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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

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kiki Is Healthy Again but in Legal Limbo as Her Rescuer, Firefighter Al Machado, Basks in the Glory of His Heroics

"It (Kiki) really needed air and it couldn't wait."
-- Al Machado

Kiki, the three-year-old tiger Angora who was saved by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation administered by New Bedford, Massachusetts firefighter Al Machado on September 9th, has made a full recovery and is ready to go home. (See photo on the right of her and her savior.)

Since her legal guardians, forty-three-year-old Warren Niles and forty-four-year-old Joan T. Ferreira, have been charged with the arson that nearly claimed her life, she unfortunately does not have anywhere to go.

At last report, she was being attended to by veterinarian Nicholas Dagenais at the New England Animal Hospital in nearby Fairhaven but it is unlikely that she will be able to remain there must longer. Putting her up for either adoption or placing her in foster care are distinct possibilities but the viability of either option depends upon the wishes of her owners who have not publicly commented on her future.

Since their other two cats perished in the blaze, returning Kiki to them before the charges against them have been adjudicated would be irresponsible. Having rejected a request from the local prosecutor that they be held on a $25,000 bond, District Court Judge Robert Baylor has released the defendants on their own recognizance provided that they report to a probation officer three times a week and undergo psychiatric evaluations.

In addition to Kiki, firefighters were able to save three other cats, four dogs, a chinchilla, a ferret, and several frogs. No individuals were injured in the blaze.

The building suffered an undetermined amount of fire, smoke, and water damage to all three floors and it is unclear from press reports if the tenants have been allowed to return home. It could very well be that Kiki no longer has a home to return to even if the courts were inclined to return her to Niles and Ferreira.

Investigators allege that the duo torched a pile of unspecified materials in their bedroom in order to cash in on a renter's insurance policy. Niles also is suspected of setting fire to a doormat on September 8th. That blaze was extinguished before it could do any damage and that presumably led to the September 9th conflagration.

The prosecution's claim that the couple are firebugs is buttressed by the fact that they have put in three previous insurance claims for burned vehicles. Their shyster, Michael Prevost, strenuously denies that they either torched their pad or that they even have a renter's insurance policy.

While Kiki's life has been put on hold pending resolution of her guardianship, Machado has become an international celebrity pursued by the likes of The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Inside Edition, Animal Planet, and People Magazine.

"I'm kinda thrown back," he admitted to The Standard Times of New Bedford on September 12th. (See "Firefighter Perplexed by Media Spotlight from Cat Rescue.") "Firefighters save people all the time and don't get this kind of credit for it."

Like all true heroes, he is far too modest. Although details of Kiki's rescue are somewhat contradictory, it is known that Machado administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to her on at least two separate occasions. During the interim, paramedics gave her oxygen via a specially-designed pet oxygen mask that a number of fire departments recently have added to their arsenal of life-saving devices. (See photo below of an unidentified cat receiving oxygen.)

When asked by the press to describe what it tasted like to give mouth-to-mouth to a cat, Machado replied succinctly, "Like fur." As to why he did it, he added, "It (Kiki) really needed air and it couldn't wait."

The New Bedford Fire Department and others around the world that have purchased pet oxygen masks and provided their members with the go ahead to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to cats and other animals are to be commended for doing so. These are wonderful advancements in animal welfare that should be applauded by all.

It is a pity, however, that most fire departments in America still steadfastly refuse to rescue cats stranded in trees, on electrical lines, and on other high places. (See Cat Defender posts of March 20, 2008 and February 20, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bone-Lazy, Mendacious Firefighters Are Costing the Lives of Both Cats and Humans by Refusing to Do Their Duty" and "Stray Cat Ignominiously Named Stinky Is Rescued from Rooftop by Good Samaritans After Fire Department Refuses to Help.")

Rescuing cats should not be limited to an afterthought whenever human lives and property are imperiled. Individuals have died attempting to rescue stranded cats and firefighters could prevent numerous human as well as feline fatalities by offering their services.

Firemen often argue that getting down cats from high places is too dangerous a job for them but it is difficult to see how that is even remotely comparable to entering burning buildings in order to rescue them and other animals.

The attitude of firefighters in America is in stark contrast to that of their counterparts in England and Scotland who do not hesitate to rescue stranded cats. The same holds true for utility companies in the isles who frequently cut off electricity in order to rescue cats stranded on their poles. American utilities sometimes can be prevailed upon to act but not very often.

Contrary to what most Americans steadfastly believe, doing one's job and occasionally lending a helping hand are not mortal sins. Au contraire, there is much to be gained through cooperation.

Moreover, by refusing to rescue stranded animals firefighters are leaving themselves open to the eventuality that some individuals may one day be tempted to start fires in order to get their attention. It is therefore preferable that public servants take the bull by the horns and do the right thing tout de suite instead of leaving private citizens to their own devices.

Finally, the frauds and blowhards at PETA announced in a September 22nd press release that the New Bedford Fire Department had been selected to receive the organization's "Compassionate Fire Department Award." (See "New Bedford Firefighters Receive PETA Award for Heroic Rescue of Animals.") The commemoration consists of a framed certificate and a thank you card but no money.

Considering all the thousands of cats, dogs, and other animals that PETA indiscriminately slaughters each year, this is an award that Machado and his colleagues should politely refuse, especially if they truly care about animals. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

Photos: John Sladewki of The Standard Times (Kiki and Machado) and Pets America (cat receiving oxygen).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seattle Resident Beats Off a Voracious Raccoon with a Broom in Order to Save the Life of His Cat, Jewel

Raccoons are continuing to exact a heavy toll on cats in Washington State. One of their latest victims was an eight-pound gray cat named Jewel from Seattle who was savagely mauled in her own yard on July 1st.

The raccoon had her pinned to the ground and most likely would have finished her off if her owner, Matthew Garcia, had not intervened with a broom. Given a new lease on life, Jewel scampered away and was not seen again for eight days.

Once she returned home, it was discovered that she had sustained a broken fibula, a fractured hip, and two puncture wounds in the attack. Garcia immediately secured veterinary assistance for her and she has since made a complete recovery.

It is nonetheless nothing short of a minor miracle that she did not either bleed to death or die from infection during the interim. (See photo above of her with Garcia.)

In the past, Jewel had managed to steer clear of the raccoons who daily frequent her yard but once a new baby arrived at the Garcia household she became more confrontational. While Garcia suspects that his cat may have been attempting to protect the new arrival, it is possible that other psychological factors were at work. (See The West Seattle Herald, August 11, 2008, "Jewel the Guard Cat.")

