailurophile Gets Away with Stealing and Dumping His Neighbor's Cat

Max and Lisa Morice
"(Stealing cats is) not a nice thing for the neighborhood. We still feel quite spooked about it. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could do this. There must have been twenty other ways to deal with the situation. Max is a very big boy. Quite obviously he's not a stray."
-- Lisa Morice

Bird lovers and gardeners apparently are not the only individuals who steal and then dump their neighbors' cats. For example, at least one self-proclaimed cat lover from the Auckland suburb of Westmere has been caught red-handed doing the same thing.

Peter Parkinson, a prominent sixty-six-year-old physician, captured Lisa Morice's cat, Max, on July 26th and drove him across the Auckland Harbor Bridge and dumped him in Northcote. He did this because he alleges that Max was entering his house through the cat door and fighting with his resident feline, Chiquita. He also has accused the six-year-old longhaired and green-eyed tom with helping himself to Chiquita's food and then leaving behind the byproducts of his repasts.

After a missing cat flier distributed by Morice turned up in his mailbox, Parkinson sent her an anonymous letter informing her that Max had been treated to what he called "a vacation overseas." The epistle also contained a map of the North Shore sarcastically identifying the spot where the cat had been dumped as "Max's Hilton."

Morice and her family then searched the streets of Northcote every night for two weeks before the cat was finally discovered underneath a house on Waimana Avenue. "I put my head under a hole and called him and Max strolled out of the darkness. It was wonderful," Morice recalled for the Auckland City Harbor News on November 9th. (See "Catnapper Escapes Prosecution.")

Luckily, Max was not physically harmed during his trying ordeal, although he did lose some weight. His abduction has, however, left him with some psychological scars. 

"Now he's very jumpy and distressed, especially when men come into the house," Morice told The New Zealand Herald on August 19th. (See "Prominent Doctor Facing Charges for Relocating Neighbor's Cat.")

Most cats that are abducted and dumped by ailurophobes are not nearly so fortunate and their owners seldom ever see them again. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2007 and November 11, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crafty Bird Lover Claims Responsibility for Stealing Six Cats from a Southampton Neighborhood and Concealing Their Whereabouts" and "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton.")

Of course, it is not totally unheard of for ailurophiles to snatch cats but their conduct is usually motivated by benevolent reasons. (See Cat Defender post of July 19, 2007 entitled "Hungry and Disheveled Cat Named Slim Is Picked Up Off the Streets of Ottawa by Rescuer Who Refuses to Return Him to His Owners.")

Parkinson, who corralled Max by throwing a blanket over him after locking him inside and chasing him around the house for two hours, ludicrously claims that he thought the well-fed and immaculately groomed cat was a stray. He also lamely claims to have contacted not only the police but also the local and national offices of the SPCA before dumping Max.

More likely than not he got scared when Morice went to the authorities and the media and therefore belatedly decided to save his own skin by sending her an anonymous letter. Press reports do not detail how he was unmasked as Max's abductor.

Although the police initially said that Parkinson would be charged with willfully abandoning an animal, they have since decided not to press charges. After all, the Kiwis and their Aussie cousins falsely believe that is perfectly permissible to slaughter cats by the tens of thousands but a major crime to abandon one. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005 and August 11, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death" and "Barbaric Australians Come Up with an Ingenious New Poison in Order to Exterminate Cats.")
Pet Mate's Cat Flap

"All the parties concerned were spoken to and with the fact that the cat ended up unharmed, it didn't really seem appropriate to charge him," Ponsonby sergeant Matt Srhoj told the Auckland City Harbor News in the article cited supra. "We felt we were going to get the desired result with issuing a warning."

This is a vindication for Parkinson and his criminal conduct. From the very outset he scoffed at the police's investigation by calling it a "ridiculous situation." He furthermore proclaimed to The New Zealand Herald, "I'm surprised (the) police have spent resources on this...my cat was trashed and bleeding on many occasions."

The morale of this sad story is that vigilanteism is not only alive and well in Westmere, but that the authorities are totally unwilling to punish cat stealers and abusers. There can be little doubt that Parkinson's prominence in the community was a factor in the police's decision not to charge him.

He currently operates a therapeutic practice out of his home but before that he worked as a lecturer and general practitioner in both London and New Zealand. A stonemason by avocation, he has also established a residence for street kids in London.

Despite all of that, he has never acquired any respect for either the property of others or the law itself. More than likely he considers himself exempt from such mundane concerns.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the petit fait that the Auckland City Harbor News declined to disclose his name in its report on the disposal of the case. In order to obtain that vital piece of information The New Zealand Herald had to be consulted.

For her part, Morice says that she does not have a problem with the police's decision to let Parkinson off the hook even though the good doctor has never bothered to apologize to her. "I would rather just leave it to the police to deal with," she told the Auckland City Harbor News.

That is certainly a far cry from the tune that she was singing back in August. "(Stealing cats is) not a nice thing for the neighborhood. We still feel quite spooked about it. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could do this," she told The New Zealand Herald. "There must have been twenty other ways to deal with the situation. Max is a very big boy. Quite obviously he's not a stray."

If by Parkinson's own admission Max had been visiting Chiquita for a year, it is odd that he waited for such a long time before taking action. More to the point, he could have locked his cat flap and that would have solved the problem.

He also could have invested in any one of a number of new high-tech cat flaps that are now on the market. Most notably, the English firm Pet Mate is marketing the Elite Super Selective and the Elite Selective, both of which not only keep out unwanted cats and other animals but also can be programmed to regulate the comings and goings of up to as many as eight individual cats.
A Pet Porte Cat Flap

Although these systems rely upon RFID technology, they do not require microchip implants. Household cats instead wear the microchips suspended from their collars.

These devices are currently retailing for between $150 and $200 apiece and since physicians really rake in the shekels there is no question that Parkinson could easily afford one of them. (See Pet Health Care, December 13, 2007, "New Cat Flap for Eight Individual Cats.")

Microchip Cat Flaps is also marketing its Pet Porte RFID Microchip Cat Flap for between $200 and $250. Although this product operates pretty much the same way as Pet Mate's products, it does require that cats using the system have microchips implanted underneath their skin. (See PR.com, October 25, 2007, "Pet Porte: The World's First Microchip Cat Flap.")

