Mayhem Inexplicably Finds His Way to the New Address of the North Carolina Woman Who Earlier Had Cruelly Abandoned Him
|Mayhem Takes to the Road|
"It just confirms that pets have feelings. We loved him, but we didn't realize he loved us that much, that he would track us down."
-- Jill Roberson
How much is the companionship, fidelity, and nonjudgmental love of a cat worth? Not very much apparently, at least as far as Jill Roberson of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, is concerned.
Back in February when she decided to change addresses she fobbed off the care of her eighteen-month-old gray and white tom Mayhem on an unidentified couple who lives on a farm in Rutherford County. According to Roberson, that heartless expedient was necessitated by Mayhem's love of the great outdoors coupled with the fact that her new abode is located on a busy street.
Under normal circumstances that would have been the end of the matter and she and her cat never would have crossed paths again but Mayhem had other ideas. "We had been here for about three weeks and I was sitting out on the porch and heard a cat meowing," she later related to WSPA-TV of Spartanburg on March 26th. (See "Western North Carolina Cat Returns to Owner Miles Away in New Home.") "I walked over to the fence and called to him because I couldn't see anything, and he came bounding under the fence and I have been in shock ever since."
In a case such as this, it is awfully easy for an inattentive owner to confuse her cat with one which looks strikingly similar to it. That danger is so great that some owners have been known to even bury the wrong cat.
That, for instance, is exactly what happened to forty-eight-year-old Karen Jones of Mardol Road in Ashford, Kent, who last spring collected from a road and subsequently buried what she believed to be the lifeless corpse of her two-year-old black tom, Norman. "I hadn't seen Norman all morning because he often goes roaming around," she confided. "So I had a feeling it was him when I saw the cat by the side of the road."
In addition to her intuition, the dead cat was the same size and color as Norman. It also had the same length of fur and identical facial features. (See Cat Defender post of June 12, 2013, "Pronounced Dead, Eulogized, and Then Relegated to the Underworld, Norman Astounds His Guardian by Turning Up Hungry and Grumpy for Breakfast the Very Next Morning.")
For her part, Roberson insists that is not the case with Mayhem because the new arrival at her house not only looks like him but also exhibits the same quirky behavioral characteristics that she has grown so accustomed to over the course of the past year and a half that she has cared for him. That evidence is buttressed by the fact that the cat given to the farming couple has mysteriously disappeared.
"I said, 'do you think it is possible for him to come that far'?" Roberson wrote to the duo on Facebook in reference to the nearly ten kilometers that separate her house from their farm. "And she (the wife) replied, 'it has been a few days since he was spotted'."
Whereas cats who miraculously have been reunited with their owners over tremendous distances, including oceans, are legendary, the thing that distinguishes this saga from the majority of them is that Mayhem supposedly did not have any way of knowing the location of Roberson's new residence. Of course, it always is possible that she is lying.
Still, even if she previously had shown him to her new house, no matter how briefly, that would not fully explain how he was able to find his way back there on his own. "It is just a miracle to me," she told WSPA-TV in befuddlement.
Kimberly Lednum of the Rutherford Animal Hospital in Rutherfordton was likewise unable to shine any light on the matter. "Given this particular situation, absolutely, it defies all logic," she testified to WSPA-TV.
One plausible explanation is that Mayhem's adopted guardians belatedly decided that they did not want him after all and responded by dumping him in the vicinity of Roberson's new house. The fact that they never bothered to either search for him or even to alert Roberson to his disappearance lends a certain amount of credibility to that theory.
Nevertheless, there is not so much as a shred of solid evidence that warrants impugning the motives of either Roberson or the couple. Some cats, but not all, are amazingly intuitive and with that being the case it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Mayhem used his sense of smell, the stars, and his sixth sense in order to locate Roberson.
It has, after all, been done before. For example, early last year twenty-nine-year-old Haley Nichols of Tuscumbia, Alabama, surrendered her companion, Baby Cat, to a rescue group which placed her on a farm in Spring Valley, eleven kilometers outside of town.
|Mayhem and Jill Roberson|
A few weeks later Baby Cat mysteriously turned up at Nichols' apartment. At the time it was theorized that she had walked the entire distance over an extended four-week period.
The distinguishing difference between the two cases is that Baby Cat at least knew the location of Nichols' apartment whereas the same cannot be said for Mayhem. (See Cat Defender post of April 24, 2013 entitled "A Cancer Victim in Billericay Issues an Urgent Appeal for the Prompt Return of Her Beloved Cat, Bear.")
An even far more astonishing case unfolded during 2006 and 2007 and involved a three-year-old brown and gray female named Mimine who reportedly spent thirteen months walking eight-hundred kilometers in order to track down the family that had deserted her. Her saga began in March of 2006 when her unidentified guardians left her behind with another family and relocated from Toulouse in the Bordeaux region of southwest France to Treveray in Meuse in the north.
To their amazement, she miraculously turned up on their doorstep in Treveray on April 17, 2007. Although she was neither tagged, tattooed, nor microchipped, her family insisted that it was indeed her and not a dead ringer.
"Sa robe est la même. Son comportement est le même. Et nos enfants (de six et huit ans) l'ont reconnue," the family matriach vowed at that time. "Aucune autre chatte ne serait arrivée en courant pour se frotter à nous et réclaimer des caresses alors qu' elle était pleine."
As was the case with Mayhem, it was one of the newcomer's peculiar behavioral quirks that ultimately convinced the family that she was indeed their beloved Mimine. "Elle ne mangeait pas de croquettes, elle n'en mange toujours pas," the woman related.
Although behavioral characteristics often are more revealing than appearances, they are far from being foolproof. For instance, some cats not only resemble but often exhibit the same eerily peculiar personalities, tastes, and behaviors of one of their parents. That would not appear to be the case with either Mayhem or Mimine, however, since they are not known to have any offspring.
