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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tory MP Anne McIntosh Calls for Cats to Be Brought Back to the Palace of Westminster in Order to Get the Rodent Problem Under Control

Anne McIntosh

"It is a matter of fact that the mouse population at Westminster is spiraling out of control. Will the Right Honorable Gentleman review his decision and, using the same model adopted by ten and eleven Downing Street, consider having a rescue cat that can be released in the evening to keep the mouse population under control?"
-- Anne McIntosh, Conservative MP from Thirsk and Malton in North Yorkshire

Although the world famous resident felines of Downing Street, both past and present, receive a lion's share of Fleet Street's attention, cats also are a hotly debated topic down the street at the Palace of Westminster where their invaluable service as mousers is dearly coveted by some members of Parliament (MPs). That is especially the case in that it is claimed that the joint is overrun with mice who deposit their excrement all over the place and even gnaw into official documents.

Whereas a considerable amount of palaver is devoted to the use of the Downing Street cats as mousers that is clearly a well-orchestrated public relations charade. That is not to say that the official residences of the prime minister and the chancellor the Exchequer do not have mice but that problem is handled by professional exterminators.

The cats, on the other hand, are kept in order to not only put kinder, gentler, and more civilized public faces on some pretty unsavory characters but also to temporarily take citizens' minds off of some of the more disquieting political and economic realities of the day.

By contrast, the ongoing debate in Parliament appears, at least from afar to be much more genuine and practical in that any cats employed there as mousers would belong to that body as a whole instead of to individual politicians and that in turn would make it far more difficult, but by no means totally impossible, for any member to exploit their presence for personal political gain. That analysis of the situation is buttressed by the fact that in comparison to the executives on Downing Street individual MPs receive comparatively little media exposure.

In the past the palace has employed cats as mousers including an unidentified feline who was so proficient that it reportedly caught up to an astounding sixty mice per night. Due to ailurophobia and some MPs being allergic to them, the facility currently relies exclusively upon professional exterminators, either for better or for worse, in order to control the rodent population.

Consequently, the only known current resident feline is a gray cat named Order who is owned by the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. While it is not known if Order is used on rodent patrol, it is doubtful that a single feline would be capable of policing the sprawling estate.

Pauline Latham
Predictably, the issue has divided parliamentarians along party lines with the Conservatives being largely in favor of bringing back the cats while both Laborites and the Liberal Democrats are adamantly opposed to their return. Also, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London, which supplied Prime Minister David Cameron with his current resident feline, Larry, back in 2011, has become unwittingly embroiled up to its eyeballs not only in the tug-of-war itself but the internecine nature of English politics as well.

"I am thrilled and delighted to work with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home," Anne McIntosh, a Conservative MP from Thirsk and Malton in North Yorkshire, declared to The Independent on January 28th. (See "Cats Poised to Descend on Parliament to Help Rid Westminster of Vermin.") "In my view, provided the situation was controlled with care, particularly considering the welfare of those allergic to cats, the best way to control and eliminate the mouse problem in Parliament would be a rescue cat."

Her proposal quickly was seconded by her colleague in the House of Commons, Pauline Latham, a Conservative from Derbyshire. "Battersea Dogs and Cats Home do a fantastic job, and I would certainly love to have one of their rescue cats come and take care of the mouse problem in my office," she added to The Independent.

In response to the politicians' plea for assistance, Battersea initially offered to dispatch a three-year-old tuxedo named Jill, an orange four-year-old male named Finn, and a one-year-old tortoiseshell named Bloom to work as palace mousers. Unfortunately for the cats, the Commission which runs the Palace vetoed that idea and it is not known what ever became of either them or their hopes for new leases on life.

Undeterred, McIntosh has continued to press her case. "It is a matter of fact that the mouse population at Westminster is spiraling out of control," she told Viscount Thurso ( John Archibald Sinclair), a Liberal Democrat who represents Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross in the Scottish Highlands, during debate on October 22nd according to the Daily Mail's October 23rd account of the proceedings. (See "Vermin in the Commons...Call the Squeaker!") "Will the Right Honorable Gentleman review his decision and, using the same model adopted by ten and eleven Downing Street, consider having a rescue cat that can be released in the evening to keep the mouse population under control?"

