Texas A&M Ushers In a New Academic Year but Things Are Just Not Quite the Same Without Its Beloved Bisbee
"Bisbee is quite a significant part of A&M culture, and he is just one of those things that makes A&M A&M."
-- political science student Xavier Lozano
When Texas A&M's more than fifty-three-thousand students returned to the College Station campus in late August in order to begin a new academic year a dear and familiar face was missing from the landscape outside the Biological Sciences Building East (BSBE). That warm and kind face belonged to a handsome orange and white tomcat named Bisbee who had died unexpectedly in July.
Like Old-Time Radio's Boston Blackie, he was a ready-made friend to those who had none and an old and trusting companion to both returning students and longtime staffers. More than that, he brought a touch of home to the sprawling, impersonal, and often intimidating urban campus.
He usually could be spotted either strolling outside BSBE, which furnished the inspiration for his name, or napping in the nearby flowerbeds. Students often would stop by between classes in order to just say hello to him and as he slowly became accustomed to their attentions he graciously would permit them to pet and scratch him behind the ears.
The pleasure and comfort that his pleasant personality brought to countless students over the years cannot in any way be underestimated and that was especially the case for those who had been forced to leave behind beloved cats at home. "I have a cat back home that I couldn't bring to school, so being able to pet or see Bisbee brought me some relief," Angela Moreno, a junior studying nutrition, told The Battalion of A&M on September 10th. (See "Students, Faculty Planning Bisbee Memorial.")
His intoxicating personality and gentle ways likewise had a similar effect on employees of the school. "I think there's something special about there being this cute, funny creature outside who was such a fixture in the area that people could just go up to and get some comfort and loving," Eugenia Beh of nearby Evans Library told The Battalion.
Bisbee even was known to make the equivalent of house calls. "He comes when you call and he lets you pet him," Leena Landmark, a researcher in the Educational Psychology Department, told The Eagle of Bryan College Station on July 18th. (See "Where's Bisbee? Beloved Campus Cat Hasn't Been Seen at Texas A&M for a Week.")
Perhaps most appreciated of all was his nonjudgmental attitude. For instance, he could have cared less about anyone's attire, grades, or pocketbook.
Psychiatrists charge in excess of $100 an hour for their services and all that they often offer in return are jaundiced opinions that rarely help anyone. Consulting with preachers, priests, and rabbis, primarily pederasts, thieves, and poverty pimps to begin with, likewise is a complete waste of both time and money.
On the other hand, time spent with cats is never wasted. English poet Christopher Smart even went so far as to declare that "staring at one's cat will fertilize the mind."
No one seems to be willing to even so much as speculate as to where Bisbee came from or even how long he had lived on campus. Suffice it to say that the ten to thirteen year old cat had been around long enough in order to have earned the prestigious title as the school's unofficial mascot.
|Bisbee on the Go|
He was held in such high regard that a stop by his abode was considered to be an indispensable part of the campus tours that all incoming freshmen are treated to each semester. He additionally had almost six-thousand friends on Facebook plus another three-thousand followers on Twitter.
The only disconcerting note has been the complete absence in press reports of any eulogies from the faculty. More than likely that oversight can be chalked up to their preoccupation with counting the boxcar loads of greenbacks that their students so generously dump in their laps at the beginning of each new school year.
If not that, then they most assuredly are too busy strutting, preening, and running off at the mouth about either this or that esoteric silliness in order to be bothered with the passing of a campus icon. Plus, they have their awards, plagues, and degrees to burnish and that is quite an arduous undertaking for such prominent men and women.
Besides, individuals who are so consumed with their vanities rarely, if ever, have any time left over for anyone or anything else. Believing themselves to be the center of the universe, it is even doubtful that they they ever see, hear, or feel anything that is not reflected back in their private mirrors.
The happy times for Bisbee's friends and admirers came to an abrupt end on July 10th when he mysteriously disappeared without a trace and Beh, obviously knowledgeable in the ways of cats, immediately suspected the worst. "Since the weather has been clear the last couple of days, he usually would have been outside," she told The Eagle in the article cited supra. "I am kind of afraid that he went off to pass away."