Both systems have their drawbacks and limitations, however. Lugging around a disc containing a microchip is cumbersome for cats while implanted microchips have been linked to cancer. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2007 entitled "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")

More importantly, an over reliance upon RFID technology gives cat owners a false sense of security while contributing very little to their pets' safety. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.") Nevertheless, any one of these high-tech cat flaps would have remedied Parkinson's problems with Max.

More to the point, if he were a law-abiding citizen and a genuine lover of cats he would have either made an effort to have located Max's owner or he would have turned the cat over to the SPCA. The fact that he deliberately chose to forgo these perfectly legal and humane alternatives is proof that he is a criminal who should have been charged, convicted, and sentenced for what he did.

A hefty fine and six-months or so in the can would have perhaps taught him some humility and an abiding respect for the rights of cats and their owners.

Photos: Jason Oxenham of the Auckland City Harbor News (Max and Morice), Pet Mate (Elite Super Selective cat flap), and Microchip Cat Flaps (Pet Porte).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wild Oats Survives Nineteen Days with a Peanut Butter Jar Stuck on Her Head

"I thought she was going to die with that jar on her head."
-- Tabitha Cain

A feral cat named Wild Oats was recently forced to go without either food or water for an astonishing nineteen days because she got her head stuck inside an empty peanut butter jar and was unable to extricate herself.

Twenty-five-year-old Tabitha Cain, who has been generously feeding Wild Oats and five other feral cats for the past three years, first learned of Wild Oats' predicament when the moggy turned up outside her Bartlett, Tennessee home on November 10th. Tabitha and her mother, Doretha, wanted to help Wild Oats get the jar off but were unable to get near her.

"We tried to get her, but being the type of cat you can't catch, she kept running and hiding," Doretha told the Commercial Appeal of nearby Memphis on December 1st. (See "Cat Survives Nineteen Days with Peanut Butter Jar on Head.")

Her inability to help Wild Oats left Tabitha distraught and resigned to the inevitable. "I thought she was going to die with that jar on her head," she told the Commercial Appeal.

Bartlett Animal Shelter was contacted and it attempted to trap Wild Oats but the cat proved to be too wily for it also.

After the Cains had given up Wild Oats for dead, the cat miraculously reappeared on November 28th. She still had the jar on her head but by then she was so weak from a total lack of nourishment that they were able to capture her by tossing a fishing net over her.

"She couldn't fight and wasn't struggling because she was barely breathing," Doretha recalled.

Tabitha applied some oil to the jar and soon extricated Wild Oats' head. (See photo above.) The Cains then gave her some water and tended to her injuries. Two days later she was eating again.

"I've heard of cats having nine lives but I think this one has nineteen because she survived nineteen days," Doretha remarked to the Commercial Appeal. "God will take care of animals just like people because that cat is really a miracle."

Dr. Gerald Blackburn, a Memphis veterinarian, thinks that Wild Oats may have survived her long and trying ordeal by subsisting off of her excess body fat. He emphasized, however, that for a cat to survive for that length of time under those circumstances was unusual.

Kim Scheu of the Bartlett Animal Shelter warned that residents need to do a better job of disposing of their trash so as to prevent incidents like this from recurring. "People need to understand that wildlife or any domestic animal will do something like that and it's dangerous," she told the Commercial Appeal.

In particular, all toxic substances should be returned to recycling centers instead of being tossed out with the remainder of the garbage. Trash bags should not be left unattended on the curb; rather, they should be deposited inside steel receptacles that have lids. Above all, special care needs to be taken when disposing of such mundane household items as jars and plastic bags.

As for Wild Oats, it is not known if she has returned to the streets or is still living with the Cains. If they are willing to invest the time and effort, Wild Oats might now be more amenable to domestication.

She is certainly a very courageous cat as well as a long-suffering one also. Without a doubt, she would make a terrific addition to some family.

Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht of the Commercial Appeal.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tanker Ray Survives Being Abandoned as a Kitten in Order to Become the World Famous Mascot of a Tampa Bar

"He's a wise soul. You peer into his eyes, and you can see that there's a lot going on in there."
-- Eric Schiller

The Ybor City section of Tampa has a new must see attraction and his name is Tanker Ray. He is the head mouser and mascot at Gaspar's Grotto on Seventh Street. (See photos above and below.)

The newly-born calico kitten was found cowering underneath a staircase at Camden Apartments five years ago by the pub's owner, Eric Schiller. Although he was at that time an acknowledged ailurophobe, Schiller nonetheless immediately recognized Tanker Ray's potential as a mouser.

He therefore took the hungry and frightened kitten and installed him as head mouser at the bar he and his wife, Shere, had recently opened. Tanker Ray grew strong and soon made short work of the pub's mice and lizards.

That, however, was only the first of many benefits that Schiller has reaped as the result of his initial act of kindness. Tanker Ray soon became a favorite of the bar's patrons and his fame rapidly spread throughout the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and indeed around the globe.

In addition to charming imbibers, he regularly appears at parties and fundraisers and even has been featured in a commercial for Ferman Automotive. After he was named one of the world's most famous felines by Flippy's Cat Page, tourists from as faraway as London began asking for him immediately upon their arrival at the bar.

Although he appears to fear no one, the affable twelve-pound cat is said to be especially fond of the tender gender and is not the least bit shy about posing for photographs. Like all cats, he has a marked disdain for loud noises whether they are emanating from drunks, dogs, motorcycles, or garbage trucks.

Whereas most felines are repulsed by the smell of beer, Tanker Ray is said to have acquired a fondness for it by lapping it up off of the floor. Whereas all alcohol is most certainly detrimental to feline health, this has not stopped Schiller from christening Gaspar's signature red lager as Tanker Ray's Bar Cat Beer.

Back in October, the cat became inexplicably ill, however. He stopped eating, grooming himself, and chasing mice. About all that he was good for was staring at the four walls and moaning.

As still another testimony to the transformative power of cats, the former cat-hater became distraught himself. "I went ballistic," Schiller told the St. Petersburg Times on November 2nd. (See "After Weeklong Funk, Cat Back at Bar Scene.") "I told my wife, 'We're going to have to close the bar'."