Thurso, however, was not about to be swayed. "Measures are being taken to combat that through pest control," he retorted. "Given the scale and size of the estate, it would be necessary to have a great number of cats to make any impact."

There are several problems with Thurso's bluster. First of all, the professional exterminators obviously are not any more up to the job than Vincent Price and his colleagues were when they battled an invasion of ship rats in a terrifying episode  of Suspense from the 1950's entitled "Three Skeleton Key." Secondly, he is guilty of deliberately distorting the number of cats that would be required in order to get the rodent infestation under control.

Bloom, Finn, and Jill: Where Are They Now?

All of that would have been bad enough if he had had the bon sens to have stopped there but he could not resist to temptation to make jest of McIntosh's proposal. "Having a herd of cats on the parliamentary estate would present a number of difficulties," he continued. "I am also advised by my own chief whip that herding cats is quite difficult."

Thurso obviously considers himself to be a part-time comedian and a full-time cutie-pie. His words and actions, however, expose him to be little more than a dishonest smart aleck.

That is because if Latham's plan were implemented, the care and supervision of the cats would be the personal responsibility of individual legislators and neither any herds nor herding would be necessary. Plus, their presence would be required only in specific offices and establishments, such as restaurants and bars, with significant rodent problems.

Of course, it is conceivable that it is precisely that aspect of Latham's proposal that Thurso fears the most. While it is not known if a per se cat vote does in fact exist, the political hacks on Downing Street clearly have demonstrated the numerous benefits of owning one.

"If mice can be close to the source of food and pose a health hazard, one would think it would be perfectly sensible to introduce a cat to keep the mouse population down." McIntosh, apparently familiar with the old Norwegian Sprichwort which counsels that "it is better to feed one cat than many mice," added in vain.

Similar arguments have been raised to no avail all over England, in New York City, Carson City, Salem, and elsewhere. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2008, April 20, 2006, February 17, 2009, and May 21, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Pecksniffian Management at Swindon Pub Plies Ember with Food and Then Gives Her the Bum's Rush," "Molly Is Finally Rescued After Spending Two Weeks Trapped Inside the Walls of an English Deli in Greenwich Village," "Health Department Banishes Smallcat from Popular Carson City Restaurant but Her Feisty Owner Is Putting Up Quite a Fight," and "Salem, Massachusetts, Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During 1692 Witch Trials.")

In spite of the soundness of her reasoning on that point, McIntosh is terribly wrong in striving to emulate the simply abhorrent example set by the politicians on Downing Street. As intelligent and sentient beings, cats are entitled to not only exemplary treatment but their care and well-being requires a lifetime commitment.

Viscount Thurso
They are not Flying Dutchmen to be bandied about by unscrupulous politicians who merely use, abuse, neglect, exploit, and then casually discard them like yesterday's newspapers once they no further use for them. That is precisely what the no-good rotters on Downing Street have done with Humphrey, Sybil and, most recently, Freya. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006, August 13, 2009, and November 13, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18," "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness," and "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her.")

That also likely is destined to be Larry's cruel fate. (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.")

The Commission's ruling left many cat-lovers disappointed but no one perhaps more so than the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts. "What fun it would have been to see the occasional pussycat strolling the corridors and playing cradle with the clerks' wigs. They could take post-prandial snoozes in the lap of the Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell. They could play games with the Westminster Police's anti-bomb sniffer dogs. They could compare claw varnish with the likes of Labor's Luciana Berger (of Liverpool Wavertree)," he fantasized in the October 23rd article cited supra. "But those ninnies in the Commission insist instead on using poisons and traps."

The House of Lords likewise has a recurring problem with mice and back in 2010 they were spotted, inter alia, in both the Peers' Guest Room and Bishops Bar. That in turn prompted Lord Brabazon, the then chairman of committees, to install a so-called "mouse helpline" so that his colleagues promptly could report any and all rodent sightings. (See the Daily Mail, March 5, 2010, "More Parliamentary Fat Cats Needed Fast.")

