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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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Collars Turn into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour

"There was no way we were going to let this cat die with a collar around its neck like that."
-- Tammy Coleman of Fayette Friends of Animals

There are not any foolproof methods of safeguarding cats from either getting lost or being preyed upon by cat-haters. Even usually reliable collars can be quickly transformed into death snares if they are either used improperly or neglected for long periods of time.

Kittens, as everyone knows, grow into cats just as infants grow into adults. Likewise, just as a pair of baby shoes would be totally unsuitable for an adult, a collar wound tightly around the neck of a kitten would need to be loosed as the cat matures.

Despite the simplicity of that equation, it apparently was beyond the intellectual grasp of an unidentified elderly woman in Uniontown, Pennsylvania who fastened a collar around the neck of a female tuxedo kitten and never bothered to loosen it as she grew into an adult. Predictably, the collar became embedded in the skin and infected the helpless cat's neck.

That was the disturbing sight that greeted local animal shelter workers on March 26th when they went to remove an unspecified number of cats from the woman's residence on Derrick Avenue. Since the authorities and media are silent on the issue, it does not appear that the woman has been charged with either animal cruelty or hoarding.

With the local shelter being too cheap to provide the cat with the emergency surgery that it so desperately needed, she was fobbed off onto Fayette Friends of Animals in nearby Menallen who arranged for Tanya Fronczek of Rolling Hills Veterinary Clinic in Smock to surgically remove the collar. The cat, dubbed Trooper because of her fighting spirit, has since made a complete recovery and now has a new home. (See photo above.)

"There was no way we were going to let this cat die with a collar around its neck like that," Tammy Coleman of Fayette told The Herald Standard of Uniontown on March 28th. (See "Cat Recovering after Undergoing 'Collar' Surgery.") "She's a happy little cat, purring and being all sweet and lovable."

Last December, a brown-colored stray named Que from Queens, Nova Scotia found himself in even direr straits than little Trooper. In an effort to get out of his collar, his right front paw became so entangled in the device and it lodged in an upright position at the side of his head. This not only forced him to hobble around on three legs but the collar subsequently grew into his "armpit."

Fortunately for him, he eventually wended his way to the barn of a conscientious farmer in the Western Head section of the municipality who immediately contacted Doris Taylor of the Queens SPCA. By that time, however, his "armpit" had become infected and he smelled to high heaven as a consequence of the rotting flesh.

Following a series of successful operations, seventy stitches, and an assortment of antibiotics, Que is said to be "living the good life" and "spoiled to the hilt." (See photo below.)

From the extent of his injuries, Taylor estimates that Que's paw had been ensnared in his collar for at least six or seven months before he was rescued. Although she has been fostering the cat at her house while he recovered, she is now hoping to find him a good home.

"This little guy is really something," she told The Chronicle Herald of Halifax on January 29th. (See "Que, the Wonder Cat, Needs a Loving Home.") "He's had a long, hard road, but he's just the nicest cat."

Working as a volunteer constable with the SPCA is an emotional roller coaster but being able to help cats like Que makes it all worthwhile for Taylor. "There are so many bad times that I go through, and then something always happens and turns it around and you say: this is why I'm here. And Que, he's the one who makes the difference," she told The Chronicle Herald in the article cited supra.

There are several important lessons to be learned from the hellish experiences of Trooper and Que. First of all, collars should be checked every few days or so in order to make sure not only that they are functioning properly but also that they are not irritating the skin on a cat's neck. They also should be removed periodically and the fur underneath and around them examined and brushed.

Quite obviously, any person who would be so derelict in her duties as to place a kitten in a collar and then neglect to adjust it does not have any business owning a cat in the first place. Moreover, individuals who cruelly insist upon abandoning cats should at least have the bon sens to remove their collars beforehand so as to avoid a repeat performance of what Que was forced to endure.

Breakaway collars are another option but their efficacy in reuniting lost cats with their owners is severely compromised by their design.

Despite the travails of Trooper and Que, which were precipitated by their owners' gross negligence, there is much to be said in favor of collars. Unlike microchips, they are noninvasive devices that do save lives. (See Cat Defender post of August 30, 2006 entitled "Collar Saves a Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths.")