For instance, Jewel could have been feeling neglected as so often happens when a new baby arrives on the scene and in turn took out her frustrations on the raccoons. It also is conceivable that she could have been scrapping with them previously unbeknownst to her owner.

She also could have been the victim of an unprovoked attack. Based upon the limited amount of information available, it is difficult to say exactly what may have transpired.

There can be absolutely no doubt, however, that raccoons can be lethal for cats. Back in 2006, numerous domestic cats were killed by raccoons seventy-six kilometers to the south in Olympia. (See Cat Defender post of August 28, 2006 entitled "Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rip Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorize Residents but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene.")

It is therefore advisable never to leave food of any kind outside after nightfall. This holds true for the feeding of both domestic and feral cats.

Raccoons are intelligent animals with keen recall systems and once they learn to associate a particular location with food they are impossible to dissuade. More importantly, they sooner or later may come to associate cats as competitors for their daily sustenance and that can lead to deadly consequences.

Cats are not any more capable of holding their own against raccoons than they are of fighting dogs to a draw. Armed with forty razor-sharp teeth and non-retractable claws on their front paws, raccoons are well equipped by Mother Nature to hold their own in any kind of a fight.

Their rear feet can be rotated one-hundred-eighty degrees and this allows them to descend trees headfirst, which is something that even cats cannot attempt. They additionally are excellent swimmers.

Consequently, cats must be protected from them. Some individuals have had success by installing cat-fencing supplemented by an electrified wire strung along the outside perimeter. This type of an arrangement has the added benefit of also keeping out such proficient feline predators as coyotes, fishers, and dogs.

If that is not an affordable option, cats must be kept inside after dusk. Moreover, should there be coyotes and fishers in the neighborhood they cannot be allowed out unsupervised even during the daytime.

Overlapping trees from adjoining lots are another concern that can negate the positive benefits of cat-fencing. It is therefore necessary that these trees be pruned if raccoons and fishers are to be thwarted.

In addition to being fearless, raccoons also are enterprising. That is what a coterie of highfalutin judges at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta recently discovered to their chagrin.

Although the building has beefy security guards who give the evil eye to all visitors and metal detectors that steadfastly refuse to grant entree to anyone carrying so much as a red cent in either his or her pockets, neither proved to be much of a challenge to a raccoon named, appropriately enough, Russell. After entering the building through the heating system and scaling pipes and ventilation ducts, he proceeded to go on a crime spree back in August that lasted several weeks before he was finally captured.

Russell's haul included, inter alia, an apple purloined from the office of bankruptcy judge Paul W. Bonapfel, chocolate chips cookies mooched on the tenth floor, a sandwich of unknown description from floor nine, and a packet of dried soup taken from an office on the twenty-third floor. Although the stingy judges squealed like stuck pigs, these petty thefts did not amount to very much.

Nevertheless, federal judges are not to be trifled with under any circumstances. Consequently, the General Services Administration, which oversees the building, called in a trapper and Russell was lured into a trap baited with tuna on August 25th. (See photo above of him with Bonapfel and Judge Mary Grace Diehl.)

For whatever it is worth, building manager Robert Perkins has stated that the feds are planning to spare Russell's life. "We're going to see if we can get him turned loose on a farm somewhere," he told The Atlanta Constitution on August 25th. (See "Paw Prints in Judge's Office Spell End for Masked Bandit.") "We're going to take him a long way from this building."

That arrangement is just fine with Judge "Good Apple" who earlier had posted a "Raccoon Crossing" sign on the door to his chambers. (See photo above.) "We don't have jurisdiction over raccoons," he told The Constitution. "We leave that to the executive branch."

The story behind how Russell wound up in the federal building is every bit as interesting as were his exploits once inside. Locals theorize that he may have been driven out of his previous home by a construction crew working nearby.

While raccoons generally prefer wooded habitats, they have been living in cities, such as Cincinnati, ever since the 1920s. In fact, an estimated fifteen per cent of those living in the nation's capital reside in houses whereas that figure skyrockets to forty-three per cent in the German city of Kassel. (See Der Spiegel, March 9, 2007, "Raccoons Invade Germany" and Cat Defender post of March 23, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's Cats.")

It also is conceivable that he could have been either transported to downtown Atlanta and then dumped or that he previously was someone's pet. Unless someone comes forward and claims him, his prior life will remain for ever a Chinese puzzle.

Therefore, the best that can be hoped for is that the feds will keep their word and spare his life. The ideal situation, however, would be for a bona fide animal rescue group to take custody of him. They have the expertise to determine his status and where best to release him back into the wild.

More poignantly, Russell's exploits demonstrate writ large just how difficult it has become for animals to secure safe places to live and sufficient nourishment. They are to be commended for their ingenuity but the inescapable fact is that they are fast running out of Lebensraum.

Even under optimal conditions raccoons have a life expectancy of only two to three years. Hunters, motorists, a shortage of food, deadly diseases such as distemper and rabies, and predation by coyotes, bobcats, and dogs all combine to drastically shorten their sojourns on this earth.

Of course, there really was not any valid reason why Russell could not have remained at the courthouse. The judges have plenty of money and it certainly would not have killed them to have fed and watered him every day. After all, tens of thousands of people around the globe are forced to share their attics with raccoons.

Since it has been decreed that all living creatures within the boundaries of the capitalist dystopia known as America must sing for their supper, he could have earned his keep by catching mice and serving as a combination security guard and mascot. Besides, all federal courthouses are chock-full of stodgy old judges dispensing their very own jaundiced versions of justice, spit and polish bailiffs trying to keep order, and somnolent law clerks yawning through another day, but how many can boast to having their very own raccoon?

Photos: Kim Robinson of The West Seattle Herald (Jewel and Garcia) and John Spink of The Atlanta Constitution (Russell with judges and "Raccoon Crossing" sign).

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Jersey at Long Last Has at Least One Honest Public Servant and Her Name Is Caloo from Carlstadt

"It's very nice having her in the office because she comes up and sits on the desk. She loves to chase the mouse on the computer screen and watches paper being printed."
-- Jane Fontana

When it comes to harboring crooked and sleazy politicians within its bosom Wall Street and Washington have nothing on New Jersey. In addition to being populated with bigots of every imaginable stripe, plantation owners galore, enough polluters to foul all of North America, and gangsters doing business on every corner, local and state government is a teeming cesspool of no-show jobs and shady deals whereby the public interest in divvied up and sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder.