Schiller's reaction to Tanker Ray's illness recalls to mind James Herriot's story about a sweet shop cat named Alfred, which is contained in his book entitled Cat Stories. It is an amusing tale about a small confection shop owner named Geoffrey Hatfield who is able to hold his own against his larger competitors principally by sweet-talking his female customers out of their pounds sterling. (See image below.)

As the story goes, Alfred would sit unobtrusively at the end of the counter taking in his owner's every utterance and gesture as well as nodding agreeably at the conclusion of each sale. For instance, when Hatfield would look skyward as if he were calling upon the heavens for divine guidance in selecting the most appropriate confection for a discriminating customer, Alfred would do likewise.

All of this just goes to show that, contrary to popular opinion, many cats do have good heads for business. The only reason that they are not titans of industry is that, like the presocratic philosopher Thales, they have far better things to do with their time than to engage in such destructive silliness.

To make a long story short, one day Alfred, like Tanker Ray, became inexplicably ill and Dr. Herriot was unable for the life of him to ascertain what was ailing him. Hatfield therefore lost all interest in his business and would do little more than grunt whenever his female patrons stopped by expecting another Academy Award winning performance from him.

Realizing that the confectioner's business was slowly going down the tubes, Dr. Herriot was forced to rack his brain in order to determine what was wrong with Alfred. Luckily, he was ultimately successful in his endeavors and the cat recovered.

When he stopped by the candy store sometime later, Herriot was relieved to see that everything was back to normal. Hatfield was once again sweet-talking the old biddies out of their money while Alfred was nodding approvingly from the end of the counter.

In Tanker Ray's case, Schiller at first thought that he had contracted the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) but medical tests proved that was not the case. It was next suspected that Tanker Ray might be depressed by the Schillers' recent adoption of a kitten named Cargo.

Although the cause of his malaise was never pinpointed, Tanker Ray recovered on his own in about a week and was even well enough to put in an appearance at a recent fundraiser for the Tampa Historical Society. "Luckily, nobody said to me, 'It's only a cat'," Schiller told the St. Petersburg Times.

For the time being, Tanker Ray lives above the bar on the vacant second floor and makes his way downstairs through a specially constructed tunnel. When he dies, however, Schiller plans on taking his corpse to a taxidermist and then displaying the stuffed product on one of the bar's walls.

That is sheer barbarism! For all the love and companionship that Tanker Ray has given him, not to mention the shekels that he has put in his coffers, the very least that he deserves is a dignified burial. Violating the sanctity of his corpse is senseless when photographs will serve the purpose just as well if indeed not better.

"He's like a wise soul. You peer into his eyes, and you can see that there's a lot going on in there," Schiller told the Times in the article cited supra. If he truly believes that, he then also knows that Tanker Ray would not want to be eviscerated and stuffed.

Photos: St. Petersburg Times (Tanker Ray) and Amazon (Cat Stories).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bored with Conditions at Home, Carlsberg Stows Away on a Beer Lorry for the Adventure of a Lifetime

"It was such a shock. I don't know how he survived, but he seems prouder than ever."
-- Jennie Harris

"It's a dangerous business, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to," J. R. R. Tolkien once cautioned. Apparently no one ever warned Carlsberg about either hanging out at pubs of hitchhiking rides on beer lorries.

Workers at the The Swan in Ironbridge, Shropshire therefore received quite a pleasant surprise on October 31st when their weekly delivery of Carlsberg also included a black and white cat. The moggy had wedged himself underneath the back doors and was resting on the frame between the two wheels.

Twenty-six-year-old pub employee Catherine Redgrave was, however, able to lure him out of hiding and to safety with the offer of some bacon and milk. Despite his name, Carlsberg apparently is not a drinker. (See photo above of her and Carlsberg.)

Redgrave then took the cat to a veterinarian in order to have him scanned for an implanted microchip but none was located. She therefore decided to adopt him.

"When we still had no idea where he belonged at the end of the day I took him home and he has been with me ever since," she told the BBC on November 3rd. (See "Cat Found in Pub's Lager Delivery.") "He is more than welcome to stay with me, but it would be nice to see him back with his real owners where be belongs."

Carlsberg's impromptu arrival also brightened up the day for everybody associated with the eighteenth-century inn and pub. (See photo below.) "He's ever so nice. It was definitely the highlight of our day at work," Redgrave elaborated for the Shropshire Star on November 2nd. (See "Luckiest Cat in the World -- Probably.")

Both Redgrave and her two-year-old son, Joshua, immediately became strongly attached to Carlsberg, but it was not a relationship that was destined to endure. Thanks to the publication of the above photograph in the Shropshire Star, Carlsberg's previous owner came forward a few days later and reclaimed her cat.

Jennie Harris of nearby Broseley, who just happens to live next door to a pub herself, theorizes that the cat she calls Spot must have wandered over to the bar and climbed aboard the beer lorry. "He has always been adventurous and has probably used up quite a few of his nine lives," she told the Shropshire Star on November 5th. (See "Pub Cat Reunited with Owner.")

Although Spot has a history of climbing out of windows and exploring beneath the floorboards, this is the first time that he has gone AWOL. "It was such a shock," Harris explained to the Shropshire Star. "I don't know how he survived, but he seems prouder than ever."

If Spot has gotten a taste for life on the road this could very well just be the beginning of many adventures for him. This is especially true if he has acquired a taste for bacon and milk and likes being the center of attention.

As for Redgrave and her heartbroken young son, they are now in the market for a full-time resident feline of their own.

Photos: Ed Bagnall of the Shropshire Star (Redgrave and Carlsberg) and Ironbridge-Gorge Pub Guide (The Swan).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

All the Lies That Fit. The Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His Unbiased Support for James M. Stevenson

" You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies -- which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world -- what I would like to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do."
-- Joe Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Long regarded as arguably the world's sleaziest and least reliable newspaper, The New York Times sank to an all-time low on December 2nd when it published in its Sunday magazine Bruce Barcott's one-sided, anti-cat screed entitled "Kill the Cat That Kills the Bird?" (See photo above.) In addition to demonizing cats, Barcott's other motive was to glorify his hero, serial cat killer James M. Stevenson, and thus to pave the way for the cold-blooded murders of additional cats.

If The Times and Barcott want to hate cats and to champion the cause of vigilante bird lovers that is certainly within their prerogatives, but to pass off Barcott's outrageous lies and drivel as unbiased journalism is a farce!

