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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, February 23, 2011

Frosty, Who Nearly Froze and Starved to Death in an Uncaring Capitalist's Frozen Food Warehouse, Was the Most Remarkable Cat of 2010

"What greater gift than the love of a cat?"
-- Charles Dickens


Two-thousand-ten was another tumultuous year for cats all over the world. Far too many felines shot to international fame in order to do justice to all of them; nevertheless, a handful of them stood out from the remainder either by reason of their accomplishments or the travails that they miraculously survived.

The bone-chilling cold played a pivotal part in the lives of, arguably, the two most memorable cats of 2010. First of all, there was Frosty who was condemned to spend five weeks in a Northamptonshire warehouse without either food or water where the temperature was a staggering -28° Fahrenheit. Then there was Annie who came within a hairbreadth of freezing to death in a Norfolk, Massachusetts, snowdrift. At the opposite end of the meteorological spectrum, a tiny kitten named Spinner somehow lived through being picked up and bandied about by a tornado that swept through Armstrong, Minnesota, in June.

As always, hit-and-run motorists exacted a heavy toll from such wonderful cats as Blacky in Seadown, New Zealand, Christopher in Redwood City, California, and River in Fairhope, Alabama. Bess in Swinderby, Lincolnshire, and Splat in Charleston, South Carolina, survived attempts made on their lives by their owners.

No year would be complete without its share of lost and found cats. For instance, a cat named Tiger Lily was reunited with her owner in Winnipeg after having been missing for as astounding fourteen years while beloved City Kitty disappeared from Naples, Florida, without a trace. Meanwhile, a legless cat named Callie Mae from Theodore, Alabama, became an inspiration for one and all through her indomitable spirit and will to live under extremely trying circumstances.

Sadly, there was not any shortage of horrific acts of feline cruelty in 2010. Most notably, a cat named Grace was shot between the eyes with a nail gun in Sioux City, Iowa. Valentine, an earlier victim of a dastardly bow and arrow attack by a self-proclaimed bird advocate, finally was adopted after having been forced to spend more than a year in a shelter because no one wanted her.

At the Berliner Zoo, Muschi lost her best friend and protector, a black Asiatic bear named Mäuschen, and now faces an uncertain and dangerous future. A Snowshoe Siamese named Ally lost her life in Billings, Montana, due to the callousness of both a capitalist and a shelter.

In Winnipeg, Sumo saved the life of a woman who earlier had taken him in off the street by alerting her to a cancerous growth on her bosom. The rags to riches story of the year belonged to Jock V who went from being a shelter cat to lord of the manor at Winston Churchill's old abode, Chartwell House in Westerham, Kent.

Finally, hotel cats were much in the news last year. Although Manhattan's Algonquin underwent many changes, Matilda was able to hang on to her job. Across the pond, Hôtel Le Bristol in Paris introduced Fa-raon as its new resident feline.

For previous cats of the year, see Cat Defender posts of December 21, 2006, December 25, 2007, January 25, 2009, and February 20, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Heroes and Victims: Sixteen Special Cats to Remember from the Year 2006," "Survivors and Adventurers: Fifteen Wonderful Cats to Remember from the Year 2007," "Sparkles, Who Was Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price for Belonging to the World's Most Abused Species, Tops the List to the Most Memorable Cats of 2008," and "Abandoned and Left to Die in the Cold and Snow of Wisconsin, Domino Was the Most Memorable Cat of 2009.")

1.) Frosty. Cat Survives Five Weeks in -28° F Warehouse.

Frosty

In January of 2010, a one-year-old tuxedo named Frosty became trapped inside an unidentified frozen food warehouse in Northamptonshire for five weeks. He was able to survive in his -28° Fahrenheit prison by eating frozen peas and licking the condensation off of the outsides of the packages, but the severe cold cost him both of his ears and tail. He additionally suffered frostbite burns to his nose and, most likely, his paws.

Inexcusably, both the warehouse and RSPCA knew of his predicament for considerable time before trapping and rescuing him. The warehouse was so cruel in fact that it did not even attempt to provide him with either food or water during the entire period that he was imprisoned.

Almost as egregious were the extraordinary lengths that both The Mercury of Leicester and the Daily Mail went to in order to protect the identity of the warehouse. Not about to be left out when it comes to cozying up to the money men, the disreputable RSPCA inexcusably was planning on allowing one of the warehouse workers to adopt Frosty. That is akin to returning a loaded pistol to a would-be assassin in order to give him another shot at his intended victim. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2010 entitled "Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its -28° Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water.")

2.) Annie. Norfolk Cat Is Revived after Nearly Freezing to Death in a Snowstorm.

Annie

Winter in the snow belt can be deadly for cats as a thirteen-year-old tuxedo named Annie from the Boston suburb of Norfolk found out last year. She was discovered emaciated and apparently frozen to death in a snowdrift on January 2nd by an unidentified Good Samaritan who telephoned Animal Control Officer Hilary Cohen.

"On first response, she appeared dead. She was cold, stiff, and unresponsive," Cohen said at that time. Nevertheless, she compassionately rushed Annie to Acorn Animal Hospital in nearby Franklin where the attendants miraculously were able to revive the comatose cat.

"I've seen different kinds of animal issues over the years but I've never seen an animal this cold be revived," Cohen later marveled.

Having read about Annie's near-death experience in the newspaper, her owners came forward on January 5th in order to reclaim her. She had disappeared in December and apparently was attempting to return to her previous address outside of Norfolk when she became trapped in the snowstorm. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2010 entitled "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer.")

3.) Bess. Lincolnshire Female Survives Two Attempts on Her Life in Order to Land a Job in a Bar.

Bess

The new year got off to a horrible start for an eight-year-old black and white female from Swinderby in Lincolnshire named Bess. On January 1st, she was stuffed into a carrier bag and dumped alongside a road.

Freed by a kindhearted man who was out walking his dog, she then was taken to a veterinarian who threatened to finish the job started by her previous owner if a new guardian could not be found for her. That was when Matthew Walsh of The Bugle Horn Inn in Bassingham came to her rescue by agreeing to give her a permanent home.

"Bess has already used up two of her nine lives, but she's settled in now," he later revealed. "She quickly got her paws under the bar, and she's ready to make her debut with the customers."

That should not have been a problem since Bess enjoys a mug of cold refreshment every bit as much as the rest of Walsh's regular customers. The only difference is that her tipple of choice is milk as opposed to John Barleycorn.

