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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, May 18, 2012

Left Out in the Cold When the Medieval Hotel That She Had Called Home for Twenty Years Closed, Hilary Is Befriended by a Compassionate Northumbrian

Hilary on the Go

"She's been a big part of the hotel and village for so long that we simply couldn't let her go hungry."
-- Kath Lennon

Guests and staffers came and went but for more than twenty years Hilary was the one constant that never changed at The Lord Crewe Arms Hotel in the tiny medieval village of Blanchard in Northumberland. She played in the garden, slept in the boiler room, and was fed by the employees.

The good times came to a screeching halt at the end of January when the twenty-one room establishment, which dates to 1165, closed its doors. That left Hilary with no place to go and nothing to eat.

"I was in the hotel bar on its last night before closure and asked what would happen to Hilary," Kath Lennon, who is one of Blanchard's one-hundred-forty permanent residents, told the Daily Mail on February 20th. (See "Give a Mog a Home: Villagers Rally Round to Shelter Twenty-Year-Old Cat after Hotel Where It Lived Is Closed.") "Everybody wanted to make sure she was all right and I volunteered to feed her."

Consequently, she now feeds Hilary twice a day and brings her milk. She also intervened in order to make sure that the hotel's boiler room remained open so that Hilary would have a place to live and not be forced to rough it in the elements, which can get rather nasty this far north in England.

Although the state of her health has not been disclosed, the rescue plan appears to be succeeding. "She's a hardy cat and certainly hasn't lost her appetite," Lennon observed.

It is not known, however, what kind of psychological impact the hotel's closing is having on her. On the one hand, she might miss all the hustle and bustle and social interaction with staffers and guests but, on the other hand, she might just as well consider her newfound peace and quiet to be a godsend.

With cats it is not always easy to decipher their preferences. For instance, some of them suffer from separation anxiety, just like dogs, if they become too closely attached to their human counterparts.

Unlike so many uncaring individuals who not only callously abandon cats to their own devices without so much as a second thought but also hand them over to shelters and veterinarians to kill with impunity, that never was an option as far as Lennon was concerned. "She's been a big part of the hotel and village for so long that we simply couldn't let her go hungry," she told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.

The Hotel's Exterior and Shingle

That not only speaks volumes for her but it is considerably more than can be said for Garry Smith and his cronies at J&G Inns, which had been operating the hotel under a lease from The Lord Crewe Arms Charitable Trust. Even if compassion, common decency, and an attactment to auld lang syne were insufficient inducements in order to prompt them to make some provision for Hilary's continued care, bon sens alone should have dictated that she is one of the hotel's most valuable assets.

"Hilary is one of the village's best-known characters -- to both residents and visitors," Lennon declared to the Daily Mail. "People come around specially to say hello to her and visitors remember her."

As for the hotel itself, the Trust is in the process of finalizing a deal to lease it to Calcot Hotels. The two of them then are planning on renovating it to the tune of £1 million and reopening it in March of next year. (See Hexham Courant, May 14, 2012, "Million Pound Facelift Set to Revitalize Hotel.")

So far, the only particulars announced by Calcot are to reopen the front doors and to stock the hotel's bar with locally brewed ales. Beyond that it is difficult to imagine how many additional changes it is going to be able to make without spoiling the hotel's medieval motif which features, inter alia, stone fireplaces, ancient timber beams, and stone-flagged floors. As it is now constituted, it fits perfectly into the cityscape of Blanchard which has not changed all that much in the past two-hundred-fifty years.

Much more importantly, it is unknown what impact these and other renovations are destined to have on Hilary's situation. Hopefully, her needs and rights will be respected and she will be allowed to go on living there. Nevertheless, Lennon and her other supporters must remain vigilant.

As for Calcot and the Trust, neither of them have publicly commented on Hilary's status and that demonstrates not only a total lack of compassion and concern on their part but an absence of business acumen as well. She is a living, sentient being and therefore should count for far more than shekel accumulation.

It nevertheless is welcome news that the old hotel soon will be back in operation. Originally part of the Abbey of Blanchard, The Lord Crewe Arms boasts a history that is steeped in political intrigue. For example, monks used to hide out there where they no doubt also put the hotel's hidden stairways to good use.

During the 1715 Jacobite uprising, Northumbrian politician and landowner "General" Thomas Forster (1683-1738), concealed himself in the hotel's massive fireplace in order to elude his pursuers. To this very day local folklore maintains that the premises are haunted by his long-dead sister, Dorothy.

The Hotel's Famous Fireplace

In more modern times, poets W.H. Auden and Philip Larkin used to frequent the premises. It also has served as the setting for movies based on Dame Catherine Cookson's novels.

When it does reopen it is unlikely that Calcot will retain the establishment's old rack rates and reasonably priced food and booze. According to its web site, double rooms with breakfast for two could be had for as little as £75 during the winter months and a three-course lunch on a Sunday cost only £16.95 per person.

Hilary is indeed fortunate that she has Lennon to look after her because most innkeepers think and behave like J&G and therefore cannot be counted upon to show anything remotely resembling compassion to their resident felines. In addition to simply ignoring and abandoning them, some proprietors nakedly exploit them as a prelude to chucking them out in the street once they have outlived their usefulness.

One of the most egregious exploiters and abusers of cats in recent memory was the historic Anderson House Hotel, located one block removed from the banks of the muddy Mississippi in Wabasha, Minnesota. Beginning sometime in the 1970's and lasting until it went bankrupt and closed on March 19, 2009, the bed and breakfast employed dozens, if not indeed hundreds, of cats to spend the night in the rooms of guests.

Since cats are creatures of habit and belong more to places than to people, all of this bandying about and constantly being fobbed off on total strangers no doubt wreaked havoc with the orderly existence that they all so crave. More importantly, no one knows what sorts of abuse they were subjected to at the hands of both guests and management.

Their plight only came to light in 2008 when owner Teresa Smith went public in a crass attempt to pick up some new recruits on the cheap. In doing so, she let slip that she was giving the sack to a ten to twelve year old orange cat named Morris and a three-year-old black tom named Fred who had been on the job for only a year.

"I think he'd be happier somewhere else," she said of Morris. "He's a very loving cat but on his terms."

On the hotel's web site she was bit more forthcoming. "Morris is ready to retire -- can't handle the new kids on the block," she opined. "He loves attention but does not like to be picked up."

She alternately described Fred as a cat who "thinks he's a dog" and a "cool cat."  She also maintained that he was "very loving and will be great for anyone." By that she quite obviously meant anyone except her and Anderson House.

The Anderson House Hotel

Various reports on the web maintain that some of Anderson House's castoffs were adopted by staffers and local residents but even if that is partially true it still does not account for the majority of them. Specifically, it never has been publicly disclosed what eventually happened to Morris and Fred and their co-workers Mini Morris, Ginger, Arnold, and Aloysius.

The hotel can say whatever it pleases but it is highly unlikely that very many of its overnight cats ever lived long enough in order to die of either old age or natural causes. Moreover, none of them ever received a pension, a room in an old cats' home, or so much as a simple thank you for their years of faithful service.

Almost as outrageous, no animal protection group ever intervened on their behalf. (See Cat Defender post of May 15, 2008 entitled "Predatory Capitalism Rears Its Ugly Head as Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Sacks 'Overnight' Cats, Morris and Fred.")

In November of last year, local residents Brian and Rachel Yenter purchased the bed and breakfast and plan on reopening sometime this year but without any cats. (See Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce and Convention Visitors Bureau's press release of November 28, 2011, "Historic Anderson House Changes Hands.")

During the autumn of 2010, Hôtel Le Bristol, located just off the Champs Elysées in Paris, brought on board a handsome white Birman with beautiful blue eyes named Fa-raon in order to provide a source of amusement for the children of its upscale clientele. For the most part, however, he was not expected to spend his nights with guests.

There cannot be any denying, however, that he has been placed in a difficult situation and only time will tell  how long he is going to be able to persevere and how he is treated by both management and guests. (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.")

Of course, some establishments are prevented from being more hospitable toward cats because the local authorities stringently enforce health codes that bar them from premises where food is sold. For example, back in 2007 the Clipper Ship Inn in Salem, Massachusetts, lost its license to serve food because it kept cats. (See Cat Defender post of May 21, 2007 entitled "Salem, Massachusetts, Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During 1692 Witch Trials.")

