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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

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ginger Boy Is Found Safe and Sound after Roaming the Streets of Harringay Ladder for Nearly Two Months

"I'm ecstatic. I knew he would be back. He's looking worse for wear but he's getting better."
-- Eileen Miles

After spending more than six-weeks on the lam Ginger Boy has been apprehended and is now back home with his owner, fifty-three-year-old Eileen Miles in Dagenham, Essex. (See photo above.)

The four-year-old moggy was collared on October 23rd by forty-six-year-old computer technician Gavin Lewis of Raleigh Road in the Harringay Ladder section of the north London borough of Haringey. This was a scant five roads removed from the Falkland Road residence of Miles' brother, David Jones, where the overweight tomcat had been banished in order to shed a few pounds.

For whatever reason, be it homesickness or a love of his mistress's cooking, Ginger Boy did not care for the Fat Farm and soon did a runner. When Miles responded by blanketing Harringay Ladder with "Lost Cat" posters Haringey officials threatened to fine her seventy pounds, sterling that is, of her own per flier.

Consequently, she was forced to temporarily remove the announcements until Councillor George Meehan intervened on her behalf and forced the borough to rescind its silly and inhumane edict. (See Cat Defender posts of September 11, 2008 and October 3, 2008 entitled, respectively, "North London Borough Bans Lost Cat Posters Thus Forcing Ginger Boy to Find His Way Home by Himself" and "Haringey Council Comes to Its Senses and Rescinds Its Ban on Lost Cat Posters but It Already May Be Too Late to Save Ginger Boy.")

"It's a happy ending to a long story," Lewis told the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal on October 29th. (See "Purrfect Ending to Missing Cat Saga.")

It is unclear, however, why Lewis elected to feed Ginger Boy in his yard for a fortnight before grabbing him with his hands as opposed to setting a humane trap which would have brought this unfortunate incident to a close much sooner. Moreover, it is not even known if Miles was alerted to the fact that Ginger Boy was living on Raleigh Road.

"I'm ecstatic," she later told the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal in the article cited supra. "I knew he would be back." (See photo below of her.)

The intrepid cat apparently came through his long and trying ordeal in fairly good shape but he still needs some time in order to recuperate. "He's looking worse for wear but he's getting better," Miles added. "I'm so glad we got him back before the fireworks (Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th) and the cold weather. He's used up a ninth life." (See Cat Defender post of November 30, 2006 entitled "Yobs Celebrating Guy Fawkes Day Kill Twelve-Year-Old Cat Named Tigger with Fireworks; Cat Named Sid Is Severely Burned.")

Ginger Boy undoubtedly lost some weight while he was on the street so Miles' experiment did succeed in a roundabout fashion but that is an extremely dangerous way in order to get a cat to slim down. Miles is indeed very lucky to have gotten him back alive.

She apparently has, however, learned a valuable lesson from this traumatic event. "He's not going anywhere," she pledged to the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal.

While Ginger Boy's safe return is indeed a cause for celebration, the circumstances which prompted his exile to Falkland Road have not changed. Miles has eight other cats and Ginger Boy allegedly was banished because he was putting on extra pounds at the expense of his playmates.

First of all, having nine cats under any roof presents several obvious problems but perhaps none more so that ensuring an equal distribution of grub. Putting out smaller portions in additional food dishes would make it more difficult for Ginger Boy to make a pig of himself.

If that does not work, the next thing to try would be controlled feedings whereby the famished throngs are segregated and fed in different rooms with any leftovers being promptly removed. If available, a fenced-in and secure yard would be a good way to ensure that Ginger Boy gets plenty of exercise; if that is not feasible, it might be possible to train him to walk on a leash.

Furthermore, it is axiomatic that keeping nine cats puts a premium on sanitation and socialization. Miles therefore needs to put down at a minimum nine litter boxes and they should be emptied on a daily basis.

Each of the cats needs to be groomed several times a week and checked daily for illnesses and injuries. They each additionally require personal attention and petting.