Despite those trepidations, his supports erected a large Lost Cat poster outside BSBE and dozens of them took to the Internet in order to post photographs and fliers pleading for his safe return. Even college president R. Bowen Loftin intervened in order to a post a tweet soliciting assistance in locating Bisbee.
Political science student Xavier Lozano did it the good old fashioned way by erecting Lost Cat posters across campus. "Bisbee is quite a significant part of A&M culture, and he is just one of those things that makes A&M A&M," is how he explained his motivation for joining the search to The Eagle.
Sadly, Beh's premonitions were borne out on July 19th when a maintenance worker discovered Bisbee's lifeless body in a crawl space at BSBE. "He used to go there to get away from the elements," she explained to The Eagle on July 20th. (See "Bisbee, A&M's 'Unofficial Mascot,' Found Dead.") "He appeared to pass away peacefully."
No official cause of death has been announced and it is even doubtful that a necropsy was performed. The Aggie Feral Cat Alliance of Texas (AFCAT), which built him a maroon-colored shelter and was responsible for feeding, watering, and medicating him, took possession of his corpse but has not specified what was done with it.
"I'm glad that at last we know what happened to him," Beh added to The Eagle in the July 20th article cited supra. "It is better than not knowing."
|Bisbee Pauses to Catch a Few Winks|
That is perhaps true but it in no way negates the pain associated with losing a beloved cat. "I'm in mourning with thousands of students, faculty, staff and alums right now," she told The Battalion on July 25th. (See "Bisbee Found Dead.")
Following the announcement of his death, an informal memorial was set up outside BSBE that consisted of a little tree, cat toys, and a condolences book. Future plans call for a life-sized bronze statue of him to be commissioned that would be situated so that students and others could drop by not only to say hello but to caress it as well.
"When Bisbee passed away a lot of students expressed interest in a memorial. There were so many students that he had an impact on," BSBE greenhouse manager Ginger Stuessy told The Battalion in the September 10th article cited supra. "We just need their input. We need the students to help us decide what to do."
If against all odds AFCAT has not already disposed of his remains, there could not possibly be any more appropriate location for them than outside BSBE. Supporters and friends then would be able to visit his grave whenever they pleased and to bring flowers, toys, and treats just as well-wishers do to the memorial established in honor of Dr.Samuel Johnson's famous cat, Hodge, at 17 Gough Square in London.
"The cat was just so amazing. He touched so many people," Stuessy added to The Battalion in the September 10th article cited supra. "We just want to keep his memory going."
In the meantime, Aggieland Outfitters are doing their part by offering to the public collectible "Remember Bisbee" T-shirts with the proceeds earmarked for charity. "Bisbee was an important campus attraction for many students, which was very apparent following the news of his death," the company's director of marketing, Dallas Shipp, stated July 20th on his company's web site. (See "Aggieland Outfitters to Sell Shirts Honoring Campus Cat, Donating Proceeds to Charity.")
To date, AFCAT, the Bryan Animal Center, and Brazos Animal Shelter have been selected to divvy up any profits realized from the sale of the T-shirts. Of immediate concern is the welfare of those cats that have moved into Bisbee's old territory outside of BSBE and who stand in desperate need of permanent, loving homes.
Upon first reflection it would appear that there is something profoundly sad about Bisbee going off to die all alone but that is not necessarily the case. Rather, that is the way most animals, including cats, choose to make quietuses.
That was, for example, how the doyenne of Atlantic City's world famous Boardwalk cats, Snowball, chose to leave this world in August of last year. (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.")
Besides, Bisbee did not have anywhere else that he could have gone in that absolutely no one at Texas A&M was willing to provide him with a permanent home that was secure and out of the elements. That petit fait alone gives a hollow ring to all of their post-mortem declarations of undying love.
|Lost Cat Poster|
Be that as it may, it certainly is nothing out of the ordinary for cats blessed with conventional homes to secret themselves away inside walls and cupboards once they realize that the end is fast approaching. Often it is months and sometimes even years before their mummified remains are discovered by their distraught owners.