In late 2011, the Health Department in Manhattan ordered the Algonquin Hotel to keep its resident feline, Matilda III, out of all areas where food is prepared and served. (See Cat Defender post of December 5, 2011 entitled "The Algonquin Cruelly Responds to Threats Made by New York City by Trussing Up Matilda III and Bombarding Her with Shock Therapy.")

Since the New York City landmark has been closed since early January for renovations Matilda has been forced into exile at an undisclosed location in upstate New York. She is expected to return once the hotel reopens for business on May 24th but the same restrictions that made her previous tenure so onerous will still be in place.

In spite of that, the hotel is planning on exploiting her notoriety by offering a special "Matilda Package" that includes a room for two, continental breakfast (a thimbleful of orange juice and a donut at most venues),  and cocktails for $329. Included in the deal are a stuffed replica of her, a mask, and a book about cats.

Instead of having the guts to stand up to Mayor Mike "Dirty Bloomers" Bloomberg and his administration's draconian anti-cat agenda, the Algonquin has elected to knuckle under and to suck the blood right out of  Matilda's veins. (See The Financial of Tbilisi, April 12, 2012, "Algonquin Cat Returns to The Algonquin" and New York Post, May 16, 2012, "Matilda to Waltz Back In.")

The most common form of abuse meted out to cats by innkeepers is that of unconscionable neglect. For example, management at the D-Sands Condominium Motel in Lincoln, Oregon,  allowed a cat named Marmalade to wander around its grounds for months back in 2007 with a prolapsed rectum.

The tom had been run down and injured by a hit-and-run motorist and then attacked by a raccoon that had killed his mate. More than likely, he would have died if Jennifer Spathis, a vacationer from Michigan, had not come to his aid.

"I think the amazing thing is he was in terrible shape for months and everyone commented on him, but it took one person sending out an e-mail to take care of the problem," Sharon Murphy of PAWS Animal Shelter in West Linn, which treated Marmalade, observed. As for him, the game plan called for Marmalade to be socialized and then put up for adoption. Failing that, he was to be made into a barn cat.

The superlative work done by Spathis and PAWS in no way excuses the motel's abhorrent neglect of this badly injured and grievously suffering cat. (See Cat Defender post of October 16, 2007 entitled "Tourists from Michigan Save the Life of a Critically Ill Oregon Cat Named Marmalade.")

Although it is difficult to gauge from afar how well a cat is being treated, it would appear from all the information available that a former stray named Roosevelt enjoys a rather happy and salubrious life at the Lake Quinault Lodge on the coast of Washington State. Not only has he been given free rein of the premises but he is allowed to accompany guests on hikes through surrounding Olympia National Park.

Plus, some employees think so much of him that they spend their breaks with him. "...he just loves it here," waitress Leslie Blain said in late 2007. "He's like a concierge. He goes on the deck and greets people. Everyone loves him." (See Cat Defender post of January 7, 2008 entitled "Roosevelt, Who Has Brightened the Lives of So Many Vacationers, Now Sets His Sights on Saving Other Homeless Cats and Dogs.")

Despite the value that all societies place on money, guns, and lies, life is really about values and choices and as far as cats are concerned that means respecting not only their inalienable right to live but their prerogatives as well. Through their words and deeds, Lennon, Spathis, and the Lake Quinault Lodge have demonstrated that they are on the right track; the same cannot be said, however, for either most individuals or the hospitality industry in general.

Photos: North News and the Daily Mail (Hilary), The Lord Crewe Arms Hotel (sign and fireplace), Minnesota Bed and Breakfasts (Anderson House), and News-Times of Newport, Oregon (Marmalade). 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Andrea's Incredible Survival of Two Gassings Plus Attempts to Suffocate and Freeze Her to Death Makes Her the Overwhelming Choice as Cat of the Year for 2011

"While this story about an animal's tremendous will to live is extraordinary, the practice of euthanizing animals in a gas chamber is all too ordinary. It is very disturbing to realize how many other animals have survived the gas chamber, only to be gassed again or, worse, placed in a plastic bag alive and left to suffocate in a cold cooler."
-- Community Animal Welfare Society

Cats never have cared much for notoriety but in spite of that many of them were catapulted by both events and circumstances into the limelight during 2011. Although many of their stories were indeed heartbreaking, it was, as always, a real pleasure to have been able to share a tiny bit of their lives even if it was only from afar.

As usual, abandonment issues were prominent. In particular, a tiny kitten named Blizzard was left all alone in an Oklahoma snowstorm while another one, Chabot-Matrix, found himself clinging for dear life to an ice floe in a stream in Maine.

A castaway later dubbed the Unsinkable Molly Brown somehow managed to make her way to Governors Island from parts unknown while Olivia continued to persevere in a polluted parking lot in Modesto. Meanwhile, in tiny Sharon, Wisconsin, Freddie was crowned as the town's de facto mayor after previously having been forced to divide his time between the street, Village Hall, and a local shelter.

Like all years before it, 2011 produced its share of cats who were horribly victimized by unspeakable acts of animal cruelty. For example, Big Bob of Indianapolis was not only shot by a gunman but also run down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist.

In Choctaw, Oklahoma, someone divested Deuce of his rear legs and part of his tail while in West Hartford, Connecticut, a tiny kitten dubbed Lucky had her mouth glued shut by an assailant.

In a forbidding park in Toronto, Half Mask continued to astound the world with her uncanny ability to successfully elude a pack of ravenous coyotes intent upon having her for supper while in Moncton, New Brunswick, Churchill survived being badly mangled in a kill trap. At the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens on Staten Island, long-term resident Gracie was able, with a little help from her friends, to fend off a sinister plot to get rid of her.

The Grim Reaper was his usual busy self in 2011. In Atlantic City, Snowball finally succumbed to the inevitable after somehow surviving for two decades at the infamous Underwood Hotel. In Half Moon Bay, California, handsome Marvin was betrayed and murdered in cold blood by a no-good, rotten journalist and a shelter.

In rural Wisconsin, Almond took up residence in a tree house built into a maple and refused to leave. In Bridport, Dorset, Dodger was introduced to the world as another of England's  famous felines who venture on to mass transit by themselves.

In London,  10 Downing Street welcomed Larry as its new resident feline but it did not take long before both Fleet Street and the prime minister's staff had out their long knives for him. The most amazing cat of the year, however, was Andrea who survived two gassings at a mass extermination camp in Utah.

As famous as all of these cats eventually became, they nonetheless represent considerably less than one per cent of all the remarkable felines in the world. Sadly, time and labor constraints do not make it even remotely possible to do justice to so much as a small fraction of them.

In a sense, it is seemingly always the best stories that, for one reason or another, go unwritten; consequently, a comprehensive understanding of the species remains every bit as elusive as attempting to interpret one of their smiles.

For previous Cat of the Year stories, see Cat Defender posts of December 21, 2006, December 25, 2007, January 25, 2009, February 20, 2010, and February 23, 2011 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," "Abandoned and Left to Die in the Cold and Snow of Wisconsin, Domino Was the Most Memorable Cat of 2009," and "Frosty, Who Nearly Froze and Starved to Death in an Uncaring Capitalist's Frozen Food Warehouse, Stands Out as the Most Remarkable Cat of 2010."

1.) Andrea. Beautiful Stray Somehow Survives Multiple Gassings at a Utah Shelter.


Because her story is so utterly amazing and tragic at the same time there simply is not any conceivable way that a black and white female known as Andrea ever could be denied the title of Cat of the Year for 2011.

Her life and death ordeal began in September when she was abducted off the mean streets of West Valley City, Utah, and taken to the local shelter. She was unjustly incarcerated there for thirty days before officials initialed her death warrant.

In mid-October, she was placed in the West Valley City Animal Shelter's (WVCAS) carbon monoxide gas chamber and administered a lethal dose of gas. When that failed to kill her, she was subjected to a second exposure of the deadly chemical.

Convinced that she finally was dead, her executioner sealed her up in a plastic trash bag and deposited her in a cooler. When the mass murderer returned an hour later in order to deposit the corpse of a dog that he had exterminated he heard a meow coming from inside one of the trash bags. Tearing open the bag, he found Andrea terrified but still very much alive.