As an added bonus, she is said to get along famously with the pub's longtime resident feline, twenty-three-year-old Stumpy. (See Cat Defender post of February 25, 2010 entitled "Bess Twice Survives Attempts Made on Her Life Before Landing on All Four Paws at a Pub in Lincolnshire.")

4.) Spinner. Tortoiseshell Kitten Survives a Tornado.

Spinner

Natural disasters and inclement weather usually are little more than nuisances as far as individuals who are properly prepared for them are concerned, but for cats they can be a death sentence. A tortoiseshell kitten named Spinner learned that cruel lesson firsthand last June 17th when a tornado roared through rural Armstrong, Minnesota.

Covered in mud and plastered to a board on Curtis Peterson's farm, Spinner had sustained a broken leg and was near death. "She couldn't move and she couldn't meow," Dan Smith of the nearby Albert Lea Veterinary Clinic later recalled. "Her littermates were in the trees. They didn't make it."

At first, Smith considered cutting off Spinner's broken leg but later wisely decided just to mend it instead. "Three-legged cats have some appeal, but kittens have such small bones I was able to fix it quicker than I could have amputated," he explained.

The game plan called for Spinner to have spent several weeks recuperating at Smith's surgery before being put up for adoption in either late July or early August. "She's got a great personality for a farm cat," Smith added. "She's not a complainer at all." (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2010 entitled "Picked Up Off the Ground by a Tornado and Slammed into a Board, Spinner Sustains a Broken Leg but Survives Muddy and Unbowed to Live Another Day.")

5.) Splat. Thrown Off a Bridge, South Carolina Cat Is Rescued by Boaters.

Splat with Dennis and Karen Allen

Cat killers get their filthy kicks in all sorts of fashions, such as tossing cats off of bridges. That precisely is what happened to an already starved half of death cat named Splat on July 18th when she was flung off the Mark Clark Expressway Bridge in Charleston.

She landed in Clouter Creek and began swimming for the shore but it is doubtful that she would have made it on her own because the tide was against her. That was when Sunday afternoon boaters Karen and Dennis Allen intervened in order to pluck her from the current.

"I don't know how she's alive," Karen later marveled. "I didn't think she was going to live."

Initially, she thought of handing over Splat to the knackers at Animal Control but wisely had a change of heart. "She already made it this far. (She) ought to make it all the way," Karen added.

As a consequence, Splat was given to the Feline Freedom Coalition in Ravenel where she was scheduled to have been cruelly incarcerated for six weeks before being put up for adoption at PetSmart in West Ashley. (See Cat Defender post of August 9, 2010 entitled "Sunday Afternoon Boater Plucks Splat Out of Clouter Creek after She Is Thrown Off of the Mark Clark Expressway Bridge in Charleston.")

6.) Tiger Lily. Lost Cat Is Found Fourteen Years Later!

Tiger Lily and Ingrid Kerger

Three-year-old Tiger Lily disappeared without a trace from Ingrid Kerger's home in the Winnipeg suburb of Lockport on October 12, 1996. Kerger and her family eventually relocated to Winnipeg and she was forgotten.

"We thought a fox got her She just disappeared," Kerger later recalled. "We put up posters but she was never returned."

Imagine then the jolt that she received in January of last year when the staff at Oakbank Animal Hospital, located fifteen kilometers east of Winnipeg, telephoned her out of the blue to inform her that they had located Tiger Lily. "I was in shock when they called. My sons were incredulous," Kerger added.

Although noticeably thin and dehydrated, the prodigal cat was otherwise in pretty good shape. Against all odds, Kerger insists that Tiger Lily still remembers her and her two sons.

The identification was made not from a cancer-causing implanted microchip but rather from an ear tattoo that amazingly was still discernible after all these years. The improbable reunion never would have happened, however, if it had not been for the diligent work of the animal hospital which went far beyond the call of duty in order to track down Kerger and her family. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2010 entitled "Winnipeg Family Is Astounded by Tiger Lily's Miraculous Return after Having Been Believed Dead for Fourteen Years.")

7.) Callie Mae. Alabama Cat Is Getting Along Just Fine Without Any Legs.
Callie Mae

Back in 2008, pretty little Callie Mae was chased up a tree by a pack of dogs where she became entangled in electrical wires. She then apparently tumbled to the ground which resulted in the amputation of all four of her appendages.

Most surgeries and shelters would have extinguished her fragile life on the spot, but things are not done that way at Theodore Veterinary Hospital in Theodore, Alabama. Instead the staff nursed her back to health and today she is doing quite well without any legs.

A staffer has to scratch, groom, and brush her and she uses Wee-Wee Pads as opposed to a litter box but otherwise she is a normal cat. "She's a good kitty," the hospital's Sandy Tomlin said last year. "She even caught a mouse one time."

The only thing lacking in Callie Mae's life is a permanent, loving home. Until that happy day arrives, the tortoiseshell will continue to be an inspiration as well as a source of both pride and joy to the staff at the surgery. (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2010 entitled "Penniless and Suffering from Two Broken Legs, It Looked Like It Was Curtains for Trace Until Geoffrey Weech Rode to Her Rescue on His White Horse.")

8.) Blacky. Hit-and-Run Victim Gets a Wheelchair and a New Lease on Life.

Blacky with Louise Broomhall

Lawless motorists continue to kill and maim cats with impunity. For example, in the rural farming community of Seadown on New Zealand's south island a four-year-old tuxedo named Blacky was struck and nearly killed by a hit-and-run motorist last June.

The driver's criminal behavior cost Blacky his left eye as well as the use of his rear legs. Wisely and compassionately ignoring the cold-blooded advise of a disgraceful veterinarian, his owner, Louise Broomhall, decided not to kill him off but rather to buy him a wheelchair.

Although her decision was the correct one, it did not come cheap. The removal of his eye cost Broomhall NZ$2,000 while the wheelchair set her back another NZ$600. Needless to say, she and her family think an awful lot of Blacky.

"Certainly he means a lot to our family and this is why we love him to bits and will do anything for him and this just proves it," she said. "He appreciates everything you do for him."

At first, getting used to the wheelchair involved a fair amount of trial and error but he is doing considerably better of late. "His strength and determination is what's getting him through," Broomhall added. "We're very proud of how far he's come. He's just doing tremendously well." (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2010 entitled "Celebrated as the World's First Bionic Cat, Oscar, Now Has Been Turned into a Guinea Pig with a Very Uncertain Future.")

9.) Grace. Cat in Sioux City Is Shot Between the Eyes with a Nail Gun.

Grace

One of the most despicable acts of animal cruelty ever perpetrated occurred in May in Sioux City, Iowa, when a brown and gray cat named Grace was shot point-blank range between the eyes with a three-inch projectile fired from a nail gun. She amazingly survived the attack but it cost her the sight in her left eye.

