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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

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Daring Rescue in the Sky Spares the Life of a Cat Dumped on an Overpass in Houston

"While we were up there, we were able to gain the confidence of the cat and bring it to our side of the pillar by coaxing it with some food, spending a few minutes just talking to it, and petting it."
-- Charles Jantzen, Houston SPCA

The number of cats deliberately run down and killed by motorists each year must be in the hundreds of thousands while those who escape with their lives but suffer debilitating injuries must be in the millions. (See Cat Defender post of March 5, 2007 entitled "Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Cat Named Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman.")

In addition to those individuals who make a sport out of running down cats, dogs, opossums, and other defenseless animals, there is yet another group of cretins whose ingrained hatred for the feline species is so malignant that it prevents them from either attempting to find alternative homes for their unwanted companions or even releasing them in the wild. Instead, they simply toss them out the windows of speeding automobiles on busy thoroughfares.

The vast majority of these horribly abused cats die instantaneously underneath the wheels of oncoming motorists while the remainder limp away to die prolonged deaths alongside the road. Only the truly lucky ones survive.

An nameless brown-colored cat from Houston joined that select group on February 11th when it was rescued by the SPCA from a six-story concrete pillar below the East Freeway. (See photo above.)

The rescue was made possible by the timely concern and due diligence shown by area resident Blake McGee who had first heard the cat's plaintive cries for help the previous evening. "I walked around that pillar for a few times, because I thought it (the cat) was on the ground but I couldn't find it," he told KHOU-TV of Houston on February 11th. (See "Crews Rescue Cat from Top of Six-Story East Freeway Pillar.") "So then I listened closer, and I realized it was above me."

Reading between the lines, it appears that the Houston Fire Department flatly refused to help while the SPCA must keep banker's hours because it did not respond to McGee's summons until the following day. Of course, abdication of duty is nothing new for fire brigades. (See Cat Defender posts of February 20, 2007 and March 20, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Stray Cat Ignominiously Named Stinky Is Rescued from Rooftop by Good Samaritans After Fire Department Refuses to Help" and "Bone-Lazy, Mendacious Firefighters Are Costing the Lives of Both Cats and Humans by Refusing to Do Their Duty.")

Once the SPCA finally decided to rouse itself, it procured a lift and an unidentified operator who elevated Charles Jantzen to the ledge where the cat was stranded. In short order the cat was plucked to safety, placed inside a carrier, and lowered to the ground. (A video of the dramatic rescue is available on KHOU-TV's web site.)

"While we were up there, we were able to gain the confidence of the cat and bring it to our side of the pillar by coaxing it with some food, spending a few minutes just talking to it, and petting it," Jantzen later told KHOU-TV in the article cited supra. "It realized we weren't there to cause it any kind of harm or danger."

Famished, dehydrated, and still crying, the cat was taken to the SPCA's shelter for medical attention and no additional information has been made public about either its condition or future. Hopefully, it either will be put up for adoption or sent to a sanctuary as opposed to being exterminated.

Jantzen theorizes that the cat fell through an expansion joint on the freeway and landed on the pillar. He also has stated that he believes the cat is a stray who simply got stranded on the overpass.

It is difficult to say with any certainty, but he likely is mistaken on both counts. The ease with which the cat was lured from the ledge strongly indicates that it is a domesticated feline rather than either a stray or a feral.

Secondly, it is hard to imagine any set of circumstances that would tempt a cat to scale a busy roadway six stories in the sky. A more likely scenario is that it was dumped on the overpass by a motorist and then inadvertently fell through a crack while attempting to avoid motorists intent upon killing it.

If that theory is correct, the cat joins a long list of felines who have experienced similar fates in recent years. In August of 2006, for instance, sympathetic officials in the Tirol section of Austria closed the five-kilometer-long Roppen Tunnel in order to rescue a ten-week-old black kitten with red streaks in its fur that had been abandoned there. (See photo above.)

Dubbed Lucky by her rescuers, she later was put up for adoption and no additional information about her is available. (See Cat Defender post of August 14, 2006 entitled "Austrian Officials Close Busy Alpine Tunnel in Order to Rescue Kitten Cruelly Abandoned by a Motorist.")

On Boxing Day of 2007, an orange cat named Freeway was tossed out the window of a speeding pickup truck on I-95 near Stuart, Florida. Thanks to the timely and successful rescue mounted by passerby Catherine Barton, he escaped with only abrasions to his face, nose, and ears in addition to a broken tooth. (See Cat Defender post of January 14, 2008 entitled "Freeway Miraculously Survives Being Tossed Out the Window of a Truck on Busy I-95 in South Florida.")