In spite of that chamber's ban on cats, one intrepid black and white moggy did somehow manage to gain access to the facility on several occasions last autumn. In fact, the cat was captured on film on November 14th. (See The Telegraph, November 15, 2013, "A Cat Burglar in the Commons (sic): the Mysterious Tale of a New Westminster Fatcat.")

Given that the lawmakers are so passionate about cats that do not even belong to them, it should not come as any surprise that they feel even stronger about their own beloved companions. With that being the case, at least one and possibly more MPs apparently do not have any scruples about engaging in a little old-fashioned cheating so long as doing so advances the cause of their cats.

That transpired in early February when Battersea, attempting to raise public awareness of the plight of homeless cats, sponsored an online contest in order to select the cat of the year. In addition to all the notoriety that was expected to go to the winner of the popularity contest, the lucky cat was to be dubbed "Purr Minister."

A Tuxedo Breaches the Supposedly Airtight Security at the House of Lords

Although anyone with access to a computer was eligible to vote, only those cats belonging to MPs and peers were allowed to enter. As things turned out, four Tory MPs and a trio of their Labor counterparts submitted entries. From the House of Lords Laborite Baroness Joyce Gwendolen Quin entered her cat Paul while Lord Tom McNally put forward his cat, Monty.

Everything went swimmingly until a fourteen-year-old black cat with green eyes named Bosun racked up an astonishing thirty-thousand votes over the course of a seven-hour period. As it later was revealed, many of the votes came from Australia which in itself is rather hard to believe in that the miserable low-life murdering scumbags who run the show down under are currently in the process of systematically exterminating, without apparently the least bit of public opposition, as many as twenty million homeless cats. (See The Australian of Surry Hills, June 2, 2014, "Greg Hunt (Environment Minister) Calls for Eradication of Feral Cats That Kill Seventy-Five Million Animals a Night.")

As it just so happened, Bosun is owned by Tory MP Sheryll Murray from the village of Millbrook in Cornwall and once her competitor, Labor MP Andrew Gwynne of Greater Manchester, got wind of what was afoot he cried bloody murder from every rooftop in London. "I think there's been vote-rigging," he declared to The Mirror on February 11th. (See "MP Sheryll Murray Withdraws Cat Bosun from Westminster Beauty Contest Amid Allegations of Vote-Rigging.") "It is not fair; it is against the spirit of it."

In her defense, Murray denied taking part in any chicanery. "It is very upsetting for me," she told The Mirror. "It is very upsetting for my children, because we have done nothing wrong."

A statement later released by Bosun's campaign raised the possibility that both he and Murray may have been victimized by a put-up job. "Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have already said that there have been a lot of voting irregularities with many candidates and we do not know if this instance was by a well-meaning supporter of Bosun or someone who was trying to frame him," the BBC reported on February 11th. (See "Westminster Cat of the Year Contest 'Hit by Vote-Rigging'.") "It does seem to have been a bit obvious."

Regardless of who was behind the sudden surge in voter support for Bosun, the damage already had been done to his candidacy and Murray reluctantly was forced to withdraw him from the contest. That decision provided Gwynne, who already had withdrawn his cat, Jude, in protest, with a golden opportunity in order to do some gloating.

Bosun Busy at Work Counseling MP Sheryll Murray

"It is such a shame that some people choose to take advantage of the incredible work that Battersea does finding homes for dogs and cats," he pontificated to The Mirror. "Justice has been done. This isn't Soviet Russia. Here in Britain, our cats play by the rules and those that don't will be found out!"

Although the dispute between Murray and Gwynne sans doute tarnished the integrity of the contest, it had even more disastrous results for both of their cats. Bosun, who was named in honor of Murray's late fisherman husband, would have made a splendid Purr Minister as would have Jude who was fished out of a canal in Manchester.

"In good faith, Battersea placed no onerous restrictions on voting. After all, the voting is simply to name a cat," a spokesperson for the charity told the London Metro on February 10th. (See "Ministerial Cat Elections for MPs' Pets Rocked by Cheating Scam.") "So we have been surprised by the voting patterns and will look carefully at how people can vote in next year's competition."