The long and the short of the matter is that there is not any good time, place, or way for any animal, man included, to die. It therefore is pointless to waste valuable time and effort in search of a so-called good death.
"To live under the continual fear of death is to diminish the quality of life that you have," famed novelist Phyllis James, now ninety-two, told London's Independent on August 29, 2008. (See "P.D. James: Heroine with a Taste for Life.")
All industry instead should be concentrated upon using the time allotted wisely and in promoting the sanctity of life. There are, of course, creatures of darkness and merchants of death who consider such a salubrious philosophy to be nothing short of heresy.
Most notably amongst these arch-villains is PETA and its more than two-million morally repugnant members who earnestly believe that the only good cat is a dead one and that they accordingly have a divine right to round up and exterminate the entire species. Their principal modus operandi is to steal cats off the street and then either gas them on the spot or deliver them up to unscrupulous veterinarians to kill.
Once they have committed their atrocities they are not the least bit shy about going online in order to not only brag about them but to spread barefaced lies about how their totally innocent victims were ailing and suffering too much in order to be permitted to go on living for so much as another minute. To top it all off, these cat-hating, murdering scumbags would have the gullible to believe that they are doing these defenseless cats a favor by snuffing out their precious, all-too-brief lives.
"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve life than destroy it," Henry David Thoreau postulated way back during the nineteenth century.
Sometime last year at an undisclosed location and time, PETA illegally abducted a forever nameless white male cat from the streets and immediately had him killed. Its ridiculous claim that the tom was beyond the help of all veterinary intervention never has been independently verified and, most assuredly, never could be substantiated. (See Cat Defender post of October 7, 2011 entitled "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag About Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")
Earlier this year one of its members stole a cat out of a Dumpster at an undisclosed shopping mall in New York City and killed it also. "Just hours after the sick, starving feline was first spotted, the animal was mercifully euthanized, surrounded by caring people," the organization's Michelle Kretzer crowed like proud new mama May 25th on its web site. (See "Starving Cat Saved from Filthy Dumpster.")
In an absurdly lame attempt to justify its criminal deed, PETA claimed that the cat was weak and frail, its ribs protruding, its eyes oozing puss, and that it had parasites. Even if there was so much as a scintilla of truth in any of those allegations, which is highly improbable considering PETA's propensity toward prevarication, there is absolutely nothing fatal about any of those maladies.
|Student Frank Sanceri at the Makeshift Memorial|
Au contraire, all that the cat likely needed was some food, its eyes cleaned and dried with tissue, and the parasites removed from its fur. Moreover, considering the gargantuan amounts of food that New Yorkers discard each day it is unlikely that any homeless cats in the city are starving and that is another reason why Kretzer's rather tall tale is completely lacking in credibility.
"This determined animal advocate has saved countless cats from unimaginable suffering by always making the time to help," Kretzer concluded. To the uninitiated that may sound laudatory but once it is understood that in PETA's jabberwocky saved is synonymous with liquidated its activities take on an entirely different hue.
More recently, PETA has aligned itself with the rabid anti-feline agenda being advocated by ornithologists and wildlife biologists by ludicrously slandering cats as being an invasive species and claiming that their presence in the environment violates the Endangered Species Act. In keeping with that position, the organization's reincarnation of Joseph Paul Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler, Teresa Chagrin, earlier this month came out in opposition to an effort to spare feline lives by establishing a TNR colony on Holden Beach, forty-eight kilometers outside of Wilmington on the North Carolina coast. (See Star News of Wilmington, September 29, 2012 and October 4, 2012 articles entitled, respectively, "Holden Beach Decides to Import Some Feral Cats" and "Cat Introduction Ill-Conceived, Possibly Illegal.")
"It is mystifying that anybody would say a painless, quick end is cruelty when the other option is slow, lingering, painful, horrible deaths by cruelty from people, from attacks by dogs, or being hit by a car," Chagrin told USA Today on October 4th in an anti-cat diatribe that exposed both the depth of her hatred for the species as well as her total lack of honesty.