Although it is not uncommon for shelters to either wring the necks or to drown animals that survive gassing attempts, WVCAS decided to give up the battle after its second attempt on Andrea's life. "It was just one of those things where they (shelter personnel) thought this cat obviously wants to live," is how Aaron Crim of WVCAS insouciantly summed up the situation. "Let's give it a chance to find a permanent home."

The fact that it took WVCAS two gassings plus suffocation and hypothermic attempts on her life to arrive at that conclusion is nearly as dumbfounding as Andrea's survival. From all of that it would appear that WVCAS specializes in inflicting as much pain as possible on the animals that it kills and only relents when it runs out of either patience or money.

Although Andrea initially experienced difficulties walking and using the litter box, it is believed that she did not suffer any permanent damage. Nevertheless, it is always conceivable that neurological, liver, and kidney maladies could manifest themselves later in her life. Also, it is not known what effect the gassings may have on her longevity and ability to reproduce, that is, if she has not already been sterilized.

She was handed over to the Community Animal Welfare Society (CAWS) in Clearfield which later placed her in foster care with Janita Coombs in Syracuse. "She's pretty tough, obviously," Coombs marveled. "She's definitely got some will to live."

On December 11th, Andrea finally secured the permanent home that she desperately has needed and deserved for so long when she was adopted by a local family. She now has joined a household that already has one resident female plus two toms. Hopefully, everything will work out for her and she will be able to put the past behind her and go forward into a long and happy life.

Instead of igniting a meaningful national debate on the immorality of killing cats, dogs, and other animals, the multiple attempts made on Andrea's life quickly degenerated into an esoteric discussion of extermination methodology in which the efficacy of gas chambers took center stage. "We've never had an instance like this since we started using this method so it does work," Crim boasted shortly thereafter. "It's actually very humane and it's very quick. This is just an anomaly."

Confidential records obtained by Coombs and CAWS under the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) quickly demonstrated that Crim is not only a diabolical mass murderer but a barefaced liar to boot. Specifically, the records show that between February of 2010 and October of 2011 WVCAS's gas chamber failed on at least nine occasions.

Presumably, those animals, like Andrea, were gassed a second time. It also is quite possible that some of them survived only to later die of either suffocation or hypothermia.

"While this story about an animal's tremendous will to live is extraordinary, the practice of euthanizing animals in a gas chamber is all too ordinary," CAWS stated on its web site. "It is very disturbing to realize how many other animals have survived the gas chamber, only to be gassed again or, worse, placed in a plastic bag alive and left to suffocate in a cold cooler."

In spite of the justifiably negative publicity that it has received, WVCAS defiantly remains committed to gassing at least fifty-one per cent of all cats and dogs that wind up at its extermination camp. "This issue has been examined closely multiple times since the shelter's construction," city manager Wayne Pyle said dismissively in January. "We're comfortable that the policy in place is a good one."

Despite the myriad of lies disseminated by Pyle, Crim, and other adherents of gassing, there is absolutely nothing even remotely humane about this method. The terrified screams of the condemned animals, the fights and wrestling matches that break out during these en masse executions of up to two dozen animals at a time, the blood left behind on the floor, and the scratches on the walls all attest to the horrible suffering that they are forced to endure.

Death seldom is quick in that asphyxiation can take up to half an hour. As a consequence, convulsions, seizures, and excessive drooling are common.

In spite of the diabolical nature of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gas chambers, there is absolutely nothing either humane or foolproof about injections of sodium pentobarbital either. More to the point, the entire debate over extermination methodology misses the point in that it is morally wrong for man to kill any animal.

Nevertheless, as long as Animal Control, shelters, cops, veterinarians, vivisectors, ornithologists, and wildlife biologists are allowed to commit their heinous crimes with impunity the killing is never going to stop. (See Cat Defender posts of November 12, 2011 and February 7, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Multiple Attempts Made Upon Andrea's Life Graphically Demonstrate the Urgent Need for an Immediate Ban on the Killing of All Shelter Animals" and "Long Suffering Andrea Finally Secures a Permanent Home after Incredibly Surviving Quadruple Attempts Made on Her Life by an Unrepentant Shelter.")

2.) Half Mask. Brave Female Is Under Siege from a Pack of Coyotes.

Half Mask

For more than a decade, a colony of twenty-five or so cats lived happily along the rocky cliffs of Bluffers Park high atop Lake Ontario in Toronto's Scarborough District. The winters usually were brutally cold and snowy but since their dedicated caretakers provided them with winterized shelters, veterinary care, and plenty of food and water they prospered in spite of the staggering odds against them.

"(I never have seen) a colony as plump, healthy, well-groomed and happy as the Bluffers Park gang," columnist Jack Lakey of the Toronto Star proclaimed in 2009.

The cats' good fortune ran out in February of 2010 when a pack of ravenous coyotes took up residence in the park and promptly devoured two of them. That forced their caretakers into staging all-night vigils in order to trap and remove them to safety.

"The days of the cat colony are over, one way or another," volunteer Robert Brydges stated the undeniable. "Those that we don't find homes for will be eaten."

Armed with sticks, flashlights, and whistles in order to keep the coyotes at bay, Brydges and his associates were able to successfully trap and remove twenty of the cats. Two of them immediately found homes while the remainder ended up in basements while they awaited adoption.

"All of these cats, although labeled feral, are tame and would make beautiful pets if given a chance," Brydges said at that time.

A courageous and free-spirited female known as Half Mask proved to be too wily for any of the trappers, however, and as a result has elected to stay on in the park by her lonesome for the past two years. Although she is still cared for on a daily basis by her many admirers, none of them can reportedly get within ten feet of her.

Even though she has been able to avoid the coyotes so far, there can be no denying that her continued well-being rests upon a hair that is even thinner than the one which supported the sword that Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, dangled above Damocles's head. She recently was befriended by a male named Tommy who visits her during the daytime and that, hopefully, makes her lonely existence a little more bearable.

Since it does not appear that her caretakers are going to be able to bring her in from the cold, the best that her many supporters around the world can do is to hope for the best. The only conceivable alternative for Brydges and his colleagues would be to provide her with around-the-clock protection but that, no matter how worthy an objective, does not appear to be in the cards.

In addition to the ominous threat posed by the coyotes, Toronto Animal Services and other ailurophobes have previously targeted cats living in Bluffers Park and could do so again in the future. A few years back, for example, someone baited the coyotes into attacking the cats by stacking roast beef, cold cuts, frankfurters, and dog food near their winterized shelters.

Should Half Mask ultimately succumb to the inevitable it would be, as Lakey so poignantly put it, "a sorry end for a group of cats that have lived peacefully in the park for many years and bothered nobody, except a few feline haters." (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2011 entitled "Ravenous Coyotes, Cat-Haters, and Old Man Winter All Want Her Dead, Buried, and Gone but Brave Little Half Mask Is Defying All the Odds.")

3.) Molly Brown. Intrepid Castaway Makes Landfall on Governors Island.

Molly Brown

Since cats are not permitted on Governors Island, it came as quite a surprise to security guards on April 17th when, in the course of making their rounds, they discovered Molly Brown near Soissons dock at the north end of the remote enclave. "We don't know where she came from," Leslie Koch of the Trust for Governors Island (TGI), which administer all but twenty-two acres of the island, said shortly thereafter.

Most amazing of all, Molly came through her hair-raising ordeal unscathed. "Her fur was a little matted," Koch continued. "There was salt in her fur. There was a piece of seaweed around her foot."

Based upon those tidbits of evidence, it has been theorized that she was swept into Buttermilk Channel from either Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, or New Jersey by the torrential rains that pelted the area that weekend. She then either swam or hooked a ride on a piece of flotsam to the island.

"Exactly how far a cat can swim is hard to say," Manhattan veterinarian Arnold Plotnick later said. "I suppose if your life depended upon it...Cats are pretty athletic. It's not totally incredulous. Cats can survive amazing things."

Nevertheless, there are several considerably more plausible explanations. For example, she could have been smuggled aboard one of the ferries that operate between Manhattan and the island and later abandoned.

She also could have arrived as a stowaway in one of the delivery trucks that use the ferries in order to resupply the island. It even is conceivable that she could have been tossed overboard by a boater sailing near the island.