Most glaringly, Barcott is a bird lover! He is not only a contributing editor to Outside Magazine, but also has authored at least one book on birds. He furthermore makes mention of Stevenson's offering to assist him in expanding his "life list" of birds that he has sighted.

More astonishingly, the normally tightfisted Times allotted him twelve pages (when printed out) in order to libel cats. By contrast, Kate Murphy's two-page article on November 14th appears to have been the only space that The Times devoted to Stevenson's recent trial in Galveston. (See "Birder Admits Killing Cat, But Was It Animal Cruelty?")

Despite his credentials as a serious birder, Barcott had the chutzpah to make the following declaration: "As a person fond of cats and fascinated by birds, I tracked the issue for years without joining either camp." Unless he is being ironical, that sottise tells one all one ever needs to know not only about his total lack of integrity but also the absence of sound editorial standards at what former Timesman Gay Talese once labeled as the Kingdom and the Power.

After ludicrously passing off himself as an unbiased observer, he then proceeds to round up no fewer than fourteen individuals, organizations, and periodicals to trash cats. His list of sources comprises a rogues' gallery of inveterate cat haters: the National Audubon Society, World Conservation Union, American Bird Conservancy, J. Baird Callicot of the University of North Texas, Holmes Rolston III of Colorado State University, Swiss ecologist Vinzenz Ziswiler, John Coleman of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Stanley Temple of the University of Wisconsin, Fern Duvall of the Hawaii Department of of Land Resources, Jim Cramer of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's New Jersey office, Bob Sallinger of the Portland Audubon Society, Biological Conservation, Journal of Zoology, and Mammal Review.

There is not any point in rehashing the libels of these inveterate cat haters. Suffice it to say that all of these individuals and groups do not believe that cats have any right to live and should accordingly be rounded up and killed. Actually, Barcott and his fellow ailurophobes are more than willing to kill any animal that either gets in their way or that they dislike for whatever reason. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

In order to keep up the pretense of being a halfway honest journalist, Barcott interviewed English biologist Roger Tabor, Portland, Oregon feral cat caretaker Carma Crimins, and John Newland, the San Luis Pass Bridge toll-collector who bravely chased down and apprehended Stevenson. He was, however, far too dishonest and cowardly to interview Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies, Nathan Winograd of No-Kill Solutions, or anyone else in a position to refute the blatant lies of his fellow bird advocates.

During his interview with Newland, Barcott pleads ignorance to the fact that Stevenson has gunned down hundreds of cats over the past decade. "This was the first time I'd heard of Stevenson shooting more than one cat," he declares. (See police mug shot of Stevenson above.)

This inveterate liar and buffoon makes that statement in spite of earlier admitting to having read Cat Defender's post of November 22, 2006 entitled "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats." Clearly, honesty and anything remotely resembling sound journalistic practice are nonexistent when The Times is hard pressed to string together consecutive thoughts without contradicting itself.

Newland offered Barcott photographs of some of the cats that Stevenson murdered and even pointed out to him some lingering bloodstains, but the writer was not about to allow the world to view that damning evidence. Instead the fabulists at The Times turned to mercenary Brooklyn artist Jillian Tamaki to illustrate Barcott's anti-cat screed with two drawings of cats stalking birds. (See photo below of Tamaki.)

The hiring of these two reprobates proves conclusively that The Times' defamation campaign against cats had been in the works for a long time. Stevenson's victory in court merely provided the scheming Sulzberger Gang with a propitious moment in order to launch its underhanded smear campaign.

The capitalist media are not merely corrupt but once any of them gets their claws into someone or some animal the remainder blindly move in for their share of the spoils like ravenous vultures ripping apart an injured cow. For example, two days before his piece appeared in The Times Barcott was interviewed by Alex Chadwick on National Public Radio (NPR) where he once again repeated the same old lies and defended his buddy Stevenson. (See "Bird-Watcher's Life Threatened Over Dead Cat.")

Tant pis, NPR did not cover Stevenson's trial and Chadwick even admitted to being totally ignorant about the ongoing conflict between cat lovers and birders. Nonetheless, this did not deter NPR from swallowing Barcott's lies hook, line, and sinker. In spite of the billions of dollars, both corporate and welfare, available to it, it is a sad commentary upon NPR that the best it is capable of doing is parroting the lies of the thoroughly discredited Times.

Barcott's disdain for cats is also evident in his gross ignorance of them. Most notably, he incorrectly asserts that domestic cats are descended from African wildcats (Felis silvestris cafra) and that they were first domesticated in Egypt several thousand years ago.

As it is now known, all domestic cats came from the Near East and are descended from Felis silvestris lybica. More importantly, their domestication dates back at least ninety-five-hundred-years ago to Cyprus. (See Cat Defender post of December 5, 2007 entitled "Decoding the Feline Genome Provides Vivisectors with Thousands of New Excuses to Continue Torturing Cats in the Course of Their Bogus Research.")

These are, admittedly, minor points but they do highlight a disturbing tendency on the part of reporters and editors at The Times to run roughshod over the facts and, at times, to even incorrectly misspell the names of the protagonists in their news stories.

This sort of persistently slipshod work certainly does not inspire confidence and is one indication of far more serious credibility issues. Apparently with The Times a rough approximation of the truth is sufficient. Besides, the reporters and editors are most likely too busy counting their shekels and stroking their egos to ever engage in any serious toil.

Nonetheless, since his arrest in November of 2006 Stevenson has not only become a hero to cat haters all over the world but a darling of the thoroughly reprehensible capitalist media. (See Cat Defender posts of November 20, 2007 and May 1, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats" and "Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson.")

This unrepentant monster has murdered hundreds of cats and will surely kill again. The authorities in Texas may look the other way or he may be too slick to get caught for a second time, but killing cats is still at the top of his agenda. In fact, The New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, The Galveston County Daily News, NPR, and his many supporters within the moneybags media are only encouraging him to do so by portraying him as a hero.

In addition to being a cat hater, Stevenson also is a shekel chaser. Although Barcott informs his readers that Stevenson makes money off of conducting bird-watching tours, he neglects to mention that he also operates a profitable bed and breakfast. Stevenson may very well, as Barcott insists, possess a certain affinity for birds but they are also his gravy train.