The tiny city of Carlstadt, located sixteen kilometers west of Gotham, recently took a bold step to change all of that by recruiting some new blood. Its newest addition to city government is a young female who is known for her unimpeachable integrity, impeccable manners, and bon sens.

She cares absolutely nothing at all for either power or money. An unattended platter of sardines topped off with a dash of sour cream could conceivably present an ethical challenge but that is of no consequence.

As far as vices are concerned, she scarcely knows the meaning of the word. She rarely ever takes a tipple and when she does it is almost always from a milk bottle. Circumspect to a fault in both her toilet and relations with the opposite sex, it is highly unlikely that there is anything in her private life that would pique the interest of the scandalmongers at either the National Inquirer or the New York Post.

To say that she is a cut above the average politician is to understate the case; in reality, she is a breed apart. Her name is Caloo and she is a four-month-old black, brown, and white cat with strikingly beautiful green eyes. (See photo above.)

With the American public thoroughly fed up with mendacious and feckless politicians and in desperate need of a hero, Caloo strolled nonchalantly into Borough Hall back in August. As it was to be expected in these decadent and inhumane times, she was promptly taken into custody by the police and Animal Control was summoned.

For most stray cats that would have been the end of the line. She would have been transported to a shelter where she would have been killed either immediately upon arrival or shortly thereafter.

The Fates were on Caloo's side this time around in that Borough Administrator Jane Fontana got to her before the knackers arrived. She took one look at the attractive female and that was all it took. It was love at first sight for Fontana and an eleventh-hour reprieve for Caloo.

Animal Control was told in no uncertain terms to look elsewhere for its daily quota of feline blood and Fontana installed Caloo in her office. It was shortly thereafter that she discovered that her new office mate had a peculiar fondness for croissants.

"Every morning, I come into work with a croissant and my coffee, and Caloo is very, very, very attracted to that croissant," Fontana told The Leader of Lyndhurst on September 16th. (See "Furry Feline Joins Carlstadt Council.") "One time she worked her way into my bag and helped herself."

Based upon that, Fontana concluded that the moggy surely must have a few drops of French blood flowing in her veins and therefore named her Caloo.

The cat remained with Fontana in her office for a week while she anxiously waited to see if anyone would come forward to claim her. When no one did she took the matter to the borough council who on September 4th voted unanimously to adopt Caloo as "The Carlstadt Cat."

She spends the bulk of her time in her rescuer's office although she is free to roam about council and caucus chambers even during meetings. Her weekends are spent at Fontana's residence.

"It's very nice having her in the office because she comes up and sits on the desk," Fontana told The Leader in the article cited supra. "She loves to chase the mouse on the computer screen and watches paper being printed."

That is not surprising in that more and more cats are displaying an interest in the Internet these days. They reportedly are being attracted to cyberspace because of erroneous reports of a rodent infestation plaguing the system.

While there may be a scarcity of mice on the World Wide Web, there certainly are plenty of big, fat rats in form of spammers, phishers, hackers, and governmental snoops. Nevertheless, the cats' willingness to be of assistance is much appreciated.

The council's decision to add Caloo of the town's management team was fully endorsed by Mayor William J. Roseman. "She is very friendly, and I think people in town will like her because the town is very animal-oriented," he told The Leader.

That is certainly the case in that the Department of Public Works shelters a dog named Louise that it adopted more than ten years ago.

The willingness of municipal entities to provide homes for cats and dogs is definitely a positive development. A few years back, the California town of El Cerrito similarly took in a cat named Bootsie. (See Cat Defender post of March 20, 2007 entitled "El Cerrito's Bureaucrats Distinguish Themselves by Showing Compassion for a Waif Known as Bootsie.")

Sadly, there are other cities, such as Columbus, Ohio, who only use, abuse, and kill cats. (See Cat Defender post of October 20, 2005 entitled "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction.")

In addition to providing free pest control and companionship, Caloo can teach the politicians in Carlstadt a few things if they are not too stiff-necked and will open up their minds. Besides, as poet Christopher Smart once observed, just staring at a cat will fertilize the mind.

Photo: Alexis Tarrazi of The Leader.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drunken Brute Beats, Stabs, and Then Hurls Fifi to Her Death Against the Side of a House in Limerick

"It was only a fucking cat! What are you getting worried about?"
-- Fifi's killer

Pretty little Fifi had only recently settled into her new home on Hartstonge Street near People's Park in Limerick. Everything seemed to be going well for the black and white kitten and she had every expectation of a long and happy life before her. (See photo above.)

All of her hopes and dreams came crashing down upon her at around 5 p.m. on September 7th when she was set upon by an unidentified drunken lout who beat, stabbed, and threw her against the side of a house. The mortally injured kitten then was taken by parties unknown to Treaty Veterinary Clinic where attendants worked in vain to save her life.

Although details of the incident are sketchy, it appears that Fifi was used as a pawn in a heated dispute between two drunks that broke out near the park. (See photo below.) The men, still at large, are described as being in their thirties with one of them having a crucifix tattooed on his neck.

"In the middle of the argument, one of the men brutally attacked the kitten with hands and knife, after which he threw her, still alive but badly injured, at a nearby house wall," Keith Fawcett, a neighbor of Fifi's unidentified owner, told the Limerick Leader on September 10th. (See "Kitten Stabbed in Limerick Row Between Drunks.") "The body then dropped two feet onto the concrete path below."

When asked by his verbal jousting partner why he had so brutally attacked Fifi, the murderer reportedly fired back, "It was only a fucking cat! What are you getting worried about?"

It would be a welcome development in the annals of animal welfare if the authorities in Limerick would do something out of the ordinary and pull out all the stops and bring this monster to justice. Cat-lovers should not, however, hold their breaths.

"People like these have no place in society," Jodie Hayward of Limerick Animal Welfare told the Limerick Leader in the article cited supra. "We see horrific injuries to cats and kittens all the time, but never anything as bad as this."

Generally speaking, the role played by alcohol in violent and criminal behavior is drastically overrated. Although the bottle may provide the culprits with the prerequisite "Dutch Courage" needed in order to commit their dastardly deeds, its role is purely secondary.

Individuals who commit heinous crimes of this sort do so because they are bad people, not because they are in their cups. The bottle serves merely as a convenient excuse in order for them to fob off responsibility for their actions.

The offender in this case most likely abuses animals and individuals when he is sober as well as in the bag. He therefore should be apprehended as soon as possible and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law based solely upon his reprehensible conduct with no allowance being granted for his inebriation.