Regardless of how she arrived on the forbidden island, it did not take Molly long in order to make her presence felt in a big way. "She likes to be petted. She visits all the offices," Koch related. "She has a very sweet personality. She's a total joy to be around."

Appropriately enough, she was named in honor of the heroine of the Titanic, the Unsinkable Maggie "Molly" Tobin Brown, who lived between 1867 and 1932. "Molly Brown is a great name," Koch's colleague, Elizabeth Rapuano, commented. "It captures the spirit of adventure, bravery and perseverance that she has brought to the island."

Every bit as perplexing as her abrupt arrival on the island, is her current whereabouts. On June 28th the Trust stated that she had been adopted by one of the ferrymen only to turn around on July 21st and contradict that assertion by reporting on its web site that she was still living on the island.

Hopefully, TGI will come clean one of these days and inform the public as to Molly's whereabouts but as for how she arrived on the island in the first place, that is a secret that she likely will take with her to her grave. (See Cat Defender post of July 25, 2011 entitled "The Unsinkable Molly Brown Rides the Waves of Outrageous Fortune to a Safe Harbor on Governors Island but It Is Unclear What Has Happened to Her.")

4.) Marvin. Sixteen-Year-Old Tom Is Betrayed by a Journalist and Killed.


For most of his short and tragic life, sixteen-year-old Marvin eked out a meager living in a parking lot on Stone Pine Road in Half Moon Bay, California. It was hard life to be sure but individuals occasionally left food for him and he had a companion, Mocha, for the last decade of his existence.

The chances are good that this handsome black, reddish-brown, and white tom still would be alive today if he had suffered the bad luck to have crossed paths with journalist and author Jane Ganahl back in 2010. Although there is not anything in press reports to suggest that she ever lifted so much as a finger in order to relieve his plight, such as by providing him with food, water, shelter, and veterinary care, she unilaterally decided sometime last summer that he should not be allowed to go on living for another minute.

In particular, she claimed that he was emaciated, his face shrunken, his fur in tatters, and that he had a mangled ear. From all of that she deduced that he was too old to hunt.

Not having the guts to commit the foul deed herself, she hightailed it to France for a holiday in August and entrusted the killing to the ever obliging Ken White of the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo and a woman identified only as Barbara. Consequently, they made quick work of Marvin by trapping him and killing him a few hours later.

"Others knew him, I did not," White later wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. "I was just there to help see him off, something I've done more times than I can count."

Those certainly are revealing admissions, especially coming as they do from a confessed mass murderer. White, quite obviously, does not recognize any discernible difference between snuffing out innocent lives and seeing off someone at the nearest railway yard. He additionally is such a megalomaniac that he firmly believes that his victims owe him a debt of gratitude.

Ganahl, who is co-founder of San Francisco's annual literary (or what passes for literature) festival known as Litquake, is every bit as morally warped. "Animals have so much to teach us about acceptance and forgiveness," she wrote in the Half Moon Bay Review. "I'd like to think I helped make Marvin's life a bit more joyful in the end, but the truth is that is just how he made mine."

That certainly is the truth in that she got a newspaper column out of her brief association with him and has announced plans for a tome about him and Mocha. As for Marvin, the only thing that he received in return was to be robbed of his life.

To top it all off, both Ganahl and White had the unmitigated gall to invoke religion in order to excuse their crime. (See Cat Defender post of September 28, 2011 entitled "Marvin Is Betrayed, Abducted, and Murdered by a Journalist and a Shelter Who Preposterously Maintain That They Were Doing Him a Favor.")

5.) Big Bob. Russian Blue Survives Attacks by a Gunman and a Motorist.

Big Bob

If there ever was a poster cat for feline abuse, Big Bob would be it. After all the abuse and neglect that he suffered during his first four years on this earth it is truly amazing that he is still alive.

Despite being a prized Russian Blue, Big Bob either was abandoned or became lost and as a consequence wound up eking out out an existence in a colony on the north side of Indianapolis that is maintained by Indyferal. His first brush with misfortune came when he was divested of his tail. That was followed shortly thereafter by his contracting of FIV.

All of that was merely an apéritif when compared to the evil that befell him in December of 2010. That was when he was first shot in the thigh by an assailant armed with a gun. As if that were not misery enough for him to endure, he shortly thereafter was deliberately run down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist.

One of his caregivers noticed that he was limping and brought him to the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) on either December 11th or 12th where one of his legs was amputated. It is unclear from press reports if the veterinarians were able to remove the shrapnel from his thigh.

In spite of all the hell that he has been put through, the good news is that his future is looking considerably brighter. "Once he's all healed up, he's going to be just like a normal kitty," Kristi Herr, HSI's veterinarian who treated him, later said. "He's just going to look a little different as he moves."

In stark contrast to what many of her unscrupulous and disreputable colleagues within the veterinary medical profession think and do, Herr appears to be an exception to the rule. "We believe once they get here the animals have value and we're going to do everything that we can to take care of the ones we have," she pledged.

HSI shelter director Christine Jeschke has been impressed by Big Bob's stoicism and forgiving nature. "He's purring, he's content. He is seeking attention and he deserves to be cranky and mean after all of that," she marveled. "He's so grateful to be here and alive."

Not too many cat stories have happy endings but this one breaks the mold in that Big Bob not only eventually recovered from his injuries but has been adopted by a family who is said to simply adore him. (See Cat Defender post of January 5, 2011 entitled "Gunned Down by an Assassin and Then Mowed Down by a Hit-and-Run Driver, Big Bob Loses a Leg but Survives and Now Is Looking for a Home.")

6.) Churchill. Homeless Tom Is Nearly Cut in Half by a Kill Trap.


The indiscriminate use of kill traps continues to take a heavy toll on cats. That was the gruesome and almost fatal lesson foisted upon an eight to twelve month old marmalade-colored tom named Churchill from Moncton in New Brunswick.

During the first week of December, the homeless kitten stumbled into what is believed to have been a body-gripper trap. Snared right behind his front legs, the trap sliced through the muscle right down to his abdominal cavity.

Despite the unbearable pain and extensive blood loss, Churchill somehow was able to extricate himself from the device. Then, to talk about going from the frying pan into the fire, he unwittingly stumbled into another trap.

This time around it was a humane one belonging to the Moncton chapter of Cat Rescue Maritimes (CA-R-MA) who, as luck would have it, was out trapping cats due to the unseasonably warm weather. Discovered by volunteer Madi Legere, Churchill was rushed to Vet Care Pet Hospital in nearby Riverview where Miro Drmac removed a significant amount of fur and dead muscle, sutured the wound shut, and placed him on antibiotics.

Perhaps most amazing of all, none of Churchill's vital organs were damaged and he is expected to make a complete recovery. "He's just as exceptional fighter," Drmac later commented. "He's a sweet cat."

Nonetheless, it was an awfully close call. "It would have been a matter of days (before he died)," Drmac added. "It was really bad."

Legere could not have agreed more with that dire assessment of Churchill's injuries. "Never an injury like that," she related. "The cat was almost cut in two."

Following treatment, Churchill was transferred to the residence of CA-R-MA's co-director Marlah Hoganson where he was expected to have remained until spring. The game plan then called for him to be offered to the public. In the unlikely event that no takers can be found for this beautiful cat, Hoganson plans on keeping him on as one of her many barn cats. (See Cat Defender post of February 1, 2012 entitled "Sliced Nearly in Half by a Kill Trap, Churchill Unwittingly Stumbles into a Live Trap and That Faux Pas Ultimately Saves His Life.")

7.) Almond. Wisconsin Cat Lives in a Tree House that Comes with Private Catering.

Almond and Ron Venden

A gray and white cat named Almond has taken up residence in a maple tree in retired carpenter Ron Venden's yard on Highway X in rural Green County, Wisconsin. Most amazing of all, he refuses to come down.

Born in the tree in June of 2010, Almond for some unexplained reason was left behind when his mother and littermates departed. Since then he appears to have developed some sort of phobia because Venden insists that he never so much as once has left the security of his arboreal home.

As soon as he learned of Almond's misfortune, Venden took it upon himself to supply all of his needs. Using a twelve-foot ladder, he installed an automatic kibble dispenser and twice a day he treats Almond to a bowl of salami, meatloaf, and fresh milk.