The phony-baloney National Audubon Society also professes to having an abiding love for birds and yet for more than fifty years it drilled for natural gas and oil in the Paul J. Rainey Sanctuary. It reaped $25 million in the process and was only forced to cease drilling in this avian habitat after it was accused of hypocrisy for opposing oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Despite what birders and wildlife proponents claim, ecotourism, including bird-watching tours, is largely a fraud. It leads to the destruction of habitats, the introduction of germs and new species into environmentally sensitive ecological niches, and irretrievably alters the dynamic that exists between wild animals and humans. (See Cat Defender post of March 20, 2006 entitled "Luna, the Killer Whale Who Loved People, Is Killed by Tugboat Off of Vancouver Island.")

By invading their habitats en masse and spewing pollution, birders could very well be responsible for killing far more birds than cats. More to the point, birds should be allowed to exist for themselves as opposed to being used in order to put shekels in Stevenson's and Barcott's pockets.

Valmik Thapar's assessment of what is needed in order to save India's Bengal Tigers applies also to bird conservation. "If you are not going to set aside habitats where there are no humans you cannot have tigers," he told The Independent on November 2nd. (See "The Face of a Doomed Species.")

Nevertheless, no one should hold his or her breath waiting for either birders or wildlife proponents to fund a study on this matter. Their only raisons d'etre are to defame and kill cats.

As for The New York Times, it always has been sorely lacking in both integrity and fairness. It was after all the blatant lies of Judith Miller and Michael Gordon that helped to grease the skids for America's disastrous misadventures in Iraq. Miller got canned but Gordon is still gainfully employed at The Times and pimping for the United States to invade Iran.

In addition to the celebrated Jayson Blair and Rick Bragg scandals, The Times also has been guilty of the propagation of blatant racism. For example, during the 1980s it attacked the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in language that was unmistakably racist. On July 21, 2002, it labeled Chinese casino bus riders as bums while simultaneously completely ignoring the petit fait that Russian immigrants are guilty of doing the same thing. (See "Atlantic City's Lowest Rollers: Thrifty Older Immigrants.")

If The Times is going to make a habit of labeling the poor as bums, it should be equally willing to apply the same appellation to big business, the defense establishment, Israel, millionaire farmers, and other wealthy groups that regularly rack up down at the welfare office.

In recent years, The Times has employed an ombudsman in an effort allegedly designed to improve the fairness of its reporting but this initiative has devolved into a cheap public relations stunt that has done little to enhance the paper's credibility. For example, when representatives of If Americans Knew asked former ombudsman Daniel Okrent to assign a reporter to cover the Palestinians' side of the ongoing Middle East conflict they were rebuffed.

"You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me," Joe Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness. "There is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies -- which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world -- what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do." Quite obviously, The Times does not share Conrad's disdain for the dissemination of lies.

In his 2002 work entitled Scotty: James B. Reston and the Rise and Fall of American Journalism, author John F. Stacks wrote that Reston was everything that a good journalist should not have been. (See photo above.) As Barcott's scurrilous piece of writing and Tamaki's defamatory drawings conclusively demonstrate, that assessment now more than ever applies in spades to The New York Times.

Photos: Outside Magazine (Barcott), Galveston Police Department (Stevenson), Publishers Weekly (Tamaki), and Slate (Reston).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Decoding the Feline Genome Provides Vivisectors with Thousands of New Excuses to Continue Torturing Cats in the Course of Their Bogus Research

"I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity without looking further."
-- Mark Twain

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland proudly announced on October 31st that they had deciphered sixty-five per cent of the genetic code of domestic cats (Felis catus). The remainder of the sequencing is expected to be completed sometime next year. (See graphic above.)

Cats now have the unenviable distinction of joining dogs, chimpanzees, macaques, cows, mice, rats, and humans in having the most intimate secrets of their very existence laid bare for the godless and thoroughly immoral scientific community to manipulate at will. If there is any truth in the old adage that misery loves company, these mammals will soon be joined by elephants, armadillos, rabbits, hedgehogs, shrews, guinea pigs, bats, squirrels, bushbabies, horses, pikas, lemurs, hyraxes, tarsiers, kangaroo rats, Chinese pangolins, sloths, alpacas, and wallabies, all of which are slated to have their genetic secrets unraveled in the next few years in a project spearheaded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

In order to get the goods on cats, scientists used a rather crude and imprecise shotgun methodology whereby DNA was forcibly extracted from a cat, chopped into pieces, sequenced, and then pieced back together. The DNA was then compared and cross-referenced with that previously confiscated from other mammals. The results of this ongoing three-year project, which to date has cost the taxpayers $2.4 million, are published in 17 Genome Research 1675-1689 (2007) under the title "Initial Sequence and Comparative Analysis of the Cat Genome."

As per usual, this breakthrough is being heralded by the scientists and their stooges within the capitalist media as a momentous development that will potentially lead to cures for countless diseases afflicting mankind. In particular, scientists are asserting that with possession of the genetic blueprint of cats they now will be able to find cures for AIDS and a degenerative eye disorder known as retinitis pigmentosa.

"The reason why the cat genome is cool go on for about an hour," Stephen O'Brien of NCI told Reuters on November 1st. (See "Cat's Eye View of DNA Sheds Light on Human Disease.")

Cats are prone to at least two-hundred-fifty hereditary disorders and some of them bear similarities to known human diseases. Therefore, O'Brien told the Daily Telegraph a day earlier on October 31st that scientists plan to experiment on cats in order to study, inter alia, rotavirus, poxvirus, herpes, Q-fever, chlamydiosis, diabetes, hemophilia, lupus, and anthrax. (See "Cinnamon the Cat Could Offer Hope to the Blind.")

Actually, vivisectors have been using most of these diseases as well as others as convenient excuses for torturing and slaughtering cats for hundreds of years. Decoding the feline genome simply provides them with additional rationales in order to mutilate more cats.

For example, Danielle Gunn-Moore of the University of Edinburgh announced last December that she had discovered a protein in the brains of elderly cats known as Beta-Amyloide that is also found in the brains of sufferers of Alzheimer's. (See Cat Defender post of December 12, 2006 entitled "Breakthrough in Feline Dementia Research May Actually End Up Killing More Cats Than It Saves.")