A couple of weeks before Miles was reunited with Ginger Boy, Stephen and Heather Cope of Whitstable were celebrating the return of their eight-year-old tortoiseshell, Milly, who had disappeared from their Diamond Road residence back in August after tumbling out of a window. (See photo on the right.)

She was found on October 8th a few hundred feet from home at the residence of neighbor Charlie Place on Albert Street. Malnourished and exhausted, she was near death.

"She was in the middle of the garden and it looked like she must have been hit by a car because she couldn't really walk," Place told This Is Kent on October 17th. (See "ASBO Cat Comes Home to Whitstable.") "She hissed at me when I tried to approach her but I couldn't just leave her there."

Having seen the "Lost Cat" posters that the Copes had put up in the neighborhood as well as a news story about her disappearance in the weekly Whitstable Times, Place immediately contacted Animal House Veterinary Services in nearby Herne Bay who then reunited Milly with her family thanks to an implanted microchip.

"I don't think she would have made the weekend; she was on her last legs," Stephen told This Is Kent in the article cited supra. "It was sad because of the state she was in but now we've got our moggie back."

After a quick trip to Roger Baker's Veterinary Practice in Herne Bay, Milly soon was sitting up and eating again. "She's very wobbly because she's lost a lot of weight. She can only do a few steps at a time and then she has to sit down," Heather added. "We will just have to build her back up again."

In another classic example of politicians having gone completely off the rails, the Copes initially were threatened by a community warden with not only a fine but an Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO) as well for putting up their "Lost Cat" fliers. The Canterbury City Council later backed down and apologized.

The warden's asinine behavior left Stephen, justifiably, seething. "It's unbelievably petty and it has made us so furious. This person was a real job's worth," he complained to the Daily Mail on September 4th. (See "Couple Threatened with Spot Fine for Anti-Social Behavior after Putting Up Posters of Missing Cat.") "Milly is a member of our family, we're devastated she has disappeared."

During the interim, the Copes were assisted by retailers in their neighborhood who helped them to circumvent the Council's ban by displaying posters of Milly in the windows of their shops. This is a kindness that Heather has not forgotten.

"It just shows there are still some good people out there," she told This Is Kent. (See photo below of her and son Daniel with one of the offending fliers.)

Although Milly is expected to make a complete recovery, she will be forced from now on to share her turf with a two-year-old cat named Mango that the Copes adopted in early October after they had given up all hope of ever seeing their beloved tortoiseshell again.

Several common threads are readily discernible in the misadventures of both Ginger Boy and Milly. First of all, the fact that both cats were found nearby underscores the point that cats are territorial.

Consequently, cats usually do not stray too far from home unless they either have been abducted or accidentally transported out of the area inside either popular modes of conveyance or shipping crates. While cats have been known to undertake long and perilous journeys in order to return home, those cases are fairly rare.

Search and rescue operations therefore should be concentrated nearby. Since cats prefer to sleep during the day and to hunt at night, it is essential that aggrieved cat owners sacrifice a few nights of repose if they ever expect to see their beloved companions again. C'est-a-dire, if one expects to catch a cat one must first of all learn to think like one.

These two cases also demonstrate that "Lost Cat" posters do get results. "It was heartbreaking pulling the posters off the lampposts and (it) has seriously affected our chances of finding our cat," Stephen lamented to the Daily Mail back in September.

Internet postings and newspaper articles also are invaluable in helping distraught cat owners to locate their companions. The management of the Hornsey and Croch End Journal, the Whitstable Times, and the Daily Mail are therefore to be commended for their willingness to be of assistance in the rescues of Ginger Boy and Milly.

Implanted microchips are a good deal more problematic. Although they sometimes produce results, their efficacy is limited and they 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" and KVIA-TV of El Paso, November 6, 2008, "Cat Owner Upset over Microchip Mishap.")

Photos: Hornsey and Crouch End Journal (Ginger Boy and Miles) and Kent News (Milly as well as Heather and Daniel Cope).