Since winters in Wisconsin are nothing short of brutal, he cut a hole in the hollow of the tree and fitted in an all-weather straw bed. In order to keep the elements at bay, he also fashioned a combination tin and tarpaper roof above the bed and feeding station.

Best of all as far as Almond is concerned, Venden is totally committed to his long-term welfare. "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 promised. "I'm not going to leave her (sic). I want to see how long it stays here. (There is considerable confusion as to Almond's gender.)

By taking this waif underneath his wing Venden has unwittingly left himself vulnerable to a certain amount of derision from ailurophobes. "I kind of enjoy it (taking care of Almond)," he confided. "The neighbors think I'm goofy."

Aware of Almond's need for exercise, Venden has attempted on several occasions to coax him out of the tree house without success. "I tried to bring it down a couple of times and it starts scratching," he related.

All of that likely changed as soon as Almond became sexually mature and started looking around for the companionship of a member of the opposite sex. (See Cat Defender post of February 5, 2011 entitled "Left Stranded by His Mother, Almond Finds a Home in the Hollow of a Maple Tree That Comes with Private Catering.")

8.) Olivia. Beautiful Cat Has Toughed It Out in a Parking Lot for Thirteen Years.


Olivia arrived in the parking lot that separates the Stanislaus County Men's Jail from Stanislaus County Superior Court in downtown Modesto in 1999 and has been a fixture there ever since. For the first five years of her tenure she was cared for by the current district attorney of Stanislaus County, Birgit Fladager, who shot to fame in 2004 with her successful prosecution of convicted murderer Scott Peterson.

When Fladager's success in the courtroom took her away from Modesto for a while, law clerks Kathy Fortune, Nancy Phillips, and others took over caring for Olivia. Since her culinary desires reportedly are limited to Meow Mix Original, that is far from being a complicated.task.

Nevertheless, her precious life is in constant peril from, inter alia, motorists, deadly auto emissions, and ailurophobes. Plus, winters in Modesto are rather cold while summers are blazing hot. Due to the city's totally inadequate storm drainage system, street flooding is another concern.

She also is getting on and therefore desperately needs a permanent home and topnotch veterinary care. Tragically, it does not look like anyone in Modesto is the least bit interested in providing this very special cat with a loving home.

The logical choice to adopt her is Fladager. "She still recognizes my car when I stop by some weekends to check on her and she comes running," she confessed last year. Nevertheless, even she has not expressed any desire to provide her old friend with a home. (See Cat Defender post of January 29, 2011 entitled "After Scrimping By in a Polluted Parking Lot for Eleven Years, Olivia Is Ready for a Loving and Permanent Home.")

9.) Freddie. Former Stray Is Now the Town's de facto Mayor.


In an American success story that rivals anything Horatio Alger ever had to offer, an orange and white former stray named Freddie has made quite a name for himself in the tiny village of Sharon, Wisconsin. "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," his benefactress, deputy town clerk and treasurer Jaymie Kunkel, related last year.

In addition to feeding him, she also allows him to sleep and hang out at Village Hall and in return his presence has boosted the morale of not only the employees but those who have business there as well. "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 confided. "He spreads cheer. He's just loving. He wants attention."

He has become so popular in fact that Kunkel and others now refer to him as the town'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."

His four-year tenure in Sharon has not always been a bed of roses, however. For instance, in April of 2010 he was trapped by an unidentified party and as a result wound up spending the next four months on death row at a local shelter. He likely would have died there if a local resident had not recognized his photograph on an online adoption service and in turn contacted Kunkel who bailed him out of jail.

Motorists are another deadly hazard that he faces every day. "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," according to postmaster Scott Vinke. "They know he's got the right-of-way. So this is pretty much his town." (See Cat Defender post of February 1, 2011 entitled "Lovable Freddie Puts Tiny Wisconsin Village on the Map but His Affection and Good Works Are Unappreciated.")

10.) Gracie. Long-Term Resident Weathers an Attack from the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. 


As far as it is known, Gracie has lived her entire seventeen years on the grounds of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens on Staten Island. Sterilized, vaccinated, fed, and watered by local volunteers, she stays out of sight most of the time and wisely avoids people.

Her stellar conduct has not proven to be sufficient, however, in order to keep her on the good side of the virulent cat-haters who operate the cultural mecca. For example, early last year an unidentified employee flooded her sleeping quarters underneath the stairs of Building G in an effort to drown her. That incident was followed by the theft of her food and water bowls.

Last summer, Snug Harbor finally took off the gloves in an all-out push to get rid of Gracie once and for all time. "We would like to make an appeal to the no-kill animal rescue and adoption organizations to help Gracie find a loving home, rather than leaving her in the unprotected outdoors," the organization's head honcho, Lynn Kelly, declared on July 21st.

There even was talk that Kelly was so desperate to get shed of Gracie that she was planning on having her trapped and handed over to the knackers at Animal Care and Control. The cat's supporters rallied to her cause and an online petition demanding that she be allowed to remain in the only home that she ever has known collected more than six-hundred signatures in four days.

That petition along with all the negative, albeit richly deserved, publicity that Snug Harbor engendered was sufficient, at least for the time being, in order to stay Kelly's machine gun hand. "I have confirmation that Gracie will be allowed to stay at Snug Harbor," Lila Levey of the Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare (SICAW) proudly announced July 31st on the organization's Facebook page. "Please know that Gracie is being closely monitored and any change will not be acceptable and we'll be sure to let you all know."

That certainly came as welcome news to Diane Figur of nearby Randall Manor who helps to feed Gracie. "She is like an icon there. Think of all the children and people that have passed her by; there really is something special about that cat," she said.

The leadership of SICAW is in total agreement with those sentiments. "She is a much-loved golden gal, and will enjoy her little porch because we gave her a voice when she so desperately needed one," the organization stated in the aftermath of the epic battle.

Nevertheless, Gracie's life remains in jeopardy because she is living in a perilous environment where she is not wanted. Even more worrisome, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington which hired and protected serial cat abuser, killer, and poisoner Nico Dauphiné.

The latest word from SICAW is that Gracie came through the winter in pretty good shape but she has lost weight and is having difficulties using her rear legs. In spite of that, she is said to be eating and purring.

Although any decision to uproot an elderly cat never should be undertaken lightly, it nevertheless is a shame that none of Gracie's supporters is willing to provide her with a secure and loving home. That is all the more paramount now that she needs to be placed on a special diet and under the care of a compassionate and skilled veterinarian.

On the other hand, it is perhaps just as well that she remain where she is considering the eagerness of rescue groups, veterinarians, and individuals to kill off elderly cats. Still, it is disturbing to contemplate that she is destined to die without ever knowing how good it feels to stretch out in front of a roaring fireplace on a cold winter's night, the pleasing taste of salmon accompanied by a saucer of milk, the softness of a warm lap, and the tender caresses of a guardian who adores and loves her with all of his heart. (See Cat Defender post of August 11, 2011 entitled "Gracie's Life Is Placed in Grave Danger after the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Attempts to Drown Her and Steals Her Food Bowls.")

11.) Dodger. Adventurous Cat Rides the Bus by His Lonesome.


The English dearly love their peripatetic cats and the latest in a long line of them to ride mass transit by themselves is a fifteen-year-old orange and white male known as Dodger. Named in honor of the Artful Dodger from out of the pages of Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist, he makes ten-mile roundtrips between his home on West Street in Bridport to Charmouth, both in Dorset, aboard First Bus. He also occasionally has been spotted taking excursions along the Jurassic Coast aboard the number fifty-three bus.

"We moved here nineteen months ago and our house backs on to the bus station," his guardian, Fee James, explained last December. "He is an old boy and is very friendly. Sometimes he just sits in the middle of the road and waits for the bus to turn up before he gets on."

The bus station's siren call likely is the sandwiches and other edible tidbits that are left behind by commuters. The attraction of the buses is a little bit more complicated.

Although the warm laps of obliging commuters and the tins of tuna fed him by the drivers are sans doute thoroughly appreciated, he also may suffer from Wanderlust. It also is conceivable that he is lonesome and seeking attention that is denied to him at home.

"He comes home and sleeps at the end of my bed and spends the rest of the day at the bus station," James readily admits. "He's absolutely fine."