In order to arrive at this finding, she sliced up the brains of nineteen cats. She and other vivisectors are no doubt plowing ahead on this front by carving up cats right and left.

Reggie Edgerton of UCLA, Serge Rossignol of the University of Montreal and others have been severing the spinal cords of thousands of cats for years in a thoroughly discredited attempt to find a cure to catastrophic back injuries. Some of Edgerton's research was underwritten by Superman, i.e., Christopher Reeve. (See The New York Times, September 21, 1999, "No Dullard, Spinal Cord Proves It Can Learn.")

In recent years, scientists in both South Korea and Spain have cured spinal cord injuries through stem cell transplants. Physical therapy and new drugs also have shown potential. Despite all of this, vivisectors continue to break the backs of cats with impunity.

Contrary to the blatant lies of the scientific community, knowledge gained from animal research is seldom applicable to humans. Moreover, it quite often kills far more people, not to mention animals, than in ever saves.

Although the blunders of vivisectors are far too numerous to list in their entirety, a brief review of a few of their most colossal faux pas will suffice to prove the point. Most notably, the development of penicillin was delayed for ten years because of bogus testing conducted on rabbits and the invention of a polio vaccine was retarded for twenty-five years because of misleading testing performed on rhesus monkeys.

Anti-smoking campaigns were postponed for decades because vivisectors were unable to induce lung cancer in lab animals and AIDS research was retarded for four years because protease inhibitors tested on rats and dogs proved to be fatal. Hormone replacement therapy, which increases a woman's risk of developing heart disease and strokes, showed just the opposite when tested on monkeys.

The vivisectors' track record on drugs is not much better. The sedative Thalidomide, the arthritis drug Opren, and the heart drug Eraldin all tested safe on laboratory animals but when introduced to the public they killed thousands. In more recent times, Vioxx, another arthritis drug, is estimated to have claimed the lives of sixty-thousand people.

Moreover, strychnine is safe for monkeys, belladonna is harmless for rabbits, cats are resistant to anthrax, and arsenic is regularly fed to chickens in order to jump-start growth, but all four substances are lethal for humans. On the opposite side of the coin, Fluroxine, a form of ether, is deadly for cats, dogs, and rats but safe as an anesthetic for humans.

In addition to the scientific community's phony-baloney research, a closer examination of the propaganda disseminated by NCI and the moneybags media reveals a litany of far more sinister motivations behind the decoding of the cat genome. First of all, they desire to know more about the evolutionary history of cats and all other animals in order that they can genetically manipulate them to suit their own evil designs.

"We can start to interpret them (cats) in terms of one of evolution's special creations, which is also one of the greatest predators that ever lived," O'Brien bellowed for Reuters in the article cited supra. "The order of genes in (a) cat is remarkably similar to the order of genes in the ancestor of all placental mammals." By that oblique statement he is referring to a tiny, shrewlike animal that is believed to have been the progenitor of all mammals.

If scientific research was merely undertaken for either benign or heuristic reasons it would be far less objectionable, but this has seldom been the case. With the exception of a few philosophers, the pursuit of knowledge always has been intricately linked to the will to dominate. Ultimately, the power to kill is inherent in knowing or, as the Book of Genesis teaches, knowledge is knowledge of evil.

This is made abundantly clear when O'Brien let slip that his research was undertaken in part to study feline behavior. "One thing I'd like to discover is (sic) the genes for good behavior in cats -- the genes for domestication, the things that make them not want to kill our children but play with them."

Admissions of that sort recall to mind what Douglas Adams had to say on this subject. "One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work -- supposing you're trying to find out how a cat works -- you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you've got in your hands is a non-working cat. That cat wasn't a sort of clunky mechanism that was susceptible to our available tools of analysis," he wrote in his acclaimed 1979 novel, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

To state the case succinctly, cats, dogs, humans, and other animals will no longer be what they used to be once they have been genetically altered or denatured in some way. The same logic applies to cereals, meat, and plants.

As it is almost always the case with scientific research, the vivisectors needed a victim in order to achieve their goal. In this instance the sacrificial lamb was a four-year-old purebred Abyssinian named Cinnamon. (See photo on the right.)

The shy red-colored cat was specifically chosen for this study because she was so highly inbred that it was possible to trace back her lineage several generations to Sweden. Since there was very little variation in her genetic makeup, this made it considerably easier for scientists at Agencourt Sequencing to decipher her genetic code.

Of course, it goes without saying that since vivisectors torture and kill lab cats with impunity they are certainly not about to be concerned with the detrimental affects that incest has upon the species. The genetic defects engendered by this unnatural process makes it, like vivisection, patently cruel and inhumane regardless of the rationale put forward in support of it.

None of this, however, deterred O'Brien from doing some more crowing for Reuters. "We now, for the first time, have seen in the kind of detail that we never imagined a generation ago all these genes that this cat has as well as the footprints of inbreeding as well as cat domestication."

Tragically, the lot of all laboratory animals is not merely an unhappy one but an affront to all morality. Cinnamon, for example, has spent her entire existence in a cage at the University of Missouri at Columbia and the only times that she is allowed out is when the scientists want to manipulate her in some manner.

Although the treatment of research animals is governed by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), this bogus bit of public relations sophistry mandates only that they be provided with a bare minimum of cheap commercial food and sufficient space in order to turn around in their cages. Every conceivable genre of torture, mutilation, and cruelty are beyond the purview of the act.

Very few lab animals ever make it out alive. "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate," which was posted above the entrance to Dante's Hell, should likewise adorn the outside walls of all animal research laboratories.

To make matters worse, the responsibility for enforcing the minimalist standards of the AWA falls upon the thoroughly discredited officials of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the USDA. These are the same rotters who year after year give their imprimatur to the unspeakable crimes committed on farms and in slaughterhouses.

Of late, they have been targeting Ernest Hemingway's polydactyls in Key West. (See Cat Defender posts of July 23, 2007 and January 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Cat Behaviorist Is Summoned to Key West in Order to Help Determine the Fate of Hemingway's Polydactyls" and "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")

APHIS' former director, W. Ron DeHaven, was recently rewarded for killing and torturing millions of animals by being named executive vice president of the equally loathsome American Veterinary Medical Association. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and May 16, 2006 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators.")