"She was purring and wagging her tail," Animal Control Officer Jake Appel later recalled. "She just had a nail in her head."

Following an extended convalescence in the hospital, she was adopted by James Symons. "She's adapted really well. She's spoiled," he said. "She's real playful and she's alive and she's just a ball of love."

This horrific assault was greeted by the usual outpouring of self-righteous moral indignation from humane officials but, predictably, no effort was made to apprehend Grace's assailant. (See Cat Defender posts of June 1, 2010 and July 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Grace Survives Being Shot Point-Blank Between the Eyes by a Monster with a Nail Gun but Sioux City Authorities Refuse to Even Investigate the Attack" and "Grace Is Out of the Hospital and Has a New Home but Her Nail Gun Assailant Remains as Free as a Bird Thanks to the Authorities' Dereliction of Duty.")

10.) Muschi. Berlin Cat Is Left on Her Own after Her Protector Dies.

Muschi and Mäuschen

Muschi wandered into the Zoologischer Garten Berlin in 2000 and soon thereafter struck up an improbable albeit lasting friendship with an Asiatic black bear known as Mäuschen. They would eat, sleep, and sunbathe together and Mäuschen protected Muschi from her male counterparts who wanted to slaughter and eat her.

Except for an enforced separation that lasted from October of 2007 until June of 2008 while Mäuschen's quarters were being renovated, the duo was inseparable for the better part of a decade. The good times came to a sad denouement on November 16th when zoo officials elected to end Mäuschen's life at age forty-two.

The death of he friend has left Muschi all alone in a hostile environment without anyone to protect her from the male bears and other large predators. At last report, the heartbroken cat was still sleeping in Mäuschen's stall but, with space being at a premium, that arrangement is not likely to be tolerated for much longer.

Even more disturbing, the zoo is contemplating pairing Muschi with its world famous four-year-old polar bear, Knut. "Sie (Muschi) kann sich frei bewegen bei uns. Wenn ihr der Sinn danach steht, kann sie sich mit einem neuen Bären anfreunden," the zoo's Heiner Klos said last November.

Despite the roaring success of Muschi's relationship with Mäuschen, the pairing of domestic cats with bears is a terrible idea. (See Cat Defender post of June 19, 2006 entitled "Irresponsible Cat Owner Allows Declawed Tomcat Named Jack to Tangle with Black Bear in Northern New Jersey.")

Bears are not the only predators that Muschi has to fear in that the zoo's director, Bernard Blaskiewitz, has killed cats with his bare hands in the past. (See Cat Defender posts of December 4, 2010, June 30, 2008, and October 6, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Muschi Is Left on Her Own in a Perilous Environment after the Berliner Zoo Kills Off Her Best Friend and Protector, Mäuschen," "Berlin Zoo Reunites Old Friends Muschi and Mäuschen after a Brief Enforced Separation," and "In Memoriam: Thomas Dorflein, 1963-2008.")

11.) Christopher. Empathetic Cat Is Being Held Hostage for His Valuable Blood.

Christopher

A four- to five-year-old orange and white cat named Christopher went from the frying pan into the fire last year. His travails began in March when he was run down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist in Redwood City, California.

Rescued by kindhearted bicyclists Elizabeth Benishin and Wayne Smith, he was taken to Nine Lives Foundation's Feline Well-Care Clinic where he was diagnosed to have sustained a broken pelvis that would prevent him from ever walking again. He, however, astounded the veterinarians by soon regaining the use of his legs.

A little bit later he distinguished himself again not only by the amazing empathy that he demonstrated toward cats in distress but his uncanny ability to socialize homeless kittens. "It's weird! It's really true that he seems to understand things," Nine Lives' Monica Thompson related. "He knows when he can help. He alerts us when things aren't right about a cat."

Unfortunately for him, Thompson accidentally discovered on July 11th that he has Type B blood flowing in his veins. Since approximately only five per cent of all felines possess that rare blood type, he now is far too valuable for Nine Lives ever to put him up for adoption.

"(He) serves a purpose (at the clinic)," according to Thompson. (See Cat Defender post of November 13, 2010 entitled "Christopher, Who Has Persevered Through Tragedy and Given Back So Much, Is Now Being Held Captive for His Valuable Blood.")

12.) Ally. Supermarket Giant and a Shelter Allow Injured Cat to Die.

Ally and Chris Anderson

A lovely, ten-year-old Snowshoe Siamese named Ally arrived in Billings, Montana, on March 3rd as a stowaway in one of Albertsons' delivery trucks. In addition to being famished and dehydrated, she also had sustained severe hip and back injuries which would be consistent with the deliverymen having dropped a heavy object on top of her.

"The people at Albertsons didn't think she was in the truck for long, but we think she was," Billings Animal Control Officer Nancy Lindstrom said at that time. "Cats hide in amazing places, so she could've gone unnoticed for a long time."

Ally was handed over to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter (YVAS) which compounded an already tragic situation by failing to detect the presence of a deadly parasite in her system which caused her to become anemic. Instead, YVAS irresponsibly placed her in foster care and by March 9th she was dead.

Not having the decency to apologize for killing Ally, YVAS' Chris Anderson took refuge in philosophical babble. "The last three or four days of her life, we know that she was well cared for, well fed, watered, and warm," she pontificated.

Earlier, Anderson had caroled, "She wants to live! She wants to live in the worst way!" She would have done precisely just that if either YVAS or Albertsons had given her half a chance to have done so. (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2010 entitled "Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter.")

13.) Sumo. Former Stray Alerts His Rescuer to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom.

Sumo

Save an animal's life and it will repay its rescuer for the remainder of either his or her life is just an old wives' tale as far as most people are concerned but Judy Danchura of Winnipeg is a staunch believer in it. When she took in off the street an orange and white cat named Sumo in June of 2009 little did she know that he would end up saving her life.

One night while he was climbing in the sack with her, he accidentally stepped on her chest unleashing a sharp pain in her bosom. Upon examination the next morning, she found a lump in one of her breasts that later was diagnosed to be malignant.

Thanks to early detection, her chances of surviving are pegged at ninety-five per cent. Sumo's heroics are another telling argument against Bruno Chomel and Ben Sun's recent study that was sharply critical of individuals sleeping with cats and dogs. (See "Zoonoses in the Bedroom" in the February edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases which is published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and MSNBC, January 25, 2011, "Out of the Sack, Cat! Sleeping with Pets Carries Disease Risk.")