Once the dust finally had settled, a sixteen-year-old couch potato known as Kevin and owned by Labor MP Bill Esterson of the Borough of Sefton in Merseyside ended up taking home the prestigious title of Purr Minister with 29.8 per cent of the vote. "I'd like to thank all the other cats and their staff for taking part in the election and promise to be on the side of hard working cats everywhere," he declared in his gracious acceptance speech according to a February 13th press release issued by Battersea. (See "The Purr Minister Votes Are In and the Winning Westminster Moggy Is Kevin.")

He also is a cat blessed with quite a sense of humor. "Bringing a weight of experience to the job, Kevin will happily represent fat cats everywhere," is how Esterson described his cat in an undated pre-election address posted originally on Battersea's web site and later on his own web page. (See "Sefton Central Labor MP Bill Esterson's Cat Kevin Named Purr Minister" at billesterson.org. uk.) "He takes a laissez fur approach to life in general but fights hard to be top cat in our household against recent feline arrivals. He has sixteen years of eating and (mostly) sleeping to call on as valuable experience."

Kevin's ascendancy also allowed Lindsey Quinlan of Battersea to expeditiously dispose of all the difficulties that had plagued the contest from the start by uttering what has to be the understatement of the year. "Here at Battersea we know the British public love their cats and we're so pleased to see that our politicians do too," she declared unabashedly in the press release cited supra. "The inaugural competition was certainly memorable and we hope Kevin enjoys his exciting year as our first Purr Minister and we wish him well!"

The Ultimate Winner, Purr Minister Kevin

The other competitors in the contest were a cat named Tommy who is owned by Tory MP Greg Knight of East Yorkshire, Scaredy-Cat owned by Labor MP Sarah Champion of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Parsnip owned by Tory MP Mark Spencer of Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, and Montague owned by Tory MP Justin Tomlinson of Swindon in Wiltshire.

In marked contrast to all the media attention ladled on both the parliamentarians and the big shots on Downing Street, the royal family's treatment of cats receives almost no public exposure. The one notable exception occurred in 2007 when it was disclosed that an intrepid black and white female named Mime was permitted to dine with the queen's corgis at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

"Mime is part of the furniture," a castle spokesperson said at that time. "Everyone looks forward to her visits."

Owned by then sixty-nine-year-old Kevin Lam, she lives at the Chinese restaurant that he operates a scant fifty yards across the street from the castle. For reasons that are known only to her, she does not care for his cooking.

"She won't eat any of our leftovers," Lam confessed. "She's been going there for about four years."

Even in her case it is the castle's caretakers that she has to thank for both the food and her humane treatment in that the queen and her entourage seldom stay at the facility. The palace guards even have been known to unlock the fortress's Henry VIII gates for her on those rare occasions when they are bolted, such as on the queen's birthday. (See Cat Defender post of November 27, 2007 entitled "Mime Eschews Her Owner's Chinese Fare in Order to Dine with the Queen's Corgis at Windsor Castle.")

Regardless of the hospitality afforded Mime, it is suspected that the royal family is anything but a fan of the species. In particular, the queen is known to be a dog and horse enthusiast.

Even though the five sprawling royal estates that are scattered throughout England and Scotland make inviting refuges for cats than are on the road, it is extremely doubtful that their presence is either welcomed or tolerated. Moreover, none of the royals have been known to either give sanctuary to any homeless cats or to practice TNR.

Mime on Her Way to Have Lunch with the Queen's Corgis

With that being the case, it is likely that any cats that wander onto the royal palaces are liquidated on the spot by the queen's henchmen. If not by them, then either private exterminators or obliging humane groups are inveigled to do the royals' dirty work for them.

In summation, cats and politicians are not, generally speaking, a good mix. First of all, the vast majority of those individuals involved in politics are unwilling to devote the extraordinary amount of time and energy that are required in order to properly care for a cat.

On a more fundamental level, very few of them genuinely love and respect cats. Rather, they only use and exploit them for their own personal and political ends.