Having said all of that, there can be little doubt that alcohol abuse and animals can be a deadly combination. Par exemple, during the summer of 2006 then forty-one-year-old Animal Control Officer Michelle A. Mulverhill went on a bender and left four cats and a dog unattended at a shelter that she oversaw in Oxford, Massachusetts. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2006 entitled "Animal Control Officer Goes on Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at Massachusetts Shelter.")

Mulverhill was forced to resign and subsequently pled guilty to five counts of animal cruelty in Dudley District Court. Obviously no lover of animals, presiding Judge Neil Snider let her off with one-year of probation and a requirement that she undergo counseling. (See Worcester Telegram, December 7, 2006, "Probation Ordered for Ex-Animal Officer.")

The city also was negligent for hiring a soak in the first place but, more importantly, it should have had a system of checks and balances in place in order to have protected the animals. Since its victims were homeless and penniless, it too got away scot-free with its crimes.

Last Christmas at the San Francisco Zoo, brothers Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal along with their friend Carlos Sousa Jr. showed up high on vodka and pot and proceeded to taunt a rare Amur tigress known as Tatiana. When the fun and games finally ended, Tatiana had mauled Sousa to death and lay dead herself. (See Cat Defender post of January 28, 2008 entitled "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by Police.")

Despite being the instigators of these tragic events, the Dhaliwal brothers have retained high-powered shyster Mark Geragos for a lawsuit against the zoo and the Sousa family is also suing.

In addition to predation by drunkards, cats all over Ireland are under assault from ailurophobes, economic interests, and public institutions. In Dublin, for instance, stray and feral cats are being systematically trapped and removed from the grounds of St. James Hospital, the Custom House, shopping centers, and industrial parks. (See photo below of the Custom House.)

The same balderdash employed in order to justify their eradication elsewhere around the world is likewise being warmed up and pressed into service by the Irish. Cats are accused of, inter alia, overturning trash cans, fouling vegetable and flower gardens, and killing bats and birds.

The first two allegations can be disposed of rather simply. Cats are very neat animals that neither foul nor destroy property. Au contraire, it is precisely birds, rats, voles, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals that make a nuisance of themselves.

Moreover, cats have been transported all over the world precisely because of their uncanny ability to protect crops and grain stores from damage caused by rodents, birds, and other animals. Men and women of bon sens consider themselves fortunate to have the services and companionship of such useful and agreeable animals.

Since bats generally reside in caves, it is difficult to see how feline predation is adversely affecting them. In America, it is windmills that are killing them. (See New Scientist, August 25, 2008, "Wind Turbines Make Bat Lungs Explode.")
Birds are likewise being killed off by a litany of causes ranging from climate change, habitat destruction, and the wholesale use of deadly pesticides on the one hand to dwindling food supplies, noise pollution, and collisions with gratte-ciels, communications' towers, and airplanes on the other hand. Far from being innocent souls themselves, they also prey upon cats and kittens, horseshoe crabs, insects, and other animals.

All of that is in addition to spreading deadly diseases, such as the West Nile Virus and the H5N1 strain of Vogelgrippe, setting forest fires, and destroying crops. (See Cat Defender posts of May 6, 2008 and August 14, 2008 entitled, respectively, "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs" and "Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence.")

In their effort to get rid of Ireland's estimated one-hundred-thousand feral and stray cats, the ailurophobes have contracted out the job to private pest control companies who subsequently have been accused of dumping the cats that they trap on housing estates instead of killing them.

"We believe cats are being taken from one location to another and released," Orla Aungier of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) told The Times of London on September 14th. (See "Stray Cats 'Being Dumped on Estates'.") "We recognize that colonies of stray cats can create problems when they start inbreeding and producing large numbers of kittens. But releasing them in another area just moves the problem."

That is really an outrageous position for the DSPCA to take. Homeless cats, whether they be ferals or strays, have an inalienable right to both life and liberty.

In this instance, pest control companies should be commended for having the good conscience to spare the cats' lives as opposed to killing them. That is a good deal more than can be said for Critter Control in Richmond, Virginia, and most other exterminators in America. (See Cat Defender posts of July 7, 2008 and August 21, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Fox Affiliate in Richmond Murders at Least Three Cats and Then Sends in the Bulldozers to Destroy Their Homes" and "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine.")

In general, however, pest control companies do not have either the savoir-faire or sensitivity needed to deal with cats. Consequently, they trap and kill many domestic cats as well as members of managed colonies. Some of these killings are accidental while others are deliberate in order to collect a bounty. (See Cat Defender post of August 30, 2007 entitled "Texas Couple Files Lawsuit Against Pest Control Company for Trapping and Gassing Their Cat, Butty.")

"I know of situations where pest control companies have trapped feral cats that we have spayed and neutered," Phil O'Malley Cooley of Dublin's Petwatch told The Times in the article cited supra. "Also, many households have adopted them and are now feeding them, which technically makes them pets."

The situation for feral and stray cats is even more perilous in rural areas. Even though a good many dairy and cattle farms are overrun with rats, farmers are nonetheless calling upon pest control companies to trap and kill their resident felines.

"A single cat on a farm can be a good thing because it may keep rats and mice at bay, but when they start to multiply they can be very difficult to manage," Declan Murphy of Quality Pest Control Limited told The Independent of Dublin on September 9th. (See "Catty Persistence Will Pay Off for Farmers.")

Murphy goes on to make the following uninformed statement: "A cat that's being fed will not hunt, so he's no good to keep rats and mice at bay."

Both Benvenute Cellini and Carl Van Vechten disagree. "Cats of good breed hunt better fat than lean," according to the sixteenth century sculptor and painter. "...hungry cats do not make the best mousers," Van Vechten declared in his seminal work, The Tiger in the House.

This is a controversial point but reason would seem to dictate that well-fed cats would do considerably less hunting. Besides, since cats are estimated to sleep as many as eighteen hours a day they could not be doing all that much hunting in the first place.

Nonetheless, Murphy's dogma misses the point because cats do not need to hunt very much in order to keep rodents in check. The very smell of their bodies and urine is sufficient to cause most mice to flee.

That was demonstrated last year by researchers at the University of Tokyo who genetically altered circuitry in the brains of mice that normally cause them to associate the smell of a cat with predation. (See London's Daily Telegraph, July 11, 2007, "Cat-and-Mouse Game Driven by Smell of Fear.")

Consequently, these mutant mice would then walk right up to laboratory cats without any trepidation. (See photo above.)