To say that Danchura is beholding to Sumo would be a gross understatement. "I don't know what my chances of survival would have been without him. I know I'd certainly be far worse off," she commented last year. "I sometimes feel overwhelmed because I feel humbled I can't understand why this animal turned up for me."

"What greater gift than the love of a cat?" Charles Dickens once mused only now Danchura acutely knows just what he meant. (See Cat Defender post of March 27, 2010 entitled "Taken in Off the Street by a Compassionate Woman, Sumo Returns the Favor by Alerting Her to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom.")

A year earlier, an eight-year-old orange cat named Tiger in Calgary also alerted his owner to a cancerous growth on his lung by pawing at his left side. (See Cat Defender post of April 11, 2009 entitled "Tiger Saves His Owner's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung.")

14.) River. Alabama Cat Survives Being Run Down and Nearly Drowned by a Motorist.

River

On October 4, 2009, ten-month-old River was out walking in Fairhope, Alabama, when he was struck by a hit-and-run motorist and knocked into the Bon Secour River. Saved from drowning by a Good Samaritan and rushed to the Fairhope Cat Coalition, he was diagnosed to have suffered a shattered pelvis, like Christopher, and a broken femur.

He then was forced to languish at the Cat Coalition's shelter for months until he finally was adopted early last year. "He is marvelous, social. He gets in the laps of people he doesn't know," according to Amy Boddie of the Coalition. "He likes cats and dogs. He's a very affectionate cat."

Most important of all, he has made a good recovery from the unprovoked criminal assault on his person although he is unable to scratch his ear with the leg that was broken. "He gets around, but not as well as a cat who hasn't been attacked," Boddie added. "I'm afraid he wouldn't be able to get away from something that wanted to get him."

Not surprisingly, his new, unidentified owners are reported to be extremely pleased with this handsome cat. (See Cat Defender post of April 29, 2010 entitled "Long Suffering River Finally Finds a Home after Having Been Run Over by a Motorist and Nearly Drowned.")

15.) Valentine. Victimized by an Archer, Idaho Cat Finally Finds a Home.

Valentine

One of the saddest and most disturbing stories to come out of 2009 was the intentional wounding of a two-year-old gray and brown cat named Valentine by a fourteen-year-old self-proclaimed bird advocate in the Boise suburb of Caldwell. Shot in the eye point-blank range with an arrow, she was left blind and deaf on her left side. Attending veterinarians also found evidence of prior abuse in the form of an air gun pellet that had lodged in her stomach.

Also diagnosed to be FIV-positive, she languished at Simply Cats' shelter for thirteen months until she finally was adopted sometime around Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, her attacker was let off with the ridiculously lenient sentence that he author letters of apology to both Simply Cats and the veterinarians who treated Valentine.

"This was not an accident. I think this cat had to have been held down," Sheri L. Schneider of Simply Cats said immediately after the wounding. "This person was a great shot to get it right through the eye. Either that cat was held down or tied down is my personal feeling."

The wider societal ramifications of such a brutal attack upon a cat has not been lost on Schneider. "It makes you want to cry, it's so disturbing," she later said. "It says a lot about society; it's heartbreaking. This cat was used for target practice and some people think it's okay." (See Cat Defender posts of March 5, 2010 and June 1, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Struck Down by an Archer and Shunned by an Uncaring Public for More Than a Year, Valentine Finally Finds a Home" and "Blind and Deaf on Her Left Side as the Result of a Bow and Arrow Attack by a Juvenile Miscreant, Valentine Is Still Looking for a Permanent Home.")

16.) City Kitty. Naples' Beloved Longtime Mascot Disappears.

City Kitty

A black and white female known as City Kitty had been a fixture at City Hall in Naples, Florida, for fifteen years until she disappeared without a trace in early February. Most days she could be found either relaxing in the sun or sitting in her custom-built white cat house.

"No one really wants to address this because everyone just expects City Kitty to show up and be here in the morning," is how Mayor Bill Barnett summed up the grim situation. "She certainly has been missing for a couple of weeks, (but) I don't think anyone wants to face the facts."

Although she was suffering from Feline Hyperthyroidism and arthritic hips, it is conceivable that someone could have kidnapped her and that she still might be alive.

Even if she does not return, Mayor Barnett intends to keep the welcome mat out for cats by continuing to offer them free food and water. In fact, an orange cat named Stewart and a gray and white one named, appropriately, Earl Grey already have taken up residence at City Hall. (See Cat Defender post of March 25, 2010 entitled "Mayor of Naples Fears the Worst Now That City Kitty Has Not Been Seen in Several Weeks.")

17.) Jock V. Chartwell House Welcomes a New Resident Feline.

Jock V

Even in death Winston Churchill still has his fair share of both admirers and detractors, but few individuals ever would dare to question his undying love of animals. It therefore was not any surprise that he stipulated in his will that there always should be a marmalade tom named Jock with four white paws and a matching white bib "in comfortable residence" at his old brick mansion, Chartwell House, in Westerham, Kent.

The tradition started in 1962 when John Rupert "Jock" Colville, one of Churchill's secretaries during World War II, presented him with Jock I. That cat, along with his namesakes Jock II and Jock III, have all come and gone.

Introduced to the media last autumn, Jock V came to Chartwell House at the tender age of nineteen months. Getting there was not an easy matter, however, in that before his elevation he was a penniless cat on death row at a shelter.

At Chartwell, he lives in one of the top flats and has the run of the entire mansion as well as its gardens. The public also will be able to meet him as soon as Chartwell reopens to the public in March.

"He is so cute and rambunctious," Alice Martin of Chartwell cooed last November. "He sleeps on his side with his head on the pillow and loves searching around." Oddly enough, he also likes water and will jump in the sink at every opportunity.

His meteoric rise from the bottom rungs of society to the very pinnacle is a true rags to riches story in the best tradition of Horatio Alger. (See Cat Defender post of December 10, 2010 entitled "The Hard Times Are a Thing of the Past for Jock V Courtesy of a Bequest from Beyond the Grave by Winston Churchill.")

18.) Matilda. Ragdoll's Job Is Secure at the Algonquin.

Matilda

When HEI Hotels and Resorts of Norwalk, Connecticut, sold part of the Algonquin to Marriott last summer it at first was feared that it was the end of the line for the Manhattan hotel's fifteen-year-old mascot, concierge, and mouser, Matilda. Her departure also would have heralded the end of a tradition that has seen the venerable lodging house have either a male cat named Hamlet or a female named Matilda in residence since the 1930's.