Nevertheless, there can be no denying that James is taking an awful chance in allowing Dodger to roam the busy streets. Back in 2010, for example, another famous cat who liked to ride the buses, Casper, was killed by a hit-and-run motorist while crossing the street to the bus stop in nearby Plymouth.

In addition to cat-hating motorists, Dodger easily could be either poisoned or sickened while scrounging around for his next meal. It also would be rather easy for him to either get lost or to be stolen.

The only positive thing that he has going for himself is that First Bus has an impressive record of being compassionate toward cats. "The drivers have been asked not to feed it because we recognize that cat has an owner and we do not want to discourage it from returning home for food and shelter," a spokesman for the company said. "But in principle we do not have a problem with it being around the station."

The company also is remarkably forgiving when it comes to Dodger's persistent neglect of the farebox. "Given this cat is elderly we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed," the spokesman added tongue in cheek.

A far more sensible approach would be for James to take Dodger to the bus station and put him on the bus and to be there in order to collect him when he returns home. During the interim his safety would be the responsibility of First Bus. If she somehow could be prevailed upon to do a far better job of feeding and entertaining him at home, that might perhaps put a damper on his perilous roaming.

Cats are entitled to their freedom but, considering the myriad of dangers that they face, caution needs to be exercised as well. (See Cat Defender post of January 25, 2012 entitled "The Innocence of Lambs: Unaware of the Dangers That Threaten His Very Existence, Dodger Charms Commuters on the Bridport to Charmouth Line.")

12.) Snowball. The Doyenne of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Dies at Age Twenty.


It was a sad day for all cat-lovers in Atlantic City when Snowball died in August. Affectionately known as Grandmom to some, the gray and white female had lived beneath the pines at the gambling resort's infamous Underwood Hotel for two decades.

"When it was her time to pass, she went back to her original colony and curled up in one of the houses there," Amanda Casazza of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) announced in the charity's September newsletter.

Not a great deal is known about her other than that she early on carved out a reputation for herself as being a difficult cat to trap. Otherwise, she could be spotted either strolling down the pines near the Taj Mahal Casino or sleeping on the beach during the warm summer months.

Although ACA's dedicated volunteers made certain that she always had plenty of  food, water, and a shelter to sleep in during the wintertime, none of that obviates the fact that the Underwood is a dangerous place for cats. Flooding from storms and high tides, fires, the loud, nauseating music pumped out twenty-four hours a day by the gambling dens, dredging on the beach, and the replacement of planking on the Boardwalk all combined to make Snowball's existence far from ideal.

She also was forced to share her quarters with Atlantic City's large homeless contingent as well as with murderers, drunks, dope addicts, fornicators, and other undesirables. Considering all that she was forced to put up with, it is truly amazing that she persevered for so long.

"Grandmom's nearly twenty-year life at the Boardwalk proves that feral cats can live long, healthy lives outdoors and that there is nothing humane or necessary about killing them in shelters," is how ACA eulogized her. "While she will be deeply missed, Grandmom's long life continues to inspire us to advocate for policies and programs like the Boardwalk Cat Project nationwide, humane programs that allow feral cats to live out their lives in the outdoor homes they love."

In a dump that is world renown for crooks, hustlers, gangsters, and bums, Snowball was perhaps its only truly genuine article. The city therefore is all the poorer with her now gone. (See Cat Defender post of December 10, 2011 entitled "Snowball Succumbs to the Inevitable after Toughing It Out for Two Decades at Atlantic City's Dangerous Underwood Hotel.")

13.) Larry. 10 Downing Street's New Cat Is Facing Unstinting Criticism.


Rescued from the rough and tumble streets of London in January of 2011 by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Larry arrived with much fanfare at 10 Downing Street on February 16th. Malheuresement, it has all been down hill ever since for the handsome brown and white sterilized tom.

Instead of giving him time in order to adjust to both his new digs and the demands that come with being First Cat of the realm, Prime Minister David Cameron demonstrated his gross ignorance and callousness by immediately throwing him to the wolves that howl on Fleet Street. No surprisingly, when ITV news reporter Lucy Manning attempted to force him into posing for her he retaliated by scratching her arm.

In June, a peeler stationed outside the most famous black door in the world was photographed abusing Larry by kicking him in the rear end. That was followed by a torrent of totally unjustified whining from members of Cameron's staff that Larry had scratched them after they idiotically had sat down on top of him.

The most stinging and lasting criticism leveled against him pertains to his alleged lack of progress in getting the rodent infestation that plagues the prime minister's residence under control. In fact, some members of the irresponsible press have gone so far as to accuse him of sleeping on the job.

"I'm a big Larry fan," Cameron came to his defense by declaring in April of last year. "We have a big mouse infestation in Downing Street and Larry has caught some mice."

The lively, confident, and social cat with a strong predatory drive also has received a vote of confidence from Battersea. "I can definitely see Larry holding his own," the rescue group's Kristy Walker predicted upon his arrival.

Nevertheless, getting the mice under control is a big job that extends far beyond Downing Street and even to the Palace of Westminster, where both houses of Parliament meet. London is, after all, not only an old city but a large one as well so there always is plenty of food for the mice to eat. None of that in any way precludes the possibility that the politicians simply are wasteful and have sloppy table manners.

Despite his public espousal of support, Cameron in December  banished Larry from the private living quarters of his newly-refurbished flat.That totally uncalled for act has provoked sharp criticism from Labor MP Kerry McCarthy.

"Poor Larry is being treated like some servant from Downton Abbey (a television series)," he told the Daily Mail on December 28th. (See "The One Who Hasn't Got the Cream: Larry the Downing Street Cat Banned from Cameron's New Apartment.") "It is shocking that after all the publicity he is not even allowed to set paw inside the prime minister's flat."

That is not even half of the story! If press reports are to be believed, the filthy rich Cameron is so cheap that he steadfastly refuses to pay for Larry's food and veterinary care.

That in turn has forced members of his staff to foot the bill for Larry's upkeep. Adding insult to injury, a public fundraiser had to be held for him on September 7th and Angels of Shaftesbury Avenue has pledged to donate a certain percentage of the proceeds from the rental of its feline costumes to his care.

Even if Larry somehow should be able to retain Cameron's patronage, he faces an uncertain future because the prime minister's coalition government could fall apart anytime between now and the next round of scheduled national elections in 2015. Should that come to pass, Larry is likely to lose both his home and guardian.

With so much trouble and controversy swirling all about him, it is not surprising that Larry has turned to Maisy, who lives with Mark Wasil-ewski in nearby St. James Park, for comfort. "The two appear to be content with each other's company, sometimes enjoying meals together," a spokeswoman for the Royal Parks revealed last year. "An occasional mouse has been left on the doorstep, perhaps as a thank you."

Therein lies a clue as to Larry's alleged lack of productivity at home. That is to say, Wasil-ewski's gain might very well be coming at the expense of 10 Downing Street.

On October 13th, James Robinson published The Larry Diaries: Downing Street -- the First 100 Days which, sans doute, is destined to become the first of many tomes devoted to chronicling the life and times of the most famous cat in the world. (See Cat Defender posts of July 21, 2011 and November 28, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline" and "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

14.) Deuce. Oklahoma Cat Loses Both Rear Legs and Part of His Tail but Lives.


On August 15th, a group of children at a trailer park located in the 13500 block of Southeast Twenty-Ninth Street in Choctaw, Oklahoma, found a black and white male cat named Deuce with both of his rear legs and part of his tail missing. They contacted the Central Oklahoma City Humane Society which in turn brought him to Quail Creek Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma City for treatment.

Thanks to the emergency veterinary care that he received, he was back up and balancing on his front legs within forty-eight hours. "He seemed to have figured it out. He's compensating much better than we ever thought he would," veterinarian Beth Ruby said afterwards. "He's kind of a motivator out here. We figured if he can do it anybody can."

While examining Deuce, Ruby made an ever more startling discovery. Specifically, it appears that he had suffered his horrific injuries four to six weeks before he was discovered by the youngsters.

It accordingly is nothing short of amazing that he did not die immediately from the pain and trauma. In addition to those concerns, he easily could have succumbed to either an infection or predation.