An eight-week-old black and white kitten named Trooper was not nearly so blessed when he was tossed out of an automobile on Route 168 South near the North Carolina and Virginia border on July 31st of last year. Although he initially had the good fortune to be rescued by Michele Laney of Moyock, his injuries ultimately proved to be too much for him to overcome. (See Cat Defender post of August 28, 2008 entitled "In Memoriam: Trooper Survives Being Thrown from a Speeding Automobile Only to Later Die on the Operating Table.")

Whenever ailurophobes are not disposing of unwanted felines in traffic, another of their favorite tactics is to stuff them into weighted-down sacks and cages and then toss them off bridges and overpasses. In late December of 2005, a famished calico cat subsequently named Lucky was tossed off a bridge into the icy Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana.

Fortunately for her, the cage that she was in landed on the ice and was spotted by a passerby on December 27th. She was the recipient of a second stroke of good luck when firefighter Josh Macrow later decided to adopt her. (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.")

A gray-colored mother cat from upstate New York has a dead tree and a concerned passerby to thank for saving her life after she was weighted down in a sack and tossed into the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet Creek in Newfield by a motorist on May 5th of last year. (See Cat Defender post of May 20, 2008 entitled "Malice Aforethought" Upstate New York Cat Is Saved from a Watery Grave by a Dead Tree and a Passerby; New Hampshire Cat Is Not So Fortunate.")

The tree broke her fall and the good Samaritan rescued her from the creek and took her to a shelter. Her kittens were never found.

With most motorists now in possession of mobile phones, it should be possible for the police to apprehend some of these criminals. Of course, the real deterrent value lies in judges that would be willing to severely punish individuals caught disposing of cats in this grossly inhumane fashion. Given the fact, however, that they are so seldom willing to punish even more egregious forms of feline cruelty, the prospects of that happening do not look particularly good.

As sickening as all of those horrific crimes are, they do not tell the entire story in that there are numerous Catherine Bartons and Michele Laneys of this world who go out of their way in order to save injured cats. To that impressive list of esteemable notables the names of Peter Whiting and Jo Laker now must be added.

Whiting is a forty-five-year-old resident of Norwich, north of London, who has been driving for First Buses for the past twenty-four years. At 6:40 a.m. on February 10th he was motoring down Fakenham Road in the Taverham section of Norwich when he made a grisly discovery. (See photo above of him outside his chariot.)

"It was dark and raining and then I saw a movement and a pair of eyes look up at me from the middle of the road, and I realized it was a cat lying there," he later related to the Norwich Evening News on February 14th. (See "Caring Bus Driver Hailed for Helping Injured Cat.") Without further ado, he pulled over, gathered up the cat, and took it aboard his stagecoach.

"It had some blood on its paws and its face and looked like it had been hit by the wheels of a car," he continued. "I was surprised it wasn't dead but we put it on the luggage rack, and I had to get two liters of soapy water from a house to wash the rack down afterwards because it was all messy and covered in blood. I think it has used up most of its nine lives with that."

Laker, a thirty-three-year-old mortuary technician from Taverham, helped to care for the injured cat while it was on the bus and later took it to Chapelfield Veterinary Partners in Wymondham. "A lady emptied a carrier bag and I put him in that to stop him moving about too much and put my coat over him to keep him warm," she told the Evening News in the article cited supra. "I gave him a cuddle and sat on the steps at the vets until it opened at 8 a.m. He was covered in blood and shaky on his feet."

The unnamed and still unclaimed black cat with white paws has been diagnosed to be suffering form a broken jaw and a concussion. Worst still, it may have sustained brain damage.

The good news is that the RSPCA has agreed to pay for at least part of its medical treatment and to attempt to find it a home once it recuperates. The latter may not be all that difficult a task in that Laker has consented to take it in if its owner does not come forward.

"...All the passengers on the bus were rallying around with tissues and things to clean it up," Linda Barrington-Smith, another passenger, related to the Evening News. "I thought it was really good that the bus driver had picked it up. It's nice to know that people care about animals to that extent. The whole bus was helping."

To their credit, transit workers in England have a long history of being kindly disposed to cats. (See Cat Defender posts of April 19, 2007 and November 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bus-Hopping Macavity Earns High Praise from His Fellow Commuters for Being the Perfect Passenger" and "Tizer Lands a Job Working for the Police After Ending Up at a Shelter Following the Death of His Previous Owner.")

Photos: WPVI-TV of Philadelphia (Houston cat), Tierschutzverein fur Tirol (Lucky), and Norwich Evening News (Whiting).