Perhaps most damning of all, no politician of note ever has been known to champion the cause of cats; au contraire, they are far better known for defaming and exterminating them en masse. With that being the case, they should not be permitted to get away with exploiting and abusing them as political props.

Rescue groups, such as Battersea, who not only bow and scrape at the feet of the political elites but also actively participate in their hideous crimes against the species are a disgrace to their profession. The first imperative for any halfway legitimate humane group should be to adopt and religiously implement an uncompromising attitude in respect to the inalienable right of all cats to live and implicit in that is a strict ban on all forms of killing including the misnomered practice of euthanasia.

The second imperative should be to provide free, competent veterinary care to any cat that needs it. Their third mandate should be to place all homeless cats in either good homes, sanctuaries, or managed TNR colonies.

Lastly, it is imperative that they take a no-nonsense attitude toward all forms of abuse and neglect and that includes, above all, going after the high and mighty, vivisectors, professors, the military, ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and all others who talk and behave as if they are endowed with a divine right to do with cats as they see fit. To put the matter succinctly, they must put the rights and needs of cats first; the dictates of their wallets and the gruntings of the elites are to be ignored.

Photos: annemcintosh.org.uk (McIntosh), paulinelatham.co.uk (Latham), BBC (Bloom, Finn, and Jill), Keith Edkins of Wikipedia (Thurso), The Telegraph (cat at the House of Lords), the Western Morning News of Plymouth (Bosun and Murray), Bill Esterson (Kevin), and The Sun (Mime).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gutless Georgie "Porgie" Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her

Freya Relaxing

"Freya had to go, it just wasn't working out. She was a handful. Poor Lola was scared of her."
-- an unidentified Downing Street source

Freya's short-lived reign as the first cat of the Exchequer has come to an abrupt end. Fortunately, she has not been either run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist or gotten lost again as it often was feared would be her undoing.

Rather, she is still alive and, as far as it is known, in good health. She is no longer living at 10 Downing Street, however, because her guardian, Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer Georgie "Porgie" Osborne, has sent her packing.

The end it is believed came sometime last week when Osborne fobbed off  the care of the dashing five-year-old brown female onto the hands of an unidentified member of his staff. All that has been revealed about that arrangement is that she is now residing at an undisclosed location somewhere in Kent.

The official word from Osborne and his flunkies is that Freya was gotten rid of for her own good. "The car accident could have been fatal, and as a result the family took the view that she was at too much risk living in Downing Street," an unidentified aide to the chancellor confided to the Daily Mail on November 8th. (See "Chancellor's Pooch, a Moody Mouser -- and an Uneasy Coalition That Was Doomed from the Start: George Osborne Evicts Freya the Cat for 'Bullying' His Bichon Frisé Dog.")

By that the official was referring to Freya's having been run down by a motorist on Whitehall Road back on August 7th. (See Cat Defender post of November 10, 2014 entitled "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer.")

Quite obviously, Osborne and his subalterns are lying through their rotten teeth about why Freya was given the bum's rush. First of all, the accident occurred more than three months ago and if Osborne and his irresponsible family had cared so much as one whit about her safety and well-being they would have taken action back then.

Secondly, Osborne's contorted logic and warped morality is nothing short of stupefying in that no caring individual ever would abandon a cat under the pretext that by doing so he was saving her life. For example, millions of cat owners all over the world are forced to deal with the perils that threaten the lives of cats that roam but very few of them either choose Osborne's expedient or indulge in his outrageous, self-serving lies.

With all of his millions, Osborne easily could have assured Freya's safety simply by either confining her indoors or extending the height of the walls and fences that surround Downing Street and installing netting on top of them. He additionally could have either trained her to walk on a leash or assigned one of his numerous underlings to have accompanied her on her rambles. Any genuine lover of the species would have been more than willing to have spent the extra money and to have gone to the additional trouble that would have entailed in order to have kept her both safe and happy.