The long and short of the situation is that lab animals are completely at the mercy of vivisectors. They do not have any rights and, worst still, the masses are either ignorant of what is occurring on college campuses and in governmental laboratories or simply do not care. They should be concerned, however, if for no other reason than it is largely their tax dollars which make possible the commission of these despicable crimes.

Vivisectors and their assistants even revel in sadistically slapping around and abusing their research subjects. These systematic abuses have been documented time and time again by both undercover agents and former lab workers but members of Congress, bought off by the vivisectors and foolishly believing that animal research is going to extend their own miserable lives, steadfastly refuse to shutter these torture factories.

Instead, the feds have declared opponents of vivisection to be public enemy number one. (See Cat Defender post of June 9, 2005 entitled "U.S. Declares War on Animal Right Advocates and Environmentalists.") In Angleterre, the crackdown has been even more severe as is evinced by a scurrilous piece of one-sided journalism that appeared in the November 19th edition of Der Spiegel. (See "Resisting the Animal Avengers.")

Since O'Brien and his fellow fiends already had Cinnamon at their mercy, they saw no reason to limit themselves to stealing her DNA so they also either bred or induced her to develop retinitis pigmentosa. She therefore has spent her entire life in darkness as well as in a cage.

The thoroughly dishonest capitalist media is silent as to Cinnamon's health and fate. All that is known about her comes courtesy of the Daily Telegraph which has reported that she and a colony of Abyssinians are cared for by Professor Kristina Narfstrom at the University of Missouri at Columbia. That, however, cannot be taken as proof that she is even still alive.

For her part, Narfstrom fatuously claims that by blinding Cinnamon she has discovered the gene responsible for retinitis pigmentosa, a malady that affects one out of every thirty-five-hundred Americans, and is now attempting to treat the disease by implanting microchips in the eyes of those afflicted. Surely this information could have been obtained through either computer modeling or in vitro experimentation without blinding Cinnamon and God only knows how many other cats.

In addition to being patently cruel, sadistic, and contrary to all morals, vivisection is extremely lucrative. Breeders of lab cats and other animals make out like bandits and the welfare money available to vivisectors runs into the billions of dollars.

Scientists also achieve fame at the expense of the animals that they mutilate while conducting their worthless research. More importantly, animal research generates its own rationale for further abuse and exploitation of the animals. (See Counterpunch, December 4, 2007, "The Shortage Myth. The Lies at the End of the American Dream.")

"In spite of the light coverage capturing sixty-five per cent of euchromatin sequence from the cat genome, these comparative insights shed new light on the tempo and mode of gene-genome evolution in mammals, promise several research applications for the cat, and also illustrate that a comparative approach using more deeply covered mammals provides an informative, preliminary annotation of a light coverage mammal genome sequence," the authors declared in the Genome Research article cited supra.

In other words, countless additional cats and mammals are going to be tortured and killed by O'Brien and his gang. This is only the beginning.

In a May 26, 1899 epistle addressed to the London Anti-Vivisection Society, Mark Twain said all that there is to be said about biomedical research when he wrote: "I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't.

"To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity without looking further."

A few years later Mahatma Gandhi correctly labeled vivisection as "the blackest of all black crimes that man is at present committing against God and his fair creation."

Even the death of one mouse is one fatality too many. It is bad enough that man exploits his fellow denizens of this planets for food, labor, sport, and entertainment without adding vivisection to his litany of crimes against creation.

If scientists truly believe that in vivo experimentation is necessary, they should cut up themselves and their colleagues. As Twain so astutely points out, animal experimentation will never be morally acceptable until the animals voluntarily consent to it and no one has ever seen cats or any other animals lining up outside any vivisector's laboratory in order to be tortured and killed.

The NCI's announcement that it had decoded the feline genome comes on the heels of its earlier report in June of this year that it had successfully traced the genetic roots of all the world's estimated six-hundred-million domestic felines to five matriarchs that lived in the Fertile Crescent roughly ten-thousand-years ago.

Specifically, of the five known subspecies of wild cats (Felis silvestris) all domestic cats are descended from Felis silvestris lybica. The other subspecies are Felis silvestris silvestris of Europe, Felis silvestris ornata of central Asia, Felis silvestris cafra of sub-Saharan Africa, and Felis silvestris bieti of China. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2007 and October 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Chinese Mountain Cats Are Under Assault from Fur Traffickers, Farmers, Global Warming, and Wildlife Officials" and "Constructing Wildlife Corridors May Help to Save Deutschland's Wildcats but Fitting Them with Radio Collars Is Only Going to Lead to Their Demise.")

Felis silvestris is therefore indigenous to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia, but not to North and South America, Japan, and Oceania. (See map above.)

The domestication of Felis silvestris lybica occurred hand and glove with man's transition from nomadic hunters and gatherers to farmers who lived in fixed abodes. The growing of wheat, rye, barley, and other cereals therefore created the need for cats to control the rodent population that was attracted to the newly created stores of valuable grain.

Researchers also believe that cats domesticated themselves rather than having been tamed by humans. "The cats were adapting themselves to a new environment, so the push for domestication came from the cat side, not the human side," Carlos Driscoll of NCI told the International Herald Tribune on June 28th. (See "DNA Helps Trace Five Matriarchs of Six-Hundred-Million House Cats.")

This research also solves the riddle of why the other four subspecies of wild cats were never domesticated. "When that technology (farming) was transferred to other cultures, so were the cats," Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA told the Washington Post on June 29th. (See "Why Do Cats Hang Around Us? Hint: They Can't Open Cans.") "Why reinvent the wheel?"

The domestication of cats accordingly stands in stark contrast to the taming of cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and water buffaloes which were independently domesticated at least twice. Wild horses, on the other hand, have been independently domesticated many times.

Prior evidence of the domestication of cats was pretty much limited to depictions of them contained in Egyptian works of art that dated back to around 2000 B.C. In 2004, however, French archaeologists unearthed a nine-thousand-five-hundred-year-old burial site in Shillourokambos, Cyprus that contained both the remains of cats and humans. Since the archaeological record is devoid of any evidence of wild cats being indigenous to Cyprus, it is believed that the Turks brought them along with them when they settled on the island.