In Mimine's case, veterinarian Marie-Pierre François claims to have verified not only that the newcomer was indeed her but that the long journey itself actually did occur. Unfortunately, press reports at that time did not spell out how she had arrived at that conclusion.
"Il est très curieux que le chat ait voyagé aussi loin dans un endroit où il n'est jamais allé," she conceded. "Les chats peuvent utiliser leur sixième sens."
In the final analysis, however, she was left every bit as flabbergasted as Roberson and Lednum. "Aucune explication scientifique," she concluded.
For whatever it is worth, Mimine's guardians later stated that they planned on holding on to her this time. Since as far as it could be determined no further reports concerning her have appeared in the French press, it has not been possible to determine if they lived up to that solemn promise. (See Cat Defender post of April 27, 2007 entitled "French Chat Named Mimine Walks Eight-Hundred Kilometers to Track Down Family That Abandoned Her.")
Looking at the matter objectively, Mimine's story seems incredible not only because she had no way of knowing where her guardians had relocated to, but also owing to the tremendous odds against a cat being able to steer clear of motorists, ailurophobes, deadly storms, and other perils throughout the course of such a long and dangerous journey.
Procuring sustenance and shelter were two additional obstacles that she would have been forced to surmount. As hard as her story is to believe, life remains in many ways a mystery and miraculous, inexplicable events still occur all the time. "La nature nous réserve parfois de belles surprises," as François so eloquently stated the case.
Regrettably, since neither Mayhem nor Mimine speak any language that their human counterparts are able to comprehend, exactly how they were able to locate their respective families is destined to remain forever a mystery. It really is not important anyway; the only thing that truly matters is that they persevered and survived.
|Mayhem Pauses for a Little Nosh|
In particular, whereas Mimine arrived in Treveray with blisters on her paws and ticks clinging to her body, Mayhem came through his trying ordeal skinny and dirty but otherwise unharmed. It is anybody's guess, however, as to the psychological toll that their cruel abandonments took on them.
In Mayhem's case, it is disturbing that the major concern which precipitated all off his travails in the first place remains unresolved. Principally, even though Roberson claims that he now prefers to spend a lion's share of his time indoors, that is at best a temporary solution.
He likely is still recuperating from his difficult trek but sooner or later he is going to want to return to his footloose ways of yesteryear and, since Roberson now resides on a congested street, doing so is destined to become a death sentence. She accordingly cannot risk allowing him outdoors without an escort unless she is willing to fence in her property and string a net across the top of it.
Motorists all across the United States deliberately run down and kill tens of thousands of cats each year with impunity. Compounding matters further, this nation's phony-baloney animal protection groups adamantly refuse to even so much as raise their voices against these outrageous atrocities.
In Österreich, the situation is a little bit different. "Zwar bestehe keine gesetzliche Pflicht, aber eine moralische Verpflichtung," a spokesperson for the Österreichische Tierschutzverein of Wien told Retter-TV of Augsburg on April 4th by way of issuing a clarion call for motorists to at least stop and attend to cats that they have run down. (See "Tierrettung in Österreich: Autofahrer sollten angefahrene Tiere nicht ignorieren.")
After all that he has been put through, Mayhem richly deserves an honest chance at being able to enjoy a long and happy life and for Roberson to knowingly and uncaringly sacrifice him to a hit-and-run motorist should be an indictable offense. (See Cat Defender post of November 21, 2012 entitled "Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT.")
Considering her woefully inadequate treatment of him in the past, Mayhem's prospects do not look especially encouraging. First of all, although she is to be commended for attempting to secure an alternative home for him as opposed to surrendering him to a shelter where he would have been killed upon arrival, her selection of the callous and outrageously irresponsible farming couple was, as it turned out, a simply terrible decision.
Secondly, christening him Mayhem was not only derogatory but strongly suggests that she very well could be the source of any behavioral difficulties that he has developed. Since cats quite often adopt the personality traits of their caretakers, it is of paramount importance that they be addressed and treated respectfully at all times.
Thirdly, it seems odd that she resorted to social media, as opposed to the far quicker telephone, in order to contact the couple when Mayhem first turned up at her new residence. Most individuals who truly care about the welfare of their former companions would have wanted to get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible.
Most illuminating of all is Roberson's antiquated opinion of the species. "It just confirms that pets have feelings," she marveled to WSPA-TV in the article cited supra. "We loved him, but we didn't realize he loved us that much, that he would track us down."
It truly boggles the mind that it took Mayhem's heroics in order to convince her that cats do indeed have souls. Every bit as shameful, her belated enlightenment places her only two and one-half millenniums behind both Pythagoras and Aristotle.
Going forward, the crucial question is no longer Mayhem's love for her, but rather does she care about him at all? If she does, she will demonstrate it by treasuring and safeguarding his life with all of her heart and soul.
Many individuals in this busy modern world are under the decidedly mistaken impression that caring for a cat is a drain on both their pocketbooks and time. While it is undoubtedly true that caring for one or more of these exquisite beings can be at times both financially and time consuming, the rewards to be reaped from such an undertaking far outweigh the inconveniences.
This is due to many factors but, chiefly, a cat's love is the one constant that an individual can depend upon in this ever-changing world. Besides, the competing pursuits that consume the souls of most people, such as shekel-chasing, sex, and popular culture, are not only futile and a total waste of time, but ultimately reveal themselves to be hollow and undesirable as well.
Although Roberson quite obviously does not share that viewpoint, that in no way excuses her from fulfilling her moral responsibilities to Mayhem. Like it or not, his life and continued well-being rests in her hands and it is highly unlikely that she is going to be able to find anyone willing to relieve her of her solemn obligations to him.