As useful as that information may be, it does not alter the fact that animal experimentation is, in the words of Mohandas Gandhi, "the blackest of all the black crimes that man is at present committing against God and his fair creation." In a just and humane world there would not be any vivisectors.

Murphy also is wrong about cats being able to fend for themselves. Stray and feral cats need at the very least to be fed, watered, and sheltered. It would be even better if they were vaccinated against diseases and provided with veterinary care when needed.

To offer them anything less is to be not only cheap but ungrateful as well. By keeping the population of destructive and disease-spreading animals within manageable limits they are providing an invaluable service to mankind and therefore should not only be compensated but afforded protection as well.

More to the point, if Ireland does indeed have too many homeless cats, the humane and intelligent solution for both farmers and city slickers alike is TNR. This method will allow the cats to live out their brief sojourns on this earth in managed colonies while at the same time drastically reducing their numbers.

A hundred-thousand homeless cats is not a particularly large number especially when compared to America's estimated seventy million and that consideration alone raises suspicion that ailurophobia and greed are motivating extermination efforts. Although the Irish economy has started to cool off somewhat of late, the past dozen or so years have been heady times on the Emerald Isle.

Too many people, too much development and farming, and too much greed are the principal factors imperiling all animals, both domestic and wild. Instead of denigrating and exterminating cats and other animals Ireland and the rest of the world need to learn to respect their rights and to make room for them.

As Fifi's brutal murder and events in Dublin and rural Ireland have demonstrated, the Irish have short memories. Otherwise they would take cognizance of that old Irish proverb which counsels "beware of people who dislike cats."

Photos: Limerick Leader (Fifi), Limerick City Council (People's Park), Stevage of Wikipedia (Dublin's Custom House), and Ko and Reiko Kobayakawa of the University of Tokyo (mutant mouse and lab cat).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Two Pairs of Diminutive but Ferocious Rusty-Spotted Kittens Are Born at a Zoo in Kent

"In their own minds these cats are tigers. They think they are much bigger than they really are. They are quite fearless."
-- Neville Buck

Four Rusty-Spotted kittens were recently born at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent. The first pair entered this world in late April with the second duo following in mid-June.

Native to southern India and Sri Lanka, the cats vie with the Black-Footed Cat (Felis nigripes) of southern Africa for the title of being the world's smallest cats. Fully grown, they vary in length from fourteen to nineteen inches and weigh on the average of only 3.3 pounds.

By contrast, the kittens born at Port Lympne weighed only forty grams (1.41 ounces) at birth which is about one-third of what kittens born to domestic cats weigh. (See photo above of the two-week-old kittens born in June.)

Although they may be small, the cats more than compensate for what they lack in size by their spunkiness. "A female with kittens will defend them without thinking of herself," Neville Buck of Port Lympne told The Times of London on July 9th. (See "Tiny Kittens Born to Wild Cats That Think They Are Tigers.") "They will quite happily attack us."

After conceding that he and his co-workers have to be careful so as not to step on them, he continued, "In their own minds these cats are tigers. They think they are much bigger than they really are. They are quite fearless."

Although it is unclear how many of them have been forcibly uprooted from their natural habitats and imprisoned in zoos around the world, conservationists justify such confinement as necessary in order to protect them from extinction. (See photo below of a mature Rusty-Spotted Cat at Tierpark Berlin.) With only an estimated ten-thousand mature breeding adults remaining in the wild, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the cats as vulnerable.

As is the case with most wild animals, the laundry list of culprits responsible for the cats' decline begins with farmers who are dismantling their habitats at an alarming rate. Motorists, whether through deliberate intent or just plain recklessness, also are running down many of them.

They also are preyed upon by humans, birds, and larger cats for sustenance and by dogs for sport. They in turn subsist upon a diet comprised of rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, insects and, occasionally, domestic fowl.

Genetically related to the Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), they have evolved over the years into two distinct subspecies, Prionailurus rubiginosus rubiginosus of India and Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi of Sri Lanka. The kittens born at Port Lympne belong to the latter subspecies.

They hunt by night so as to avoid predation by birds and other animals and because of their friendly and playful personalities a few of them reportedly have been domesticated. They also have been known to den and give birth in the ceilings of houses.

Port Lympne and its sister zoo, Howletts in Bekesbourne, have bred and returned to the wild one-hundred gorillas and twenty-four black rhinos as well as an unspecified number of Przewalski horses, Sumatran rhinos, Cape buffaloes, ocelots, and pythons. The zoo's website is, however, conspicuously silent as to how many of these animals have survived the transition.

More to the point, Port Lympne does not disclose if it has attempted to return any Rusty-Spotted Cats to the wild. Generally speaking, the success rate for rewilding mammals is pretty dismal.

That nonetheless has not dissuaded conservationists from undertaking ambitious rewilding initiatives involving Amur Leopards, South China Tigers, and other large cats. (See Cat Defender posts of June 23, 2008 and March 11, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Amur Leopards Continue to Slide Toward Extinction as Conservationists Toy with a Controversial Captive Breeding and Rewilding Initiative" and "South China Tigers Are Being Bred and Trained at a South African Reserve for an Eventual Return to the Wild.")

Since mankind seems to be hellbent upon destroying and polluting all of nature, it could very well be that zoos are the last redoubts for animals. That does not, however, materially alter the fact that imprisoned animals are poor imitations of their cousins in the wild.

More importantly, animals are entitled to their freedom, dignity, and privacy. They were here long before man evolved and are considerably less destructive than the so-called higher beings that rule the roost and these considerations should count for something.

In addition to the paltry success rate of rewilding programs, captive breeding schemes not only diminish the number of endangered and threatened animals currently living in the wild but they also divert precious resources and expertise away from the fight to save habitats. They also constitute a tacit admission that saving habitats is a lost cause.

Port Lympne concedes as much on its website. "It is of course best for animals to live in the wild but until such time that the poaching and cutting down of forests ends, organizations such as ours help secure their survival," the organization declares.

As lofty as those sentiments may be, it is still difficult to comprehend the connection between zoos and habitat protection. Au contraire, it would appear that their very existence serves as a green light for farmers, developers, energy companies, and others to destroy what precious little is left of nature.

There also is the dilemma of procuring new habitats for the animals that are born in captivity. If zookeepers and conservationists are unwilling to preserve their existing habitats, it strains credulity to believe that they are going to establish new ones for them. They may very well be willing to provide them with enclosures instead of cages but that is about the extent of their generosity.

As far as Rusty-Spotted Cats are concerned, the literature is silent as to conservation efforts in India and Sri Lanka. While too much cannot be read into that, it is doubtful that very much, if anything, is being done to save them.