The hotel's Marissa Mastellone responded quickly by putting the kibosh to that malicious rumor. "She stays of course!" she declared. "She is what helps make us unique and signature enough to make the (Marriott's) Autograph Collection."

As a result, the ragdoll still can be seen relaxing in her chaise longue just inside the front portal. She also is still responding to all the fan mail that she receives at matildaalgonquincat@algonquinhotel.com.

Fed by one of the doormen, she has the run of the hotel with the exception of the kitchen and dining area. Each year she is given a birthday party by her appreciative co-workers at the hotel.

In 2006, she was named Cat of the Year by the Westchester Cat Show and in 2001 Val Schaffner penned a tome about her entitled The Algonquin Cat. (See Cat Defender post of October 16, 2010 entitled "The Algonquin Undergoes Changes at the Top but Management Wisely Decides to Retain Its Most Loyal and Beloved Employee, Matilda.")

19.) Fa-raon. Hötel Le Bristol Hires a Birman Kitten to Entertain Its Juvenile Guests.

Fa-raon

Hötel Le Bristol, located just off the Champs Elysées in Paris' eighth arrondissement, announced in November that it had hired a Birman kitten named Fa-raon in order to entertain the children of its upscale clientele. Born on May 24th, Fa-raon has been given free rein of the luxury hotel's public areas and gardens but usually is not allowed in guests' rooms.

The idea to bring Fa-raon on board was copied from London's Savoy and its famous resident feline, Kaspar. "Pour ne jamais avoir une table de treize je ne souviens que le Savoy ajoutait un chat en procelaine," Didier Lecalvez, manager of Le Bristol, explained. "J'ai donc eu l'idee d'en prendre un vrai."

In particular, Fa-raon's presence is designed to make the hotel more appealing to families. "Veritable ami et complice des enfants du Bristol, cette petite boule de poils leur apporte douceur et affection et contribue à renforcer harmonie et l'esprit familial du Bristol, une valeur incontestable de ce palace d'exception," a press release from the establishment declared.

Although putting up with the caprices of the spoiled brats of the rich never has been easy, Fa-raon so far has been a big success with both guests and staffers. "Les enfants l'adorent. Il est tout le temps pris en photo et câliné car il est doux et très gentil," the hotel's public relations officer, Mélanie Hubert, proclaimed. (See Cat Defender post of December 14, 2010 entitled "Hôtel Le Bristol Saddles Fa-raon with the Odious Task of Playing Nursemaid to the Spoiled Brats of the Rich.")

Photos: Daily Mail and SWNS (Frosty), The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro (Annie), Lincolnshire Echo (Bess), Geri McShane of the Albert Lea Tribune (Spinner), The Sun News of Myrtle Beach (Splat with Karen and Dennis Allen), Winnipeg Free Press (Tiger Lily and Ingrid Kerger), WKRG-TV of Mobile (Callie Mae), John Bisset of The Timaru Herald (Blacky with Louise and Izack Broomhall), Sioux City Animal Control (Grace), Die Welt (Muschi and Mäuschen), Nine Lives Foundation (Christopher), Larry Mayer of the Billings Gazette (Ally with Chris Anderson), CBC (Sumo), Amy Boddie of the Fairhope Cat Coalition (River), Simply Cats (Valentine), Lexey Swall of the Naples Daily News (City Kitty), Kent Online (Jock V), Algonquin Hotel (Matilda), and Hôtel Le Bristol (Fa-raon).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting Food in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats

Hannelore Schmedes Holds a Photograph of One of Her Cats

"Ich habe noch nie etwas gestohlen. Aber jetzt wusste ich mir keinen anderen Rat."
-- Hannelore Schmedes

Hannelore Schmedes and her twelve cats have been put through the wringer and there are, unfortunately, more difficult days ahead for them.

Things were going reasonably well for for the now fifty-five-year-old resident of the Mahlum section of Bockenem in Niedersachsen, approximately thirty kilometers southeast of Hannover, until she came down with tuberculosis and rheumatism in 1997. It is a good bet that the tobacco-polluted air that she was forced to breathe inside the casino where she worked in neighboring Hildesheim as well as the long hours that she was forced to spend on her feet, if indeed that was the case, contributed mightily to her sudden deterioration in health.

Reduced to being unable to get around except with the aid of a walker, she was forced into early retirement. Although she receives a pension totaling €380 per month plus a disability check from the state for €540, it never was quite enough.

One thing led to another and soon she had fallen behind in the rent and her landlord had instigated eviction proceedings against her. Compounding an already difficult situation, she had twelve cats to feed and medicate.

As a result, she took to shoplifting cat food from a supermarket in Hildesheim. New to a life of crime, she lacked the savoir-faire needed in order to be successful in her new livelihood and, not surprisingly, she was caught by a store detective who handed her over to the police.

"Ich habe noch nie etwas gestohlen," she vowed to Bild of Berlin on February 1st. (See "Arme Rentnerin geht für Katzen in den Knast.") "Aber jetzt wusste ich mir keinen anderen Rat."

The prosecuting attorney was not swayed either by that or the fact that the merchandise she had pilfered was valued at a minuscule €100. As a result, she was fined €600.

"Ich habe €250 abgestottert, versuch den Schaden wieder gut zu machen," she told Bild. "Aber mehr Geld hatte ich nicht."

She therefore was remanded to Justizvollzuganstalt für Frauen in Hildesheim fur thirty-five days, which she completed between October 23rd and November 26th of last year. During her incarceration, Tierschutz Hildesheim und Umgebung took possession of either part or all of her twelve cats and two dogs.

Two of her cats and one of the dogs were, with her consent, placed in new homes. "Nach der Haft bekommen Sie ihre Tiere zurück," the bailiff promised her in regard to the remaining ten cats and one dog. Little did she realize then that getting them back would not be quite that simple.

After completing her sentence, she was able to secure a new apartment in Mahlum but her landlord will allow her to keep only five cats and an eleven-year-old Schäferhund named Sally. The fate of the other cats has not been disclosed.

Two of Schmedes' Cats, Fienchen and Phil

Meanwhile, Tierschutz Hildesheim is demanding €400 from her for boarding her animals while she was a guest of the county. "Wir müssen leider in diesem Fall auf unser Geld bestehen," the organization's Sabine Oelschläger told Bild in the article cited supra.

That is money Schmedes insists that she does not have at the moment. "Ich kann das Geld nur in €50 Raten abzahlen," she told Bild. "Aber damit ist das Tierheim nicht einverstanden."

In June of last year, a seventy-five-year-old unidentified motorist in Maastricht was pulled over by the police for not wearing a seat belt. As they approached, she was observed discarding bags that later were found to contain cocaine and cannabis.