First of all, most individuals in this world fervently believe in the sanctity of all life and that alone makes the views expressed by Chagrin both deviant and abhorrent. With that being the case, PETA has resorted to spreading gigantic lies about homeless cats in a clumsy effort to gain acceptance of its trap and kill policies.
Freed from horribly polluted indoor environments and the shackles that come with being at the beck and call of owners who often either are derelict or absent altogether, homeless cats actually fare considerably better than many of those that are cruelly imprisoned indoors. Plus, they get plenty of exercise and sun, their lives are their own, and their mental health improves.
"We tend to think their lives must be nasty, brutish, and short, but they live about as long on average as house cats," Michael Moyer, a veterinarian with the University of Pennsylvania, told The Philadelphia Inquirer on March 11, 2011. (See "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from the Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")
Homeless cat caretaker Fred Hampton of the Riverdale section in the Bronx puts the case even more emphatically. "On average, outdoor cats are healthier than indoor," he told The Riverdale Press on June 10, 2010. (See "They Are for Cats That Others Don't Care For.") "And they live longer too."
PETA's blatant lies also obscure the fact that it is precisely its members along with ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and shelters that by far pose the greatest menace to cats. So long as they are provided with safe environments, shelter, food, and water, homeless cats tend to thrive.
Besides, all the slanders and libels that Chagrin directs against homeless cats are largely irrelevant because PETA's mission is to kill all cats, domesticated ones as well as the homeless. That assessment is attested to by the roughly ninety-eight per cent kill rate that it annually maintains for both cats and dogs at its shelter in Norfolk.
When it is not stealing cats off the street and killing them outright it busies itself by inveigling shelters into surrendering their feline inmates so that it can liquidate them as well. For example, a few years back it was caught red-handed accepting receipt of dozens of cats and dogs from shelters in eastern North Carolina under the pretense of providing them good homes only to turn around and kill them before dumping their corpses in Dumpsters.
Derelict jurists in the Tar Heel state pigheadedly refused to punish either those directly involved in the commission of those heinous crimes or the organization itself and that has served to only embolden its members to commit even greater atrocities. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")
PETA's proficiency at annihilating cats and dogs is by no means a case of beginner's luck. On the contrary, before she founded PETA in 1980 Ingrid Newkirk ran a shelter in Washington where she has admitted to single-handedly murdering thousands of innocent cats and dogs.
When the organization proclaims to the world that "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment," none of those prohibitions preclude it from defaming and killing cats and dogs. Its members accordingly can proudly lay claim to the title of being the biggest frauds and hypocrites to ever have tramped this planet.
Instead of being championed by the thoroughly dishonest capitalist media as animal rights advocates, Newkirk and her henchmen belong behind bars serving lifetime sentences. At the very least the organization's 501(c)(3) charity status should be revoked. Otherwise, in order to be consistent the Internal Revenue Service should just as well go whole hog and extend the same tax exempt status to mass murderers, the mafia, Wall Street crooks, and war criminals.
Even an organization as well-heeled and influential as PETA would be unable to carry out its feline eradication schemes quite so easily if it were not for the cooperation that it receives from veterinarians who would rather snuff out innocent lives in exchange for fat fees than to treat and secure homes for them. Killing cats and dogs is, after all, easy and lucrative work. (See Cat Defender posts of July 16, 2010 and December 22, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It" and "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.")
Practically all shelters and rescue groups likewise also worship at the same altar of death as do both PETA and the veterinary medical profession. Even AFCAT likely is guilty of the same offenses and sooner or later it surely would have killed off Bisbee if the Grim Reaper had not intervened.
In spite of that, the organization's TNR program is a decided improvement over the trap and kill polices of Eastern University, Central Michigan, Cal State Long Beach, and other schools. (See Cat Defender posts of February 12, 2007, September 11, 2006, and July 31, 2008 entitled, respectively, "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break," "Selfish and Brutal Eggheads at Central Michigan University Target Colony of Feral Cats for Defamation and Eradication," and "Cal State Long Beach Is Using the Presence of Coyotes as a Pretext in Order to Get Rid of Its Feral Cats.")