The Other Female in Osborne's Life, Lola

That is perfectly obvious to any thinking individual but it is the Daily Mail that the world has to thank for exposing Osborne as a bare-faced liar. "Freya had to go, it just wasn't working out," an unidentified Downing Street source confided to the newspaper in the article cited supra. "She was a handful. Poor Lola was scared of her."

Lola is a white Bichon Frisé that Osborne acquired less than a year ago and, admittedly, loves madly. "Some early toilet training issues (which are common with this particular breed )... but we don't care," he tweeted recently according to the November 9th edition of The Independent. (See "George Osborne's Family Cat Freya Sent from Downing Street to Kent.") "We love her."

That indeed surely must be the case because Osborne claims that he gets out of bed in order to walk her at both midnight and 6 a.m. He even earlier this year arranged for her to tie the knot in a mock wedding ceremony with another Bichon Frisé named Snowy that is owned by the Conservative Party's chief whip, Michael Gove.

Osborne supposedly decided to get rid of Freya because she had been bullying his beloved Lola but that allegation is difficult to believe. First of all, Freya was seldom home in order to bully anyone even if she had been so inclined. Secondly, the two pets were kept segregated on separate floors.

While it is conceivable that they may have had a few run-ins while passing on the stairs, they likely did not amount to anything serious. The Osborne camp's version of events also strains credulity in that it is always dogs that harass, and often kill, cats and not vice-versa. Most telling of all, it is simply beyond belief that Freya ever would want anything to do with Lola in the first place.

For whatever it is worth, another unidentified aide to the chancellor has shied away from the bullying story while simultaneously going to great lengths in order not to deviate from number 10's original pack of lies. "The issue was her tendency to roam, not her relations with Lola," he told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "She has ended up all over the place: Trafalgar Square, the Red Lion pub and miles south of the river. It was getting too much and it was only a matter of time before she was seriously hurt."

It is unclear at this juncture what affect, if any, Freya's ouster will have on the fate of Prime Minister David Cameron's much maligned resident feline, Larry. (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.")

Nevertheless, her departure is anything but a good omen as far as he is concerned. With politicians being the opportunistic old slugs that they are, Cameron no doubt is closely monitoring the public's reaction to Osborne's shabby mistreatment of Freya before plotting against Larry.

In Freya's case, it is not known either if Osborne paid the staffer to take her off of his hands or who is footing the bill for her food and veterinary care. "A kind member of staff agreed to look after her and the family will get regular updates and photos," is all that a Downing Street source was willing to reveal to The Independent in the article cited supra. "The family are (sic) very grateful."

Freya Where She Felt Most at Home, on the Street

Truer words never have been spoken in that the Osbornes surely must be still popping the champagne corks in celebration of finally getting shed of the cat that they never really wanted in the first place. Even their token commitment to receive photographs and periodic updates on Freya's progress has been passed off as a concession to Osborne's children, thirteen-year-old Luke and eleven-year-old Liberty.

Osborne, quite obviously, could care less about what becomes of her. Even his children's supposed interest in her well-being sounds disingenuous in that it is highly unlikely that he would have been able to have so easily abandoned Freya again if they had, in reality, cared anything about her.

Osborne's troubles are now over but it is an entirely different story as far as Freya is concerned in that the changes she is undergoing in both scenery and ownership in no way address the underlying issues that have plagued her troubled life. First of all, it is not known who will be looking after her in that it certainly will not be the staffer who will be busy most of the time in London doing Osborne's bidding.

Secondly, it has not been disclosed if she will be confined at her new address or allowed to roam at will. Although it may sound counterintuitive, suburban thoroughfares and country roads often are far more dangerous for cats than congested inner city streets, such as those in Westminster. That is because the former attract considerably more speeders as well as those who run down and kill cats for the sheer pleasure of doing so. There also are fewer peelers patrolling the streets outside of the big cities.

Shortly after her birth in April of 2009, Osborne purchased Freya from an undisclosed source as a present for his children. A few months later, he not only carelessly allowed her to disappear but, worst still, made only a half-hearted effort in order to locate her. Consequently, it was not until June of 2012 that she finally was relocated and returned to him and his family.