Finally, there is a good deal more at stake here than just saving the animals. Since it is generally acknowledged that as they go so goes man, it is difficult to see how this planet is going to be able to support the escalating needs of humans when it can no longer supply the simple necessities required by the animals.

Photos: The Times of London (Rusty-Spotted kittens) and Lenie Beutler of Wikipedia (Rusty-Spotted Cat at Tierpark Berlin.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

North London Borough Bans Lost Cat Posters Thus Forcing Ginger Boy to Find His Way Home by Himself

"I think it's very sad. I think other councils take a slightly more lenient view."
-- Eileen Miles

Cat owners in the borough of Haringey in north London will have to find a new way of alerting the public when their beloved companions go missing now that the local council has banned the display of "Lost Cat" posters.

That was the sad lesson rudely driven home to fifty-three-year-old Eileen Miles after her cat, Ginger Boy, recently disappeared. (See photo above.) After posting twelve notices around the Harringay Ladder section of the borough she was informed in no uncertain terms by the council to either promptly remove them or be fined an exorbitant $140 for each one.

Confronted with that stark reality, she was left with little choice other than to capitulate. "I was horrified, so I took them down," she explained to the weekly Hornsey and Crouch End Journal on September 4th. (See "Council Outlaws Lost Cat Posters.") "I had put up a lot. I was very grateful. He (the council officer) could have been really officious and slapped a bill through the door."

Adding insult to injury, Miles is a council officer herself in Dagenham, Essex. (See photo below.) She only became involved in the rough and tumble politics of Haringey after she fobbed off Ginger Boy on her brother, David Jones, who lives on Falkland Road in Harringay Ladder.

That was done as a last-ditch effort in order to get the four-year-old former stray to shed a few pounds. Being either especially partial to Miles' vittles or, more likely, neutered, Ginger Boy's weight had ballooned up to more than seventeen pounds. (See Cat Defender post of August 22, 2007 entitled "Indoor Cats Are Dying of Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")

The game plan called for Jones to put the cat on a restricted diet that Miles apparently did not have either the heart or the time to implement herself. Not unexpectedly, Ginger Boy remained with Jones for about a week before doing a runner.

As both Miles and Jones should have known, cats are territorial and therefore must be locked up for at least a month or two if they are to be successfully relocated. Besides, Ginger Boy was not about to stay with a stranger who, at least in his mind, was attempting to starve him to death.

The sticks-in-the-mud who comprise the council are, quite naturally, standing by their ban. "Fly-posting is a problem that residents expect us to take seriously, and any fly-posting tends to attract more," a spokesman told the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal in the article cited supra. "We will prosecute companies responsible for commercial fly-posting. We would not prosecute individuals for one-off fly-posting, for example with missing cat posters as in this case, but we will issue polite warnings if concerns are raised with us."

Although she readily complied with the council's directive, Miles is certainly not enamored with it. "I think it's very sad. I think other councils take a slightly more lenient view," she told the weekly.

The council's hard-hearted ruling will sans doute make it more difficult for cat owners to locate their lost companions. Consequently, it will cost innumerable cats their lives.

"For anything from the heart, nothing profit-making, something that the community might be interested in, I think probably they should place little areas where people can put things like that," Miles told the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal.

Like just about all of London nowadays, property values in Haringey have gone through the roof and those running the show take a dim view of any activities that negatively affect that trend. That not only includes "Lost Cat" posters but the conversion of large houses into bedsits. (See The Independent, October 19, 2005, "More for Your Money: Harringay Ladder.")

Although Harringay Ladder is an upscale neighborhood, it is not nearly as hoity-toity as some council members would like to believe. In fact, according to Miles, the area is plagued by illegal dumping.

"It seemed very strange going around putting the posters up with everyone fly-tipping settees, beds, and old furniture," she complained to the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal. "The whole place looked like a dumping ground and sticking up a few posters probably adds to the distress of the place, but as soon as I got him back I would have taken them down."

Since the rules governing both free speech and free press are rather different in England than in the United States, it is doubtful that a legal challenge to Haringey's ban on "Lost Cat" posters would get very far. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see what would happen if Miles or some other aggrieved cat owner were to stand on the corner and hold up a "Lost Cat" poster. Would he or she be arrested?

It is indeed a deplorable sign of the times when property values and trivial concerns over public order and neatness count for far more than reuniting lost cats with their owners. In this context it must be remembered that it was during Tony Blair's reign of terror and corruption that restrictions were placed on the right to assemble and protest, surveillance cameras (one per every twenty citizens) proliferated, detention without arrest was legalized, tracking devices were installed on all automobiles, the protection against double jeopardy was obliterated from the common law, national identification cards were introduced, and Anti-Social Behavior Orders (ASBOs) became commonplace.

As Angleterre continues its inexorable lurch to the political right, it was only a matter of time before politicians started going after cats just as both Blair and his successor, Gordon Brown, have repeatedly demonstrated their utter contempt for the rights of animals by coddling vivisectors.

Photos: Hornsey and Crouch End Journal.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bonny Is Rescued at the Last Minute after Spending Seven Weeks Entombed Underneath a Bathtub

"Bonny bestand nur noch aus Fell und Knochen, war total abgemagert -- wirkte wie im Koma."
-- Monika Hoppert

A broken water pipe in an apartment building in Stadthagen, Niedersachsen nearly cost a black Persian mix named Bonny her life earlier this summer after plumbers inadvertently entombed her underneath a neighbor's bathtub.

Because of extensive water damage caused by the broken pipe, Bonny's caretaker, Monika Hoppert, had left the door to her apartment open so as to allow her rooms to dry out. That provided the opportunity for Bonny to scamper through the open door and thus enter the quarters of neighbors Renate and Erich Herrmann who were having repairs made to their lieu. The hustle and bustle, loud noises, and confusion churned up by the workmen frightened her and she sought sanctuary underneath the tub. The plumbers then proceeded to tile over the floor above her.

Her distraught but clueless owner looked high and low for her but in vain. "Uberall habe ich meine Katze gesucht, bin sogar nachts raus auf die Strasse und habe ihren Namen gerufen," Hoppert told the Schaumburger Nachrichten of Rinteln on August 25th. (See "Sieben Wochen eingemauert.")

Seven weeks later in mid-August, Frau Herrmann heard Bonny meowing and scratching while she was taking a shower one morning and immediately contacted Hoppert. Plumbers were summoned and a half-dead Bonny was freed from her premature grave with not a minute to spare.