Even when universities are not actually killing cats they demonstrate their antipathy toward the species in other profound ways. For example, a few years back Cornell University had the audacity to fire an employee for showing compassion for its homeless cats and Juniata College quickly gobbled up a large bequest from one of its wealthy alumnae while simultaneously showing his cat the door. (See Cat Defender posts of June 14, 2006 and June 9, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University" and "Pennsylvania College Greedily Snatches Up Alumnus' Multimillion-Dollar Bequest but Turns Away His Cat, Precious.")
Its successful TNR program notwithstanding, A&M's overall treatment of cats is nothing short of abominable. For example, Dr. Duane Kraemer and his associates cloned the world's first cat, CC, back in December of 2001 and to this very day neither he nor the school has disclosed how many lives that effort cost in the form of egg donors, surrogate mothers, fathers, and aborted, stillborn, and misshapened fetuses.
|Saying Goodbye to a Wonderful Cat|
The same likewise can be said for all the dogs, cows, pigs, goats, horses, deer, and other defenseless animals that A&M's cloners have abused and killed. (See Cat Defender post of January 5, 2007 entitled "World's First Cloned Cat, CC, Finally Gives Birth to Three Healthy Kittens at Age Five.")
Even the school's retirement home for cats and other animals left behind by the well-to-do, the Stevenson Companion Life-Care Center, exploits them in unspecified ways as research subjects. (See Houston Chronicle, January 10, 2011, "Rest Assured, Pets Can Retire.")
Vivisectors likewise are guilty of torturing, mutilating, and killing thousands of animals each year both at its main and satellite campuses. Recently, Russell Cross of the Department of Animal Sciences and John Carey of the Poultry Science Department were appointed to the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science which was founded in order to procure additional welfare money for vivisectors.
Coming at a time when the European Union is making slow but sustained progress in reducing the number of animals that are nakedly abused and exploited by scientists, A&M's intransigence in this area once again demonstrates not only its moral depravity but its intellectual inferiority as well. (See Drovers Cattle Network, July 21, 2012, "Association to Advocate for Research Funding of Animal Sciences.")
If Beh, Landmark, Stuessy, Moreno, Lozano, and the remainder of Bisbee's admirers and supporters are truly serious about establishing a fitting memorial in his honor they should dedicate their lives to putting an end to the killing of all cats under any circumstances. Along with that they should take steps in order to force A&M to belatedly recognize the inalienable rights of all animals and to according stop using them as guinea pigs.
That not only would be an accomplishment of real and lasting value but it would stand as a testament that Bisbee had not lived and died in vain. Such a handsome and wonderful cat deserves no less.
"I would hate for them (the incoming class of 2016) not to be able to meet him," Lozano told The Eagle in the July 18th article cited supra. Sadly, that can never be but a better world for cats and all animals possibly could be within reach if only Lozano and his generation could be prevailed upon to respect not only their inalienable right to live but to do so free from both abuse and exploitation.
"Cats are like music," someone once said. "It's foolish to try to explain their worth to those who don't appreciate them."
It accordingly is precisely that lack of appreciation, coupled often with outright hatred, that not only accounts for the myriad of unspeakable crimes that are committed against the species but also the general public's inability to comprehend why individuals such as Alan Jordan of Tredworth in Gloucester and Michael McAleese of Poole in Dorset recently took their own lives after they lost their beloved cats. (See Cat Defender posts of January 2, 2012 and June 12, 2012 entitled, respectively, "With No Reason Left to Go on Living, Tredworth Resident Takes His Own Life after His Beloved Cat Disappears" and "Sophie's Sudden Death Proves to Be Too Much of a Burden for a Bachelor in Poole to Bear So He Elects to Join Her in the Great Void.")
For genuine lovers of the species the only thing worse than burying a beloved cat is to learn of the death of another cat, particularly one as special as Bisbee. Cats, like people, come and go all the time but he left an indelible mark on those that were fortunate enough to have known him and, hopefully, his memory will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Photos: Facebook (Bisbee), Stuart Villanueva of The Eagle (Lost Cat poster), Jennifer Nguyen of The Battalion (Sanceri at makeshift memorial), and Aggieland Outfitters (T-shirt).