So, in effect, this is the second time in less than five years that he has inexcusably abandoned her. Even when she was living underneath his roof he did little or nothing in order to protect and safeguard her life.

It thus could be argued on the one hand that she is far better off to be finally rid of both him and his god-rotten family. Hopefully, that will in deed turn out to be the case but even that happy prospect appears to be a long shot.

Specifically, entrusting her care to anyone who would work for such an irresponsible, cold-hearted, and filthy rotter as Osborne is anything but reassuring. Be that as it may, Freya's fate is now sealed for either better or worse in that there is not a solitary animal protection group in all of England that cares enough about her well-being in order to intercede on her behalf.

Freya as She Was and Will Be Remembered

If a private individual ever were to so neglect a cat as Osborne has done with Freya that person likely would have been arrested long ago and the animal confiscated. It is just too bad that has not happened to him because a little time spent standing in the dock at Old Bailey Bird has been known to sober up even those individuals terminally besotted with power and self-importance. In this case, however, Osborne not only has been allowed to get away scot-free with his hideous crimes but to fob off Freya's care on an unknown individual of his own choosing.

By his simply abhorrent mistreatment of her, Osborne has demonstrated writ large that he looks down upon cats as soulless automatons that big shot like him can neglect and abuse to their hearts' content. On that point his thinking is every bit as wrongheaded as his economics. Freya and all other cats have more soul, class, and dignity than a no-account bum like him ever will acquire even if he should live to be as old as Methuselah.

Even though not a great deal is known about what goes on inside a cat's head, it is nevertheless strongly suspected that their minds works pretty much the same way as those of their human counterparts. In particular, home is everything to them and that is verified by the old Sprichwort which maintains that "dogs belong to people but cats belong to places."

In Freya's case, she has been bandied about so much that by now she hardly knows where she belongs. First of all, she was uprooted from her place of birth by Osborne and shanghaied to live at his house in Notting Hill.

She soon thereafter either escaped or got lost and as a consequence was forced to spend the next three years eking out a living as a homeless vagabond. After that it was on to 10 Downing Street for a little more than two years and now she finds herself in Kent surrounded by strangers.

Being shoved around in such a cavalier fashion surely has exacted a high emotional toll from her and may, just perhaps, explain her Wanderlust. She could be in fact still searching for her original home.

It also is perfectly clear that the Osbornes did everything in their power to make her feel as unwelcome as possible in both Notting Hill as well as in London. Cats that are loved, appreciated, and esteemed do not often leave home of their own freewill.

Although there is not any known connection, Freya is not the only four-legged member of the Osborne household to have done a runner in recent months. For example, back in July the family's hamster broke out of its cage and went on the lam for two weeks before it was found and rescued by Freya.

Freya Was Always on the Outside Looking In

So, it is perhaps not just cats that cannot abide living under the same roof with the Osbornes. (See The Independent, August 8, 2014, "George Osborne's Cat Freya Recovering at the Vets After Being Struck by Car.")

In addition to getting used to a new environment and different people in her life, Freya undoubtedly will miss, at least for a while, visiting her old haunts in Westminster, especially the Red Lion, as well as all the attention has been ladled on her in the past. In time, however, she will forget about them just as Fleet Street and the world are destined to forget about her.

Sooner or later, however, a brief notice will appear out of the blue in the London dailies recording her demise. Most likely, she either will be prematurely killed off by her new caretaker or run down and obliterated by a motorist.

That is precisely how it ended for both Humphrey and Sybil after the elites on Downing Street had exploited them to the hilt and then sent them packing. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

She will not be quite so easily forgotten, however, by her legions of admirers around the world who are going to dearly miss seeing her and reading about her exploits. It truly has been a rare and distinct pleasure to have been able to have shared her life, even if it has been only from afar.

She therefore truly belongs to, not Osborne and his cronies, but rather to the world. If there was so much as an ounce of justice in life, her fate would have been decided by those who love and admire her instead of a second-rate old political hack who merely exploited her for his own benefit.

It has been said before but it nonetheless bears repeating: real men do not hide behind cats and small children. They do not shirk their moral responsibilities and they do not tell outrageous lies.

