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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, January 02, 2012

With No Reason Left to Go on Living, Tredworth Resident Takes His Own Life after His Beloved Cat Disappears

"Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can't be true
That's all I've left of you."
-- Jim Croce

Although cats bring immeasurable joy to their human admirers, they also cause them considerable heartache. This is principally due to their brief life expectancies. For kittens, it is even a worse scenario since their tenures on this earth often are measured in days, weeks, and months.

Cats also have innumerable detractors who do not hesitate to kill tens of millions of them each year with impunity. That, too, is a constant source of considerable grief, not to mention outrage, for fans of the species.

Occasionally the loss of a beloved cat is enough to push an individual over the edge and that is precisely what happened to fifty-eight-year-old Alan Jordan of Daventry Terrace in Tredworth, Gloucester, who killed himself last March after his cat mysteriously disappeared. (See photo above of Daventry Terrace.)

The grisly discovery was made on March 28th by Graham Nicholson and his colleagues from the mental health crisis team of the 2gether National Health Service Foundation Trust. "I got around to the back of the house, and could see the shape of a body against a window upstairs and I realized it might be Alan hanging," he told The Citizen of Gloucester on June 17th. (See "Devastated Cat Owner Took His Own Life When Pet Went Missing -- Inquest.")

Having been made redundant three years earlier, Jordan lived alone and had been suffering from depression for some time. In fact, he previously had made multiple attempts on his life. "He had taken Paracetamol (acetaminophen) tablets, cut his wrists and tried to hang himself," his personal physician, Jonathan Unwin, confided to The Citizen.

As a consequence, the crisis team began paying daily visits to his home. For some unexplained reason, those life-saving visits were of short duration and the last contact that the mental health professionals had with him was on March 26th and even that was via the telephone.

Nicholson claims to have visited Jordan's house three times on March 27th but was unable to get an answer at the door. Instead of telephoning right then and there for emergency assistance, he inexplicably took no further action.

There is a good chance that Jordan already was dead by then but that in no way exonerates 2gether Trust's irresponsible behavior. It employs twenty-three-hundred professionals to serve the 761,000 residents of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and although that averages out to a three-hundred-thirty to one ratio, it still should have been able to find some additional time for Jordan. If it had continued the daily visits, or perhaps even institutionalized him for a while, he very well still might be alive today.

Quite obviously the mental health crisis team dramatically underestimated the detrimental effect that losing his cat was going to have on him. Despite mounting evidence of the therapeutic value of living with and caring for animals, many health professionals still do not take these mutually dependent, close and loving relationships seriously. (See Cat Defender posts of April 18, 2009 and May 18, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Blackie Stays Up Nights Monitoring His Guardian's Breathing for Emphysema Attacks" and "Elijah Teaches Himself How to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardians and Others.")

Still other cat owners credit their beloved companions with saving their lives by detecting cancerous growths. (See Cat Defender posts of April 11, 2009 and March 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Tiger Saves His Owner's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung" and "Taken In Off the Street by a Compassionate Woman, Sumo Returns the Favor by Alerting Her to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom.")

At Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a cat named Oscar not only has taken it upon himself to comfort the dying but has astounded the medical profession by being able to far more accurately predict when a patient is going to die than modern science. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2007 and May 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Visit from Oscar the Cat Means the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at Rhode Island Nursing Home" and "When Lovers, Friends, Health, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left.")

Mark Twain, who arguably was the greatest talent ever produced by this country, readily would have comprehended what Jordan's cat meant to him. "For where women and children are not, men of kindly impulses take up with pets, for they must love something," he sagely observed in Roughing It.

Unwin also was acutely aware of how deeply Jordan cared for his cat. "He was severely depressed, a problem which had come to a head three weeks before when he lost his cat," he told an inquest held in Cheltenham according to the June 16th edition of the Daily Mail. (See "Man, Fifty-Eight, Hangs Himself after His Cat Goes Missing...") "I contacted the mental health crisis team, who arranged to see him at home, and started him on antidepressant tablets."

In a modern retelling of O. Henry's famous short story, "The Gift of the Magi," Jordan's cat was found near his home a fortnight after his unfortunate suicide. Although disheveled, the cat is believed to have been otherwise unharmed.

Since no additional information has been made public, it is impossible to say what has become of it. Hopefully, its life has been spared and it has been placed in another loving home because it would be doubly tragic if society failed it the way 2gether Trust so obviously failed its distraught owner.

It is easy to understand why cats and other animals make such wonderful companions. "Animals are such agreeable friends," novelist George Eliot (née Mary Ann Evans) once said. "They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."

Cats, unlike women, could care less whether a bloke is as rich as Croesus or as poor as a beggar in the street. Likewise, whether an individual is as handsome as Adonis or as ugly as a mud fence daubed with misery means absolutely nothing to them.

They furthermore are unconcerned about what position a person occupies in society's perverted pecking order. All that matters is how they are treated.

As an added bonus for sheltering, feeding, and medicating cats, individuals often discover previously unknown insights into themselves and the world around them. "Jusqu' à qu'on a aimé un amimal, une partie de son âme reste non-éveillé," Antatole France once observed.

Carl Van Vechten put the matter in even more forceful terms. "There is, indeed, no single quality of the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage," he wrote in The Tiger in the House. Poet Christopher Smart even postulated that simply "staring at one's cat will fertilize the mind."

The late celebrated cat writer Lilian Jackson Braun also was well aware of the edifying potential of cats. "These intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends -- who are without hate, without greed -- may someday teach us something," she once predicted. (See photo of her above on the right.)

For all these reasons and more, it is easy to understand how the disappearance of his beloved cat led Jordan to take his own life. Even for those individuals who are more mentally resilient losing a cat is never easy.

In such cases, little remains except the pain and memories. Songwriter and performer Jim Croce summed up the poverty of losing a loved one with the following lyrics:

"Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can't be true
That's all I've left of you."

Sometimes cats leave behind a few other traces of their lives, such as paw prints and the telltale signs of cat typing indelibly etched into the fabric of old yellowed and unpublished manuscripts. Broken-down toys, bite marks on a favorite pen, and scratches on the wall from fighting with shadows are a few other precious mementos that only appreciate in value as the years slip away.

The big easy chair in the corner is, for the first time in years, now vacant but strangely enough one does not have any desire to sit in it. Then there is the half-empty bottle of fish oil capsules tucked away in a corner of the medicine cabinet. A mere rattling of it used to drive the beloved wild but now such behavior evokes only a deathly silence.

Whenever any of these sacred relics are stumbled upon time stops for a brief moment, the eyes mist up, and the sutured-up soul of a cat lover once again is torn asunder by the enormity of what has been lost and, tant pis, can never be reclaimed. If there is any consolation it lies in the grudging acceptance of the harsh reality that true love cannot exist without excruciating pain just as there cannot be May flowers without April showers.

Still, to have known the love of one or more cats during a lifetime is, despite all the sorrow, something pretty spectacular and more than sufficient a reward for having lived. That is no doubt what Charles Dickens had in mind when he once poignantly asked, "What greater gift than the love of a cat?"

Photos: Google (Daventry Terrace) and Fantastic Fiction (Braun).