In order to ascertain all of that, the researchers spent six years trapping nine-hundred-seventy-nine cats from all around the world. Included in that total were wild cats, domestic moggies, ferals, and purebreds. Blood samples and biopsies were then taken and analyzed. In the case of Felis silvestris lybica, fifteen cats were trapped in remote areas of Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Because of the ongoing fighting, the wild cats of Iraq were left undisturbed. They, however, have their own problems. (See Cat Defender post of November 14, 2006 entitled "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World.")

As was the case with Cinnamon, the fate of these cats is unknown. The researchers could have killed them, released them, or even could be still holding them for additional experimentation.

Specifically, the researchers examined both the cats' nuclear DNA, which they receive from both parents and contains just about all of their genes, and their mitochondrial DNA which contains only a few genes and is passed down through their mothers. Prior research had been handicapped because of not only a scarcity of archaeological records, but also due to the fact that the skeletal remains of domestic and wild cats are difficult to differentiate.

In addition to alleging that this research will aid medical researchers in their quest to find cures to various diseases, Driscoll and his team ludicrously claim that it will be of assistance to conservationists in their attempt to save wild cats all over the wild. (See Cat Defender posts of June 25, 2007 and November 27, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Scottish Wildcat Born in Captivity May Hold the Key to Saving Critically Endangered Species from Extinction" and "After Surviving on Its Own for at Least Two Million Years, Rare Japanese Wildcat Faces Toughest Battle Yet.")

With developers, hunters, and polluters pushing the wild cats ever closer to extinction and the scientific community exploiting them for its own designs, it is going to be extremely difficult for any of them to survive for very much longer.

Precious little good is destined to be derived from mapping the DNA of either the animals or man. Rather, it opens up a million avenues for mischief and domination. Perhaps more importantly, inherent in the ability to manipulate the blueprint for life on earth is the power to destroy all such life either purposefully or through the vainglorious pursuit of power and fame.

Moreover, genetic manipulation and electronic surveillance provide a powerful one-two punch for those individuals and groups who desire to bend all of creation to their will. (See Cat Defender post of May 4, 2006 entitled, "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")

History, philosophy, and bon sens warn against both genetic manipulation and the concentration of too much power in too few hands. Doubters should at least acquaint themselves with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discours sur les sciences et arts and Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inegalite parmi les hommes before hopping on board the scientific express championed by Descartes, Bacon, Skinner, and their progeny.

Photos: NCI (feline genome chart), Kristina Narfstrom of the University of Missouri at Columbia (Cinnamon), and New Scientist (map).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Grieving Widow Risks Her Life in Order to Save Cosmo from the Jaws of a Hungry Coyote in Thousand Oaks

Cosmo Was Placed in  an Elizabethan Collar after the Attack

"The feelings I had at the time ran so deep. My husband had died just a few days before, and I just couldn't watch that kitty die."
-- Jennifer Foster
The twists, turns, and nuances of what is called the cycle of life, death, and rebirth continue to astound.

Jennifer Foster of Thousand Oaks, California lost her fifty-eight-year-old husband, Wheeler, to a freak accident in the parking lot of a Ventura restaurant in early November. Still in mourning, she was on her way home from, ironically, another eatery on November 15th when she spied a coyote with a cat in its mouth.

With little or no thought as to her own safety, she ordered her son to stop the car and promptly jumped out even while the vehicle was still in motion. She then chucked off her shoes and took out after the coyote.

"Drop it! Drop it!" she yelled at the animal as she simultaneously clapped her hands. So intent was she upon saving the cat that she failed to notice that there was another coyote right behind her.

"The feelings I had at the time ran so deep. My husband had died just a few days before and I just couldn't watch that kitty die," Foster later told the Thousand Oaks Acorn on November 29th. (See "Neighbor Saves Cat from Teeth of Coyote.")

Because the black cat weighed a whopping seventeen-pounds, the coyote was unable to make its getaway while toting such a heavy load and as the result it dropped the moggy. Foster and her son then retrieved the cat and took it to a veterinarian.

The cat, known as Cosmo, was having difficulty breathing as the result of puncture wounds to its lungs and neck. She required three-days of hospitalization that included emergency surgery, X-rays, and blood work but is expected to recover.

After leaving the vet's office, another surprise awaited Foster when she returned home. Upon arrival she discovered her neighbors, Jackie York and Bob Gerace, scouring the community with flashlights for their cat that had gone AWOL. Informed by Foster of what she had seen and done, York and Gerace realized to their horror that the cat she had saved was their beloved ten-year-old Cosmo.

"Cosmo is our baby. Our cats are our children. They are warm, affectionate and need us," York told the Acorn. "I would've been devastated if she hadn't saved Cosmo. There are no words to describe how much you love your cats."

That is all true enough, but predation of both house and feral cats by coyotes and fishers has become a very big problem. (See Cat Defender posts of August 28, 2007 and July 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers" and "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers.")

Although Cosmo is described as an indoor cat, it is not known if she has been declawed and sterilized. If her weight is anything to go by, she may have been spayed.

Cats in general do not stand much of a chance when pitted against coyotes, fishers, and raccoons, but declawed cats do not have any hope of survival at all. Cats should not be allowed outside unsupervised in areas where these predators are known to exist and this is doubly true for those that are obese and have been declawed.

The veterinarian charged York and Gerace the outrageous sum of $5,000 for patching up Cosmo. Even more outrageous, emergency treatment was withheld until Foster magnanimously agreed to be responsible for the bill. To her credit, she had initially thought that the cat was feral and therefore had no expectation of ever being reimbursed.

Something drastically needs to be done not only to stop veterinarians from gouging animal lovers but also to compel them to provide free emergency care for all homeless animals as well as the pets of the indigent. (See Cat Defender post of September 25, 2007 entitled "Acid Attack Leaves Solskjaer with Severe Injuries and Horrific Pain as His Heartbroken and Cash-Strapped Family Struggles to Cope.")

Being made of money should not be a prerequisite for either humans or animals to receive the medical attention that they need and deserve. Something is terribly wrong with any society that purposefully withholds medical coverage, food, housing, and basic fundamental rights from both its citizens and animals.

As for Jennifer, she is a real-life hero! Her spouse was cruelly and inexplicably taken from her but Cosmo is alive today because of her valor and generosity. Like the seasons of the year, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth goes on; sometimes there is a clearly defined objective while at other times the meaning of it all is as black as night.

Photo: Bob Gerace.