On the negative side, they can come off by themselves or be removed by their wearers, thieves, vivisectors, fur traffickers, and ailurophobes of all genre. Wound too tightly, they also can throttle cats. (See Cat Defender post of January 13, 2006 entitled "Montana Firefighters Rescue 'Lucky' Calico Cat Who Was Caged and Purposefully Thrown into an Icy River.")

In Scotland, parliamentarians are considering outlawing the sale of a different feline nemesis: collars that deliver volts of electricity to the neck. Considered to be cruel and inhumane by both the British Veterinary Association and the Scottish SPCA, individuals who train police dogs voluntarily stopped using the devices in 2000.

Collars which deliver bursts of water and ultrasonic sounds apparently will not be affected by this legislation. (See BBC, September 7, 2007, "Electric Shock Collar Ban Plans.")

As popular as they may be, implanted microchips are even more problematical. Like collars, they offer absolutely no protection against either accidents or the evil deeds of cat-haters. More importantly, they must be read by scanners which are for the most part available only at shelters. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006 and June 12, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats" and "Given Up for Dead, Sneakers Is Reunited with His Owner After Having Gone AWOL Ten Years Ago.")

Even shelters equipped with scanners do not always do a thorough job of looking for chips. This is because the devices have a tendency to move around once implanted and therefore are not always easy to locate. The fact that shelters are au fond primarily glorified slaughterhouses no doubt also figures into the equation.

Some shelters also have a policy of only scanning for microchips at the last minute before they administer lethal doses of sodium pentobarbital. At the SPCA's facility in Lakeland, Florida, par exemple, cats are anesthetized with Ketamine, their cages covered, and their death warrants signed long before they even are scanned for microchips. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2006 entitled "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

It seems quite clear that shelters would scan all animals immediately upon arrival if saving lives by reuniting them with their aggrieved owners was a top priority. The fact that they are not is prima facie evidence that most shelters are pursuing an altogether different agenda.

They also are grossly incompetent. Earlier this month, Jacquelyn Bruno of Mobile, Alabama tragically discovered firsthand just how flawed the entire microchip process is when the local animal shelter mistakenly killed her cat, Hello.

Although the shelter is required by law to hold all impounded animals for five business days before killing them, Hello lasted less than sixty-minutes in the hands of the knackers. Moreover, it is not clear from press reports if the shelter even scanned the unfortunate cat.

"What they're doing is just scary to me," Bruno later confessed to Fox-10 of Mobile on May 14th. (See "Cat's Microchip Didn't Save It from Being Euthanized.")

Rubbing salt on the wound, the shelter turned around and gave Bruno a new microchipped cat but the chip fell out of the animal soon after it was adopted!

The reason that the butchers got their hands on Hello in the first place is, sadly, an all-too-familiar one. Falsely claiming to be the cat's rightful owner, an unidentified cat-hating neighbor of Bruno's trapped and surrendered the cat to the shelter with the explicit purpose of having it killed. (See Cat Defender posts of March 9, 2007 and June 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules" and "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated.")

Perhaps even more important than their limitations, research has recently surfaced which shows that there are serious health concerns associated with implanted microchips. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2007 entitled "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")

In spite of this ominous development, Pet Place last week wholeheartedly endorsed the microchipping of cats. (See "The Irreverent Vet Speaks Out on 'Do Microchips Cause Cancer in Cats?'") That disgraceful sort of shekel chasing is akin to MDs hustling flu shots even though there is precious little evidence to support their efficacy.

Moreover, the dissemination of bogus veterinary advice is extremely profitable. For instance, millions of cats and dogs have been microchipped worldwide and veterinarians also make out like bandits by administering worthless and often harmful inoculations that sometimes result in Vaccine Associated Sarcomas (VAS).

Confronted with the obvious limitations presented by both collars and microchips some cat owners are electing to imprison their companions indoors. Despite being patently cruel and inhumane, such a policy also is detrimental to their health and well-being. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")

The ideal solution would be to live in a neighborhood that is free of all feline predators, both human and animal. That would allow cats not only to have their liberty but also to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air as well.

If that is not feasible, a fenced-in yard is the next best alternative. It is not cheap but specially designed cat fencing is now available and electrical wiring can be installed on the other side in order to keep out such voracious feline predators as fishers, coyotes, and raccoons.

Some individuals even have reported success in training their cats to walk on leashes and to come when called.

Photos: The Herald Standard (Trooper) and Renee Stevens of The Chronicle Herald (Que).