Because she had been forced to go without sustenance for such a long time her weight had plummeted from thirteen pounds to a little more than four. She was in fact so weak that she did not have sufficient strength left in order to hold up her tiny head, let alone to stand and walk.

"Bonny bestand nur noch aus Fell und Knochen, war total abgemagert -- wirkte wie im Koma," is how Hoppert described her condition to the Schaumburger Nachrichten in the article cited supra.

Still reeling from the shock of discovering her beloved cat to be still alive after all of this time, Huppert then rushed Bonny to a local veterinarian who gave her perhaps an even bigger jolt by refusing to help. Instead, all he wanted to do was to kill Bonny.

Being the devout ailurophile that she is, Hoppert certainly was not about to sit still for any of that tosh. "Meine Katze hat so um ihr Leben gekampft, da konnte ich sie doch jetzt nicht einschlafern lassen," she later told the Schaumburger Nachrichten on August 27th. (See "Katze Bonny wird zum Medienstar.")

Determined that Bonny was going to live, she then took the cat home and nursed it back to health by her lonesome. "In den ersten Tagen musste ich meine geliebte Katze wie ein Baby pflegen, habe sie gefuttert und gewaschen," she told the Schaumburger Nachrichten in the August 25th article cited supra.

Thanks to her ministrations, the green-eyed moggy is now on the mend and is expected to make a full recovery. (See photo above of the happy duo.)

It is theorized that Bonny survived by lapping up water that had leaked from the bathtub. Ironically, she then would be indebted to faulty plumbing for both her miseries and salvation.

As soon as Bonny's ordeal became public, both she and Hoppert were set upon by the print and broadcast media without surcease. Fan mail also poured in from all over Deutschland and Holland. (See Schaumburger Nachrichten, September 1, 2008, "Gunther Jauch steht auf Bonny.")

In late October of last year, a ten-year-old tuxedo named Emmy from Torquay in Devon was accidentally locked inside a wooden storage shed on the property of a neighbor for nine-weeks. (See Cat Defender post of January 23, 2008 entitled "Emmy Survives Being Locked in an Outdoor Storage Shed for Nine Weeks Without Either Food or Water.")

Like Bonny, she was near death when discovered and had relied upon condensation which had collected on the windows in order to survive. (See photo above.)

Since her owners had decided to move into another house, they dumped poor Emmy at a shelter immediately after her rescue. Her traumatic experience has left her with an understandable fear of tight places and of being left alone. She also has lost, at least temporarily, either the ability or inclination to jump.

She had been staying at Torbay Blue Cross Animal Center in Watcombe but the organization's website no longer lists her as being available for adoption. She therefore could have found a new home or the shelter could have killed her. It is extremely difficult to get shelters and veterinarians to release such information to the public.

As for Bonny, hopefully she will not suffer any lingering physical or psychological disabilities as the result of her experience. The fact that she has a loving owner gives her a big advantage over Emmy.

Perhaps more importantly, Bonny need not have suffered at all if Hoppert, the Herrmanns, and the plumbers had been more attentive. Cats are territorial and lovers of routine and consequently any changes in their environment should raise red flags, especially in cases of their disappearance.

That which holds true for plumbers, construction workers, traveling salesmen, and other strangers that happen to venture onto their turfs is equally applicable to packages, furniture, and modes of conveyance. When their homes are invaded cats have a tendency to secret themselves away in convenient nooks and crannies and this quite often leads to disastrous consequences. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2008 entitled "Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland.")

Owners who will take it upon themselves to closely scrutinize any alternations, no matter how large or small, in their cats' environment can save themselves considerable worry and grief and, more importantly, the lives of their companions. In this case, Hoppert should have checked first with her neighbors and then everywhere the plumbers had been at work.

Finally, as far as the unidentified veterinarian who refused to treat Bonny is concerned, he is a disgrace to his profession and should be stripped of his license to practice. Veterinarians should be held to the same exacting standards of professional conduct as are MDs and that entails at the very least that they employ their services in order to save lives, not shorten them.

Photos: Denis Lochte of the Schaumburger Nachrichten (Bonny and Hoppert) and Torbay Blue Cross (Emmy).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tinkerbelle Is Freed from Death Row and Flown to Safety in England Capping Off a Storybook Ending to Her Travails in Florida

"This cat struck up a relationship while we were there and we fell in love with it. So, it's the cat that we want to provide a home for."
-- Sue Watts

They are about as rare as hens' teeth but miracles still happen ever once in a while and fairy tales sometimes do indeed come true. For confirmation of that, cynics need to look no further than to pretty four-year-old Tinkerbelle. (See photo above.)

It was only last week that she was on death row at the SPCA's slaughterhouse in Lakeland, Florida. Since she had been imprisoned there for three weeks, the sand had pretty much run out of the hourglass as far as she was concerned and her death was imminent.

Just as condemned prisoners count off the minutes as they anxiously pray for an eleventh-hour telephone call from the governor that will stay their executions, Tinkerbelle also waited. Whether she was aware that the end was near is debatable, but she must have known that something was afoot and that it was not good.

Fortunately for her, the call did come through but it was not from the governor; in fact, it was not even from anyone in America. It came instead from Birmingham resident Sue Watts who belatedly had decided that she wanted to adopt the green-eyed, black and white moggy.

True to her word, she then ponied up the $3,000 that was required in order to spring the longhaired cat from death row and get her out of the country. With a new lease on life, Tinkerbelle flew off to asylum in Angleterre on August 28th.

"It's a sizable amount of money," Watts admitted to Fox-13 of Tampa on August 26th. (See "Stray Cat to Live Like Queen.") "Thank God for credit cards!"

The improbable chain of events that culminated in this storybook ending began in late July when Watts traveled to Davenport in order to attend the wedding of one of her nieces. (See photo below. Watts is on the extreme left.) One morning shortly after her arrival, she discovered Tinkerbelle camped out on the bonnet of her rental car and immediately fell in love with her.

She then took Tinkerbelle inside the house that she was renting and the cat made herself right at home. (See bottom photo.) "She was lost. She was hungry and she really needed some support and someone to take care of her," is how Watts described meeting Tinkerbelle for the first time to Bay News 9 in a telephone interview on August 27th. (See "Woman Spends $3,000 to Send Stray Cat to England.")

Inevitably, the nuptials came and went and Watts' allotted time in La Floride dwindled down to a few precious days. Because of Tinkerbelle's friendly disposition, Watts knew that she was a stray as opposed to a feral and therefore attempted to locate her previous caretaker.