She explained to the police that she was forced into peddling drugs in order to feed the dozens of cats that she keeps at home. Fortunately for her, the police let her off with a warning after she promised to find some other way to feed her cats. (See D-News of Amsterdam, June 30, 2010, "Alte Dame füttert ihre Katzen als Drogenkurierin durch.")

She did not necessarily receive any preferential treatment in that the leniency shown her was in keeping with Holland's liberal drug laws. For example, cannabis is sold legally in coffee shops.

The precise reasons why both of these women were forced into breaking the law are unknown, but it is likely that the prohibitive cost of spay and neuter operations was to blame. After all, water is free and feeding one or two cats can be easily managed even for those on fixed incomes. There are additionally organizations in Deutschland, such as Tiertafel, that dispense free cat and dog food.

Feeding dozens of cats is an altogether different matter. Plus, vaccinations and veterinary emergencies are enough to send even a gainfully employed person to the poorhouse.

Unfortunate situations such as these easily could be avoided if municipalities offered free sterilizations. Not only would such a worthwhile public service save the lives of millions of homeless cats and dogs each year but individuals who care deeply about cats would not feel compelled to care for more of them than they are financially able to feed, medicate, and sterilize.

If they merely did nothing, Animal Control and shelters would round up and kill all homeless cats. Compassionate individuals who take in homeless cats therefore are worthy of society's support but instead all they customarily receive from the authorities is abuse and repression.

Like just about everything pertaining to animals, sterilizing cats is a racket. For example, veterinarians in the United States and Canada often charge up to $300 for these simple, routine procedures.

Sabine Oelschläger

In addition to unchecked greed, the cost is so high because veterinarians insist upon administering superfluous vaccinations, testing for various diseases, and implanting cancer-causing microchips. (See Cat Defender post of November 6, 2010 entitled "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is Time for Digital Angel and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law.")

The so-called low-cost spay and neuter services offered by humane societies and the SPCAs are not much of an improvement in that, on the average, they charge $60 in order to spay a female and $50 to neuter a tom. Like regular veterinarians, they also insist upon administering non-essential vaccinations as a means of jacking up the price. Many of them even add surcharges for painkillers and the disposal of the excised genitalia.

Additionally, they are nosey-Parkers who insist upon cat owners providing them with all sorts of personal data. In other words, anyone unable to pay the exorbitant prices demanded by veterinarians must be willing to dance to whatever tune the shelters call.

The only known organization operating in the United States and Canada that is making a real difference is PetSmart Charities of Phoenix. For instance, back in January it gave a grant of $39,950 to the SPCA of Wake County for the sterilization of cats and dogs living in downtown and southeast Raleigh.

"A good portion of these free-roaming cats were once owned, or they are one generation removed from house pets," the organization's Susana Della Maddalena earlier told USA Today on May 6, 2008. (See "Compassion Often Eludes Feral Cats; Groups Out to Save Them.") "We don't think it's fair to exclude them from help."

Even with that much free moola at its disposal, the SPCA of Wake County was not about to be denied its cut of the action and therefore charged $5 for each operation. (See News and Observer, January 23, 2011, "Grant Allows Low-Cost Neutering.")

If free sterilizations were available upon demand there no longer would be any need for Animal Control Officers, death camps that masquerade as shelters, and the manufacturers of sodium pentobarbital and gas chambers. The killing sprees of other merchants of death, such as private exterminators, also could be ended.

The politicians could solve this problem almost overnight if it were not for the fact that they do the bidding of the animal killers. That makes their and the capitalist media's denunciations of homeless cats and their caretakers all the more hypocritical.

Adding insult to injury, numerous municipalities have criminalized the feeding of homeless cats and even attempted to shutter cat sanctuaries. (See Cat Defender posts of February 26, 2007 and November 19, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap" and "Florida Ailurophobes and Politicians Are Attempting to Kill Two-Hundred Felines by Closing a Sanctuary.")

The anti-cat fervor even has spread to apartment complexes. Last summer, for example, eviction proceedings were instigated against an eighty-one-year-old retired tutor in Temple Terrace, Florida, because she had the temerity to show compassion for homeless cats. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2010 entitled "Old, Poor, and Sickly Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats.")

Photos: Bild (Schmedes, Fienchen and Phil) and Tierschutz Hildesheim (Oelschläger).

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Left Stranded by His Mother, Almond Finds a Home in the Hollow of a Maple Tree That Comes with Private Catering


"I'm not going to stop (feeding him), no. If I'm gone there will be someone here to take care of the cat. I'm not going to leave her (sic). I want to see how long it stays here."
-- Ron Venden


A handsome gray and white cat known as Almond has taken up residence in Ron Venden's yard on Highway X in rural Green County, Wisconsin. Even more astounding, Venden claims that he never has left the tree since he entered this world in June of last year. (See photo of him above.)

The sequence of events is not exactly clear but apparently Almond's mother gave birth to a litter of kittens in the tree last spring but for some unknown reason neglected to take him along with her when she pulled up stakes. The sixty-six-year-old retired carpenter, who now raises chickens as a hobby, discovered Almond's presence soon thereafter and took it upon himself to become his surrogate mother. (See photo of him with Almond below.)

With the aid of a twelve-foot ladder, he has installed an automatic kibble dispenser and twice daily treats Almond to a bowl of salami, meatloaf, and milk. (See bottom photo of the provisions.)

In order to make living in the maple bearable throughout Wisconsin's long, brutal winters, Venden cut a hole in its hollow and fitted an all-weather straw bed inside of it. He topped off Almond's winter abode with a combination tin and tar paper roof.

So far, the impromptu cat house that Venden has cobbled together has worked out rather well for Almond. "You can see the cat looks pretty healthy," he told the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison in a video on January 19th. (See "Cat Born in a Tree.")

Looks, as everyone knows, can be deceiving and that is especially the case with cats. In particular, if he never leaves the tree it is doubtful that Almond is getting all the exercise that he needs in order to prevent his legs from atrophying.

The inordinate amount of climbing that he does is definitely beneficial but a cat needs to walk, run, and gambol as well. It also could be the case that he has developed a psychological issue and is terrified of abandoning the security blanket provided by the maple.

Initially, Almond was wary of Venden's entreaties but the meat and milk eventually wore down his resistance. "At first he was real feisty at me, but soon he started letting me pet him and now he's as tame as can be," Venden told the New York Daily News on January 24th. (See "Wisconsin Man Finds a Cat in Tree, Builds Him a Shelter, Feeds Him Salami and Meatloaf.")