On top of all of that, there was the persistent problem of securing food, water, and shelter from the blistering Oklahoma sun. He also had to somehow summon both the strength and will just to even drag around his badly injured rear torso.

"He's a total miracle," Ruby added. "To think a cat could survive an injury to that degree and then be able to live out in the environment without any kind of food or protection or any kind of health care for four to six weeks."

Although it is suspected that Deuce was the victim of a heinous act of animal cruelty, no arrests have been made in this case. It also is conceivable that he was deliberately run down by a farmer operating a combine.

The important thing, however, is that he survived. "I think it definitely pulls on your heartstrings," Ruby admitted. "I'm proud of him, I'm very proud of him. I think he's a major survivor."

He later was adopted by an unidentified volunteer with the Central Oklahoma Humane Society and is said to have adapted as well as can be expected to his disability although he initially did experience some difficulties  using the litter box and getting along with the other cats in his new home. Artificial limbs were considered but rejected owing to his dislike of having anything attached to his stumps.

Even without them he is able to get on and off of furniture and to climb a cat tree. (See Cat Defender post of September 6, 2011 entitled "Deuce Is Divested of Both His Rear Legs and Part of His Tail but Somehow Manages to Survive on His Own for More Than a Month.")¹

15.) Chabot-Matrix. Abandoned Kitten Is Rescued from a Stream by Hardhats.


On December 30, 2010, tiny Chabot-Matrix found himself marooned on an ice floe in the Pennesseewassee Stream just off Main Street in Norway, Maine. More than likely he had been cruelly and heartlessly dumped there by his guardian sometime after Christmas Day.

Being at about the end of his rope, the black and white kitten was pacing up and down and crying piteously for help when he was spotted by crane operator Paul Champagne of Chabot Construction Company. "I looked over and said, 'Do I see a cat?' We've to to save that cat!" Champagne later recalled thinking to himself.

Luckily, his boss, Tom Kelsey, agreed. "Just get him!" he ordered his crew.

At first the hardworking men considered using Champagne's crane in order to mount a rescue, but ultimately they elected to have John Schnopps wade out into the frigid water and bring Chabot-Matrix safely to shore.

Although the kitten, who amazingly was unharmed, wanted to remain with his rescuers, he ultimately was adopted by Chris Ryan who owns a beauty parlor at 426 Main Street. He now has joined two other kittens and a beagle who share her home.

His unusual moniker combines the name of the construction company with that of a certain hair product that Ryan uses in her business. (See Cat Defender post of March 25, 2011 entitled "Compassionate Construction Workers Interrupt Their Busy Day in Order to Rescue Chabot-Matrix from a Stream in Maine.")

16.) Blizzard. Tiny Kitten Survives Being Abandoned in a Snowstorm.


On February 1, 2011, Natasha Schroeder was motoring down Pawnee Street in Cleveland, Oklahoma, when she spotted two-month-old Blizzard buried in eight inches of snow. Meowing piteously, he was near death due to the cumulative effects of exposure and starvation. Plus, his tiny paws were cracked and bleeding and he had sustained an unspecified injury to one of his rear legs.

"It was shaking uncontrollably," Schroeder later recalled. "He could barely hold his head up."

Without hesitation, she scooped him up and wrapped him in a blanket before rushing him to Pound Pals. Upon arrival, he was wrapped in a towel and placed in a carrier.

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to determine what happened to him after that and the monster who so cruelly abandoned him is still at large. (See Cat Defender post of March 25, 2011 entitled "Compassionate Construction Workers Interrupt Their Busy Day in Order to Rescue Chabot-Matrix from a Stream in Maine.")

17.) Lucky. Kitten Survives Having Her Mouth Glued Shut.


The diabolical lengths that some individuals are prepared to go in order to kill cats and, especially, kittens continues to be an education in and of itself. For example, over last year's long Fourth of July weekend an unknown assailant glued shut the mouth of a nine-week-old kitten named Lucky in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Unable to either eat or drink for an undetermined period of time, the tiny kitten was so emaciated that it weighed less than two pounds and had a swollen eye to boot. She surely would not have been long for this world if her plight had not been discovered by an unidentified Good Samaritan who removed the glue and took her to Mary's Kitty Korner in nearby Granby.

"She (the Good Samaritan) was able, with a little bit of warm water and a towel...to pry it open gently," Lisa Shackett of the rescue group later disclosed. "And I think she was the one that really saved Lucky's life, because if she wasn't able to do that, who knows how long she would have lasted out there."

After being treated, Lucky was placed in foster care for a while before eventually being adopted. Her assailant never was apprehended. (See Cat Defender post of September 10, 2011 entitled "Lucky Is Saved from Starvation by a Kindhearted Woman after Her Mouth Is Glued Shut by an Assailant in West Hartford.")

¹Google has removed this post from the cache on the right but it still can be accessed by entering its title into most any search engine.

Photos: CAWS (Andrea), Scarborough Bluffs Feral Cats on Facebook (Half Mask), Trust for Governors Island (Molly Brown), Half Moon Bay Review (Marvin), Reed Parker of WIBC Radio (Big Bob), CA-R-MA (Churchill), Gina Kittner of the Wisconsin State Journal (Almond and Venden), Debbie Nada of The Modesto Bee (Olivia), Seer Press News (Freddie), Jay Somma-Hammel of The Staten Island Advance (Gracie), BNPS and the Daily Mail (Dodger), ACA (Snowball), BBC (Larry), KFOR-TV (Deuce), Chris Ryan (Chabot-Matrix), Natasha Schroeder (Blizzard), and, Cathleen E. Gonyer of Mary's Kitty Korner (Lucky).

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pregnant, Abandoned, and Then Deliberately Almost Killed by a Hit-and-Run Driver, Sugar Crawls Back to Her Subterranean Abode in Order to Feed Her Kittens


"Damned things. One shouldn't brake, one shouldn't give way to one's reflexes like that. Suppose there'd been someone behind me? It was only a cat."
-- Ruth Rendell, The Veiled One.

Sugar has been forced to learn the hard way just how cruel and murderous some individuals treat members of her species. Although her tuition indeed has been steep, she is one of only a handful of lucky felines to have lived through the terrible abuse meted out to them.

Her woes first began when her unidentified owner left her behind in the basement of a house believed to be located somewhere in Essex County, New Jersey, before hightailing it out of her life. As best it could be determined, the monster did not even have the decency to leave her any food and water.

On top of all of that she was pregnant. Four kittens arrived shortly thereafter and in order to continue to provide milk for them she had to eat and drink herself.

That necessitated that she venture out into the perilous streets of New Jersey where running down cats and other animals for fun rivals no-show and do-nothing public jobs as the principal occupations of the hoi polloi. Not surprisingly, it did not take long for a hit-and-run motorist to deliberately run her down.

Left with two broken legs and a fractured hip, she somehow summoned enough strength in order to crawl back home and to continue nursing her kittens. (See The Star Ledger of Newark, April 2, 2012, "Paw Prints: Kittens, Heroic Mom in Need of Homes.") 

It is not known how long Sugar was forced to languish in her subterranean home but her plight eventually was discovered and she was brought to the Homeless Animal Rescue Team's (HART) shelter  in Westfield where she underwent two expensive operations in order to repair her legs and hip. If it is true that every dark cloud has a silver lining, then the good news is that she is expected to make a full recovery.

Also at the shelter is her ten-week-old son, Elijah, and three of his siblings. Both mother and kittens have tested negative for both FIV and FeLV and are available for adoption.

Sugar's heroics and dedication to her family recalls to mind the valor exhibited by a two-year-old black and white female named Scarlett in the spring of 1996 when she made five trips into a burning garage in Brooklyn in order to rescue her quintuplet of four-week-old kittens. Her heroism made her world famous but she was forced to pay an exorbitant price for her notoriety.


Specifically, she lost both of her eyelids and the tips of her ears. Her paws were singed by the inferno and patches of her fur never did grow back.

From that day forward her eyes had to be medicated several times a day in order to keep them moist. She also no doubt was forced  to live with a certain amount of pain.

In later years she was afflicted with lymphoma, kidney trouble, a heart murmur, dental woes, and a thyroid condition. Finally on October 11, 2008, she was killed off by her owner, Karen Wellen of Long Island, who had adopted her in 1996. (See Cat Defender posts of September 15, 2005 and October 27, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Scarlett, the Cat Who Saved Her Kittens from a Burning Building in 1996, Is Still Alive on Long Island" and "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill.")

