Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen
"Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty."
-- William Ralph Inge
Colin's, Port Taranaki's famous seafaring feline, was killed off earlier this month by Superintendent Gordon MacPherson after her health had taken a turn for the worst. (See photo above.)
The seventeen-year-old tortoiseshell, who had lost some weight and was not eating very much, appears to otherwise have been in relatively good health. To his credit, MacPherson did place her under the care of a local veterinarian for a week prior to administering the coup d'grace.
"It got to the stage where she had lost a lot of muscle mass, she was very thin. So the decision was made this morning that it would be best for her if she was put to sleep," MacPherson told the Taranaki Daily News on May 15th. (See "Farewell to New Plymouth's Famous Traveling Cat.")
The feline's decline was rather precipitate in that up until recently she was still giving the bum's rush to cats, sea gulls, and other animals who ventured onto the grounds of the sprawling marine terminal. Her body most likely will be cremated and plans are being made for some type of memorial to honor her memory.
"It was a bit emotional," MacPherson said about killing off Colin's. "She had been a good companion here for us."
The cat arrived at the terminal, located in the town of New Plymouth on New Zealand's north island, as a kitten where she was adopted by employee Colin Butler. Even though he is no longer with the terminal, the cat was known to her death as Colin's cat.
She made headlines around the world back in 2001 when she unwittingly became involved in one of those improbable misadventures at sea that seem to sometimes befall cats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 17, 2007 and December 9, 2005 entitled, respectively, "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China" and "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")
The celebrated affair began when she was either willingly or unwillingly taken aboard the South Korean methanol tanker Tomiwaka by a crew member. For whatever it is worth, the sailor claimed at the time that both he and Colin's had fallen asleep in his cabin and were therefore unaware that the tanker was about to weigh anchor.
In any event, as soon as her disappearance was discovered the terminal set about trying to get her returned. She originally was scheduled to have been transferred at sea to another tanker heading to Taranaki but that plan was eventually jettisoned as being too dangerous.
Finally, cat food manufacturer Whiskas intervened by offering to pay for a rescue mission and MacPherson flew to the South Korean port of Yeosu and collected Colin's. (See photo below of the happy duo arriving back home.)
Upon her return, she received a hero's welcome. She was named an honorary ambassador for the district of New Plymouth by Mayor Peter Tennent as well as an honorary member of the local cat club. Plaques commemorating her exploits now adorn the walls of the terminal's kitchen and she is still featured prominently on the terminal's web site.
Being an adherent of the old adage that once an individual saves a life he or she is thereafter responsible for it, Whiskas did not abandon Colin's but instead generously supplied her with cat food and paid for her visits to the vet. She was not excessively old for a cat and very well may have recovered and gone on to live for many more years had MacPherson been willing to have provided her with the medical care that she so desperately needed and so richly deserved.
He lends a certain amount of credence to this interpretation of events by his declaration that he does not intend to get another cat. "We've thought about it for a while ... there won't be a replacement," he told the Taranaki Daily News. "A cat takes quite a bit or looking after, it's not for everyone and I won't be here forever."
That fatuous statement is only partially true. Cats require extensive care and significant monetary outlays only when they either get sick or very old. Otherwise, they pretty much can take care of themselves.
More to the point, since cats live such terribly brief lives, their sojourns on this earth should not be curtailed under any circumstances. Nonetheless, MacPherson's callous, murderous, and ungrateful attitude is the norm amongst many cat lovers.
For instance, last November the library in Spencer, Iowa killed off its world famous feline, Dewey Readmore Books. (See Cat Defender posts of December 7, 2006 and May 10, 2007 entitled, respectively, "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books" and "Iowa Librarian Vicki Myron Inks Million Dollar Deal for Memoir About Dewey Readmore Books.")
Earlier last year, the writers and editors of the New Caledonian Record in St. Johnsbury, Vermont likewise prematurely killed off their cat, Tripod. (See Cat Defender post of February 9, 2006 entitled "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")
Despite MacPherson's unconscionable decision to finish off Colin's, it is nevertheless encouraging to see that someone in New Zealand at least cares a little bit about cats. On the whole, New Zealand's treatment of felines is every bit as reprehensible as that of their Australian cousins to the north.
Like the British and Australian presses, the New Zealand news media are replete with stories of unspeakable acts of cruelty directed against cats. For instance, in 2005 two teens from the Auckland suburb of Huntly burned to death three caged cats. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2005 entitled "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death.")
For at least the past three decades, the Department of Conservation has used the deadly poison 1080 to kill untold numbers of both domestic and feral cats as well as dogs, pigs, deer, stoats, rats, and possums. (See Yahoo News for May 25, 2007, "1080 Vital in Protecting NZ's Bush, Birds.")
At Lincoln University outside Christchurch, Dr. Sean Ogilvie is working with a pest control company called Connovation in order to develop a so-called smart bait that will allow New Zealanders to poison cats with cyanide. (See Newswire.co.nz, March 8, 2007, "HortResearch Trial Smells for Pest Control.")
As usual, bird lovers and wildlife proponents are the prime movers behind these feline exterminations. They have also succeeded in having cats banned from subdivisions in Golden and Kaiuma bays on the south island. Now, the developer of a multimillion dollar community in Stringer Valley, southeast of Mapua and also on the south island, wants to ban both them and dogs. (See The Nelson Mail, April 20, 2007, "Pets in Dogbox for New Subdivision.")
In New Zealanders' twisted minds, it is perfectly justifiable to turn over large tracts of ecologically sensitive land to developers to destroy just as long as cats are declared to be personae non gratae.
On the south island's Kaikoura Peninsula, at least thirty-one cats have been trapped and shot during the past two years because they were allegedly preying upon Hutton's shearwaters. Worst still, New Zealand officials have vowed not to rest until all feral cats living in the area are exterminated. (See Marlborough Express, April 25, 2007, "Cats Kill Shearwaters.")
The English jailbirds who stole both New Zealand and Australia from their indigenous populations also forcibly brought cats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, camels, and dozens of other animals with them in order to assist them in their conquest. Now that they no longer needed, the colonialists are vilifying and slaughtering them en masse.
Even their concern for birds and wildlife is bogus in that they do not have any genuine appreciation of either of them. They are instead motivated by the lust for money and right now there is plenty of it to be made from tourists willing to pay dearly for a glimpse of exotic birds and wildlife.
Excess domestic animals, however, no longer have any monetary value to the Aussies and the Kiwis and that is why they have begun systematically exterminating them. Humane solutions are available, but they are far too cheap and morally deprived to pursue them.
As William Ralph Inge once said, "Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty."
Photos: Taranaki Daily News.