Understandably, Almond has elected to stick around for a while and that has not come as any surprise to Venden. "I think it's because I'm treating it too good," he proudly confessed to the print edition of the Wisconsin State Journal on January 19th. (See "Almond the Cat Never Leaves His Tree, but He Has a True Friend Who Watches over Him.") "I kind of enjoy it. The neighbors think I'm goofy."

It thus appears that Almond has found a lasting home with two guaranteed meals a day. "I'm not going to stop (feeding him), no. If I'm gone there will be someone here to take care of the cat," he pledged in the video cited supra. "I'm not going to leave her (sic).¹ "I want to see how long it stays here."


The most likely candidate for that job is his daughter, Tammy Sias, from nearby Primrose in Dane County who already takes care of Almond whenever her father is not at home. Her dad's compassion and newfound notoriety have, nonetheless, left her nonplussed.

"In his younger days, I would have never, ever, ever pictured him getting so attached (to a cat) in my life," she confessed to the Wisconsin State Journal. That profound attitudinal change most likely can be attributed to either the transformative power of cats or Venden's mellowing with age.

Nevertheless, Sias sometimes is taken aback when her neighbors stop her on the streets of Primrose and ask: "How's your tree cat today?"

Although it is a trifle unusual, it likely is true that Almond calls the maple tree home; the assertion that he never comes down is considerably more suspect. Although a reporter from the Wisconsin State Journal claims that there are not any visible paw prints in the snow, that in itself is far from being conclusive.

If the reporter had been operating on the level, she would have looked for urine and scat. Since Almond obviously is eating and drinking, the telltale signs of such activity should be easily enough to spot either in the hollow of the tree or on the ground below.

If not, he obviously is eliminating elsewhere and that most likely is away from the tree when nobody is watching. Besides, no cat defecates and urinates where it eats and sleeps if it has a viable option.

For his part, Venden insists that he has tried to coax Almond out of the maple without any success. "I've tried to bring it down a couple of times and it starts scratching," he related to the Wisconsin State Journal in the article cited supra.

Calling in the Fire Department in order to mount a rescue would be a total waste of time because firefighters in this country, as opposed to their far more obliging and responsible colleagues in Angleterre, do not rescue cats stranded in trees. (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.")²

The petit fait that Venden's residence is located five miles south of Belleville is another reason for concern because denizens there are still cashing in on UFO sightings that date back as far as 1987. The Belleville Chamber of Commerce even sponsors an annual UFO festival and parade that is held the last Saturday in October.

Although Venden does not appear to be the type, it is remotely conceivable that the Wisconsin State Journal could be trumpeting the part about Almond never having set foot on terra firma as a means of attracting tourists to the area. Even if it is true, no cat should be condemned to spend the winter outdoors in Wisconsin.

For example, current overnight temperatures in snow-covered Belleville have been as frigid as -8° F with daytime highs often struggling to reach even 20° F. Although Venden has made the maple as comfortable as possible, there is not any way that Almond could be anything other than miserable under such trying circumstances.


When contacted by the Wisconsin State Journal, Dane County Animal Control Officer Patrick Comfert insisted that Almond "should be fine" outdoors this winter. While it is true that a cat dubbed Frosty lived for five weeks without either food or water in a -28° F frozen food warehouse in Northamptonshire last year, his hellish ordeal cost him his ears and tail as well as frostbite burns to his nose and paws. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2010 entitled "Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its -28° Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water.")

In a roundabout, unintended way Comfert is correct, however, in that even living outdoors in the cold and snow is preferable to a jab of sodium pentobarbital administered within the warm and cozy confines of the death camp that he operates. Nevertheless, it still is appalling that residents of the Badger State are so unwilling to do more for their homeless cats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 8, 2009 and February 1, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Domino, Feral and All Alone, Faces an Uncertain Future in Wisconsin Following an Unplanned Trip to Arizona" and "Lovable Freddie Puts Tiny Wisconsin Village on the Map but His Affection and Good Works Are Unappreciated.")

Of course, respecting the rights of cats and other animals never has been the strong suit of Wisconsinites. Heading the list of feline defamers, haters, and exploiters is disgraced bird advocate Stanley A. Temple of the nearby University of Wisconsin at Madison. After all, it was his totally bogus report on alleged feline predation of birds that provided a large part of the rationale for a failed legislative initiative in 2005 to shoot and kill all outdoor cats.

Like his colleagues within the American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society, he is a barefaced liar. "I actually like cats," he swore with a straight face in a thinly disguised love letter that was issued as a press release by his employers at UW-Madison on January 27th. (See "Stan Temple: A Life Saving Threatened Species.") "But I never had one until we did this study (of alleged feline predation). He's twenty-one years old now and he still likes me, although for the first seven or eight years of his life I made him wear a radio collar to provide data for the study."

C'est-à-dire, Temple likes cats that he can control, subjugate, and abuse so to collect spurious data that he then uses in order to justify the mass extermination of scores of them. Such warped and dishonest thinking is akin to the practitioners of genocide professing their abiding love for their victims.

The slimy and utterly reprehensible university that pays him his welfare millions in order to slander, libel, and abuse cats additionally has been cited numerous times by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for violating the minimalist standards of the Animal Protection Act. (See The Capital Times of Madison, July 17, 2010, "USDA Inspectors Again Find Violations at UW-Madison Animal Research Labs.")

Vivisectors at the university currently are cutting up and torturing cats, dogs, sheep, pigs, monkeys, gerbils, mice, and other animals at more than fifty locations on campus. In return for their heinous crimes, the professors rake in between $200-300 million annually.

Obviously not contented with cleaning out their students' wallets and filling their empty noggins with right-wing establishment propaganda, the vivisectors require not only additional funding but the thrill of torturing to death defenseless animals. Numerous individuals are sans doute bamboozled by the lies spread by Temple and his colleagues but any serious examination of how these cretins think and behave soon will reveal them to be little more than criminals and welfare bums.

It therefore is clear that bird and wildlife advocates are peas shelled from the same rotten pod as vivisectors. Both groups assume that they have a God-given right to defame, subjugate, exploit, torture, and exterminate cats and other animals with impunity. Worst still, societies allow them to commit their dastardly deeds without imposing any legal, political, or moral constraints upon them.

If either any halfway legitimate animal protection group or prosecuting attorney could be found who would uphold and enforce the anti-cruelty statutes they soon would find themselves behind bars instead of abusing and killing animals on the public's dime. More to the point, if there were one legitimate anti-cruelty officer in Wisconsin, Temple's cat would have been taken from him long ago and placed in a loving home. To have stood idly by and allowed that monster to have abused it for such an extended period of time is in itself a criminal act.