Although one of her kittens died of smoke inhalation shortly after being rescued, Oreo, Cinders, Samsara, and Tanuki were, at last word, still alive and living on Long Island. Perhaps therein lies Scarlett's most lasting legacy although even that likely will come to bitter end with their deaths.

That is precisely what is most unfair about shelters sterilizing all cats because there are incalculable benefits to be derived from continuing the bloodline of a beloved cat. Not only is it possible to see resemblances and personality traits of departed loved ones in their offspring but such a policy completely eliminates the need for cloning. (See Cat Defender posts of October 16, 2006 and January 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Unable to Turn a Profit, California Cat-Cloning Company Goes Out of Business" and "World's First Cloned Cat, CC, Finally Gives Birth to Three Healthy Kittens at Age Five.")

In June of 2008, an heroic cat named Phoenix suffered severe burns to her paws while rescuing her kitten, Blaze, from the Humboldt Fire which damaged seventeen houses in Paradise, California, and forced the evacuation of ninety-five-hundred residents. Later, she graciously consented to nurse six additional kittens who had been orphaned by the wildfire. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2008 entitled "Phoenix Is Severely Burned but Still Manages to Save One of Her Kittens from the Humboldt Fire.") 

The extraordinary heroics of mother cats are by no means limited to protecting their offspring from starvation and conflagrations. For instance, at a recycling plant in Düsen, outside Dortmund in Nordrhein Westfalen, a sick and severely emaciated cat known only as Katzen-Mama was forced in 2009 to fend off a rapacious fox in order to save the lives of her four, eight-week-old kittens.

As was the case with Sugar, Scarlett, and Phoenix, the rescue did not come cheap in that the fox inflicted several severe bite wounds to Katzen-Mama's side and head and as a consequence she likely would have died from an infection if her caregiver had not summoned Arche 90 in Dortmund which in turn brought her to veterinarian Malinda Wächter to be treated. "Eine Mutter mit einem Löwenherz," is how the rescue group's Gabi Bayer later characterized Katzen-Mama. (See Cat Defender post of June 26, 2009 entitled "Emaciated and Suffering from the Flu, Katzen-Mama Fights Off a Vicious Fox in Order to Save Her Four Kittens.")

The most famous feline heroine in recent memory is, arguably, a fictional one named Clara who was featured in a classic episode of Escape entitled "A Shipment of Mute Fate" which aired on radio at least four times between the late 1940's and 1960. Written originally by Martin Storm for Esquire, it is the story of a zoologist named Chris Warner who smuggles a South American Bushmaster (Lachesis muta) aboard a passenger ship bound from Caracas to New York City.

Predictably, the deadly reptile escapes and eventually corners Warner. Just when he thinks that he has met his Waterloo, Clara emerges and claws out the snake's eyes in order to save her trio of newborn kittens.

In a chain of events similar to those that befell Sugar, the ship's chief steward, Bowman, originally had ordered Clara's guardian, a stewardess named Mrs. Willis, to abandon the pregnant cat in Venezuela. She instead wisely and humanely defied authority and smuggled Clara aboard and in doing so saved not only her companion's life and her three kittens but Warner's as well.

The lesson to be derived from the trials and tribulations of both Sugar and Clara is that feline life always should be respected. (Escape's March 13, 1949 adaptation of "A Shipment of Mute Fate" along with Suspense's January 6, 1957 version can be found at various locations on the web.)

Because they are such exceptional animals, cats often are adored every bit as much by fans of the species as they in turn love their young. For example, retired college tutor Jeanne Ambler of the Tampa suburb of Temple Terrace was willing to risk being evicted from her apartment in order to care for a group of 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.") 

Retired English teacher Janice L. Rolfe of Grandview Heights, Ohio, actually was arrested in late 2006 for feeding a homeless cat. (See Cat Defender post of February 26, 2007 entitled "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap.")

Even more outrageously, John Beck of Cornell University was fired from his job as a dairyman for showing compassion for homeless cats. (See Cat Defender post of June 14, 2006 entitled "Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University.")


Others even are willing to put their lives on the line in order to save cats. For instance, when she witnessed a pair of women tossing kittens out the window of their car on the busy East-West Connector in Cobb County, Georgia, back in 2009, twenty-eight-year-old Rachel Honeycutt did not think twice about stopping and mounting a rescue. Mowed down by a hit-and-run motorist, her valor came within a hairbreadth of killing her. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2009 entitled "Georgia Woman Is Struck and Nearly Killed by a Motorist while Attempting to Rescue Kittens Dumped in the Middle of a Busy

In rare cases, either the disappearance or death of a beloved cat is sufficient in order to push an individual over the edge. That, sadly, is what happened to Alan Jordan of Treadworth in Gloucester in March of last year. (See Cat Defender post of January 2, 2012 entitled "With No Reason Left to Go on Living, Treadworth Resident Takes His Own Life after His Beloved Cat Disappears.")

In the case of Sugar and the countless other cats that are either killed or maimed by hit-and-run drivers every day, there is not a scintilla of doubt that all of these attacks are deliberate. The toll that these villains take on wildlife, especially birds, raccoons, opossums, deer, turtles, bobcats, and cougars, is far greater but rarely is a word of protest ever uttered by wildlife biologists.

"Damned things," police inspector Mike Burden cursed after instinctively braking in order to narrowly miss running down a cat in Ruth Rendell's 1988 novel, The Veiled One. "One shouldn't brake, one shouldn't give way to one's reflexes like that. Suppose there'd been someone behind me? It was only a cat."

After she had abducted  Darryl and Stephanie Andrews-Mann's cat, Lola, and stuffed her into a trash can back in 2010, Mary Bale of Coventry invoked the same defense. Shortly thereafter, Michele Hanson issued a fitting rejoinder to her, Rendell, and all others who think and behave as they do.

"Nothing will happen, while too many people feel like Mary Bale," she wrote in The Guardian on August 28, 2010. (See "Cat Litter Episode Shows How Our Pets Are Both Protected and Persecuted.") "'It's only a cat,' said she. It's the 'only' that's the problem: they're only animals, and we're the only species that matters. But we're not."

The horrific toll that motorists take on cats like Sugar, wildlife, pedestrians, and bicyclists obscures the undeniable reality that the automobile is an invention whose time has come and gone. Once the wholesale carnage wreaked upon the nations and animals of this world as the result of America's imperialist wars for petrol, the destruction done to Mother Earth from oil drilling and natural gas exploration, the contribution made to global warming as the result of auto emissions, and the adverse health effects associated with the burning of fossil fuels are taken into consideration it becomes clear that the automobile is an extravagance that the world can no longer afford.

Katzen-Mama and Malinda Wächter

To top it all off, motorists steadfastly refuse to obey the rules of the road and to stay off the booze, drugs, and telephone when behind the wheel. Considering the catastrophic damage that they inflict upon the environment, animals, and public health, they should be willing, at the very least, to operate their vehicles in a safe manner.

Compounding matters further, the police purposefully allow anarchy to prevail on the roads. The only times that they even bother to put in an appearance is in the aftermath of an accident and then it is only in order to collect an assist in much the same fashion as hockey and basketball players do whenever a goal is scored.

In turn, they use these so-called assists in order to lobby their compliant supervisors for promotions and salary increases. Consequently, safeguarding animal and human lives counts for absolutely nothing as far as they are concerned.

The entire shebang from the oil and natural gas extraction companies, automobile manufacturers, and the builders and maintainers of public roads, bridges, and tunnels on the one hand to the irresponsible behavior of the motoring public on the other hand is a racket that is endangering all life on this planet. There simply are better ways of moving people from one place to another.

Finally, anyone interested in giving courageous and long-suffering Sugar and her kittens a permanent home can do so by contacting HART by telephone at (908) 337-0477. The shelter also can be reached by e-mail at hartrescue213@yahoo.com. Although HART charges a minimum of  $80 for each cat, it would be wonderful if this family could be kept together.

Photos: HART (Sugar, Elijah), North Shore Animal League (Scarlett), Susan Doyle (Phoenix), and Stephan Schütze of Bild (Katzen-Mama).