When that proved to be unsuccessful, she dumped the cat at the SPCA's holding pen and reluctantly returned to Birmingham. Shockingly, she did that after having been informed by shelter officials that they systematically exterminate an astounding eighty per cent of the cats that enter their portals.

Of course, on its website the shelter sings an entirely different tune. "The SPCA... is committed to providing aid, comfort, and relief to abandoned or suffering animals, and to placing surrendered pets in safe, loving, and lifetime homes," the great liars proclaim.

Imprisoned in one of America's most notorious killing factories, Tinkerbelle's fortunes now had taken a precipitate turn for the worst. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2006 entitled "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

As for Watts, the distance that she had put between herself and Florida was not sufficient in order to get Tinkerbelle out of her mind. "We cried all the way to the airport, upset to think that despite all of our efforts, Tinkerbelle might not have a happy ever after," she told The News Chief of Winter Haven on August 28th. (See "Stray Cat in Polk Finding New Home with British Woman.")

There can be no doubt that Watts committed a grievous error by handing over Tinkerbelle to the knackers at the SPCA. Instead, she should have left the cat as she had found her because even life on the mean streets of Davenport is preferable to no life at all. Besides, some other kindhearted soul might have eventually given her sanctuary.

To her credit, however, she atoned for her earlier mistake by making that last-minute telephone call that saved Tinkerbelle from the hangman. "We love her, and we really didn't want to leave her future to chance," Watts told Fox-13 in the article cited supra.

A snag developed in Watts' plans on August 26th when an unidentified man contacted the SPCA claiming to be Tinkerbelle's previous owner. Because he was unable to substantiate his claim, the SPCA denied his suit and Watts was allowed to have the cat.

Tinkerbelle is now in quarantine in Birmingham where she will be forced to remain for the next six months before she will be allowed to go home with Watts. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2008 and August 18, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire" and "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

On the bright side, Watts probably will be permitted to visit her periodically during her confinement. "We can't wait to welcome her home once that's all over," she told The News Chief in the article cited supra.

"This cat struck up a relationship while we were there and we fell in love with it," she elaborated for Bay News 9. "So, it's the cat that we want to provide a home for."

Tinkerbelle hopefully will make it through quarantine without any problems and go on to have a full and happy life with Watts. The outlook is entirely different, however, for the tens of millions of American cats that fall into the evil clutches of shelters, veterinarians, and Animal Control.

For the overwhelming majority of them there are not any miracles, last-minute reprieves, and storybook endings. They instead receive only jabs of sodium pentobarbital to the heart followed by either incineration or a quick trip to the city dump.

Out of sight and out of mind, it is almost as if they had never been born. Worst still, the monsters responsible for these cold-blooded murders are beyond the reach of both the law and morality.

Consequently, they keep on committing their dastardly deeds year after year. (See Cat Defender post of September 14, 2006 entitled "Cat Killing Season Is in Full Swing All Across America as Shelters Ramp Up Their Mass Extermination 'Pogroms'.")

The killings will never cease until cat-lovers demand that the slaughterhouses be shuttered and that those responsible for the commission of these heinous crimes are put behind bars. Nathan Winograd, no-kill facilities, and sanctuaries are definitely having an impact but the stubborn fact remains that many more cats are killed each day than are saved.

Photos: Fox-13 (Tinkerbelle) and Sue Watts (wedding and Tinkerbelle taking a snooze).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Zoe Rebounds from Having Her Ears Cut Off in a Savage Attack to Become the Heroine of a New Series of Children's Books

"I felt sad that she had no ears but I was happy that she was still alive and made it through that."
-- Lexy Webb

Back in September of 2006, the Corpus Christi suburb of Kingsville was the site of one of the most dastardly acts of ailurophobia ever committed. That was when an unknown cretin took either a knife or a pair of scissors and cut off the ears of a tiny kitten named Zoe.

She was then deposited in a Dumpster and left to die. The Fates, however, had other plans in store for her and she was presently rescued by a passerby who rushed her to Animal Rescue Kleberg where veterinarians were able to stanch the bleeding and close the wounds.

Sadly, they were unable to reattach her ears and they will not grow back. (See Cat Defender post of October 27, 2006 entitled "Tiny Kitten Named Zoe Has Her Ears Cut Off by Fiends but Texas Police Do Not Seem to Care.")

The good news, however, is that Zoe still has her hearing. It takes her a moment to locate where the sound is coming from but that is about all.

She also is about to become famous thanks to a twenty-eight-page illustrated children's book recently published about her by her owners Melissa Webb and her nine-year-old daughter, Lexy. The first of the eight scheduled books is entitled Zoe the Earless Kitten, The Adoption and at last check it was ranked at number 1,088,072 on Amazon. It is geared toward children between the ages of nine and twelve and retails for $14.95. (See photo above of Zoe and Lexy.)

"She (Lexy) always said that she hopes that children and adults will understand that just because an animal is hurt or disabled, they still need a home just like any other animal," Melissa told KRIS-TV of Corpus Christi on August 20th. (See "Earless Cat Inspires Owners to Write a Book.")

Those are indeed lofty sentiments but they have a hollow ring to them in that Webb works as a bookkeeper for a hunting lease. Wild animals also are in need of homes, especially those that are devoid of hunters.

Since their book was printed by vanity publisher Trafford, both mother and daughter are responsible for promoting and peddling it themselves. In practical terms that means they are giving numerous interviews to the media as well as appearing at book-signings. (See photo above of the book jacket.)

As far as it is known, no arrests have been made in Zoe's mutilation. As is the case pretty much all over the country, the police in Kingsville do not take animal cruelty cases seriously.

At first Lexy was angered by the way in which Zoe had been treated but she apparently has put all of that behind her now. "I felt sad that she had no ears but I was happy that she was still alive and made it through that," she told KRIS-TV in the article cited supra.

As for Zoe, she has not only adjusted to not having ears but perhaps just as importantly she does not appear to have any psychological scars either. In fact, she is described by her owners as being something of a card in that she likes to be carried upside down and enjoys hopping in the bathtub with Lexy. She also has developed a fondness for Cheez Whiz.

The Webbs' tome is a welcome contribution in the fight against cruelty to cats but much more needs to be done. Anti-cruelty statutes desperately need to be beefed up and a means must be found in order to convince prosecutors and judges to take seriously crimes committed against cats. As things now stand, they are far too lovey-dovey with cat abusers and killers.

Photos: Moggies (Zoe and Lexy Webb) and Amazon (book jacket).