Viewed against the backdrop of the crimes and callousness exhibited by his fellow citizens toward cats, Venden's compassion for Almond is all the more commendable. Hopefully, he will be able to do as good of a job of protecting him from his many enemies as he so far as done feeding and sheltering him.

Photos: Gena Kittner of the Wisconsin State Journal.

Footnotes:
¹There is considerable confusion as to Almond's sex. For example, the cat is referred to as he, her, and it in various media reports. The preponderance of references are, however, masculine.

²Cheap, nosey, and despotic Google, which owns Blogger, has removed some of the previous posts from the cache on the right. They still are floating around in cyberspace and can be found by entering their titles in most search engines.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Lovable Freddie Puts Tiny Wisconsin Village on the Map but His Affection and Good Works Are Unappreciated


"We don't have a mayor. We're in a presidential system. Our mayor is Freddie. Freddie the cat."
-- Jaymie Kunkel


An adult orange and white tom named Freddie has risen from the ranks of a down-and-out vagabond to become the unofficial mayor of the tiny Wisconsin village of Sharon, located near the Illinois line. (See photo of him above crossing the perilous street.)

No one seems to know where he came from; he simply showed up at Village Hall one day three or four winters ago and has been a fixture there ever since. "I would invite him in for a little while but felt bad for him because he didn't have a home and was always hungry and cold," deputy clerk and treasurer Jaymie Kunkel told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in a video on January 11th. (See "Love Affair with the Four-Legged Mayor.")

Kunkel began feeding Freddie and allowing him to sleep at Village Hall and soon be became a favorite with the ratepayers who regularly visit her office. "It's kind of warming to them to come into a place that they're paying their taxes or different things that people aren't always real happy to do and when they see him they are, 'Oh, you're the cat'!" Kunkel added. "He spreads cheer."

Given the fact that Wisconsin is infamous for its brutally cold and snowy winters, it is a good bet that he either was abandoned by one of the village's residents or dumped there by an out-of-town motorist because a homeless cat would not survive for long in such a forbidding landscape. (See Cat Defender posts of May 8, 2009 and February 20, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Domino, Feral and All Alone, Faces an Uncertain Future in Wisconsin Following an Unplanned Trip to Arizona" and "Abandoned and Left to Die in the Cold and Snow of Wisconsin, Domino Was the Most Memorable Cat of 2009.")

Freddie became even more renown once he began to make the rounds of local restaurants and, especially, the post office. "He's pretty much a novelty in town. If he is crossing the street and there are cars coming they tend to slow down for him," local postmaster Scott Vinke told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in the video cited supra. "They know he's got the right-of-way. So this is pretty much his town."

Vinke's sentiments are a breath of fresh air especially in light of how shabbily postal officials in Notasulga, Alabama, treated Sammy back in 2009. (See Cat Defender post of February 11, 2009 entitled "U.S. Postal Service Knuckles Under to the Threats and Lies of a Cat-Hater and Gives Sammy the Boot.")

It was not long until local residents began to refer to Freddie as the village's de facto mayor. "We don't have a mayor. We're in a presidential system," Kunkel explained. "Our mayor is Freddie. Freddie the cat."

Freddie thus has joined such other famous felines as Bootsie in El Cerrito, Caloo in Carlstadt, Tripod in Natchez, City Kitty in Naples, and Olivia in Modesto who have found not only homes but fame as well in local government. (See Cat Defender posts of March 20, 2007, September 22, 2008, November 28, 2008, March 25, 2010, and January 29, 2011 entitled, respectively, "El Cerrito's Bureaucrats Distinguish Themselves by Showing Compassion for a Waif Known as Bootsie," "New Jersey at Long Last Has at Least One Honest Public Servant and Her Name is Caloo," "Natchez Politicians Pause to Remember Tripod on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of His Death," "Mayor of Naples Fears the Worst Now That City Kitty Has Not Been Seen in Several Weeks," and "After Scrimping By in a Polluted Parking Lot for Eleven Years, Olivia Is Ready for a Loving and Permanent Home.")

All local politicians and bureaucrats that are willing to show compassion for homeless cats are to be saluted. Their behavior stands in stark contrast to national politicians who use cats and dogs as political props in order to further their careers and then cruelly get rid of them as soon as they are no longer useful to them. (See Cat Defender posts of December 24, 2008 and March 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Former First Cat Socks Is Gravely Ill with Cancer and Other Assorted Maladies" and "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")

Despite the numerous positive aspects of Freddie's association with Village Hall, his tenure there has not been all a bed of roses. In April of last year, for example, he was trapped by either a cat-hater or Animal Control and handed over to a nearby shelter.

He languished there for four months until an alert local resident spotted his familiar face on an online adoption service and contacted Kunkel who went and secured his release. Both he and Kunkel were indeed fortunate that he was not summarily executed by shelter staff during the interim.

Even more disturbing is the fact that neither Kunkel nor anyone else in local government cared enough about Freddie's welfare to even check with local shelters once he disappeared. As anyone who ever has lost a cat knows only too well, shelters and private exterminators are the primary suspects in such cases.

Furthermore, there is not anything in the record to indicate that Kunkel bothered to either put up any Lost Cat posters or to comb the neighborhood for Freddie. Apparently, she was too uncaring to even leisurely search online for him.

That she could feed and shelter him for three years and yet not feel a smidgen of either moral or emotional attachment to him boggles the mind. Thankfully for him, apparently not all residents of Sharon are quite so callous.

"He's just loving. He wants attention," Kunkel cooed in the video cited supra. It is just too bad that she was unable to reciprocate in his hour of greatest need.

Small communities like Sharon have their quaint charm but that does not mean that their inhabitants are necessarily any more compassionate and responsible than their big city neighbors when it comes to humanely treating cats. They very well may be adept at acting out the roles that they have chosen for themselves but beneath the surface they can be every bit as selfish and heartless as any hustler on Wall Street.

Considering Kunkel's glaring lack of concern for his well-being, it perhaps would be best if a loving home could be secured for Freddie. He has put Sharon on the map with his exploits but he deserves far better than he so far has received in return.

If they should decide to keep him, officials in Sharon need to realize that proper guardianship of a cat involves considerably more than merely providing food and shelter. First and foremost amongst these additional obligations is the moral imperative to safeguard at all times a cat's fragile life. (See Cat Defender post of January 30, 2010 entitled "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Driver while Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop.")

Photo: Seer Press News.