The only thing positive that can be said about old Georgie "Porgie" is that it is somewhat poetic that a blighter who has spent his entire life down on his knees sucking the pennies out of the cracks of the rich now has been relegated to scooping up dog shit. While he is at it he might as well go whole hog and thus join Lola in a little copraphagia.

Photos: the Evening Standard (Freya relaxing) and The Independent (Lola, Freya in the street, up close, and outside number 11).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer


"...she also likes to spend time in the bar. On many an evening she can be found in Westminster's favored political watering hole, the Red Lion, despite having to cross four lanes of traffic to get there. Apparently at the end of the evening the barmaids regularly have to carry her back home."
-- Oliver Wright of The Independent

Freya, the resident feline of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had an especially close call on the evening of August 7th when she was struck by a motorist outside of her residence at the world famous 10 Downing Street. The details are pretty sketchy but she apparently was attempting to cross perilous Whitehall Road when she was mowed down.

According to the August 8th edition of the Daily Mail, she was left "battered and bruised." (See "George Osborne's Cat Freya Being Treated by Vets after Being Run Over Outside Downing Street.")

The August 8th report in The Independent was even bleaker. "Not very well at all," is how it summed up her condition. (See "George Osborne's Cat Freya Recovering at the Vets after Being Hit by Car.")

Fortunately, kindhearted pedestrians came to her rescue and saw to it that she was rushed to a veterinarian. As best it could be determined, the nature and extent of her injuries never have been made public.

Consequently, it is not known either how much trauma she was put through or how long it took her to recuperate. All that can be said is that she certainly looks well enough in a photograph of her that was posted September 16th on the Facebook page of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. That of course could be an old snap.

The Chancellor afterwards expressed his gratitude to those who came to Freya's assistance but insisted that he would pay for her treatment out of his own pocket. No information has been released as to the identity of her assailant but it would seem likely that she was the victim of a hit-and-run motorist in that it was passersby that came to her aid.

The good news is that Freya somehow survived and is still gracing the face of the earth. The bad news is that Osborne, his authoress wife, Frances, and their two children, Luke and Liberty, have not publicly announced any preventative measures designed to better protect her fragile life.

Relying upon the general public in order to look after a cat is an extremely dicey proposition as both a nameless two-year-old tuxedo and twenty-seven-year-old dog lover Dylan Cottriall of St. Helens in Merseyside found out firsthand back in July. Emaciated, dehydrated, and near death as the result of an infestation of fleas that were sucking the very life out of her, the cat had keeled over in the gutter alongside a busy highway.

Freya in a September 16th Photo Released by the Foreign Office

Unlike the Londoners who came to Freya's rescue, none of the passing motorists could be bothered with stopping to check on her condition. Even Cottriall at first thought that she likely had been run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist but, thankfully, he had enough compassion and concern for her in order to pull over and make certain one way or the other.

"I stopped and went over to her to see if she had a collar and it was then I could see she was moving," he related to The Reporter of St. Helens on July 11th. (See "Outrage as Drivers Ignore a Dying Cat.") "She was just a bag of bones and had simply given up. Although she was at death's door she didn't stop purring even though she was too weak to do anything to help herself."

Cottriall then rushed the cat to Paws n Claws where she was provided with the emergency veterinary care that she so desperately needed in order to recuperate and thus to go on living. At last report she was in foster care with Gill Farrar of St. Helens.

Although little or nothing is known about the events that led to her abandonment alongside that busy thoroughfare, it is an entirely different story as far as Freya is concerned. Born in April of 2009, Osborne reportedly purchased her as a present for his children while he and his family were residing in Notting Hill, a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London.

She did not stick around for long, however, and instead mysteriously disappeared a few months later. The Osbornes reportedly blanked the tony neighborhood with "Lost Cat" posters but Freya never was located.

They eventually wrote her off as being dead and forgot all about her. The Conservatives later prevailed in the 2010 election and a year later the Osbornes moved into 10 Downing Street when George became chancellor of the Exchequer.

As was the case not only with Mark Twain but Prime Minister John Major's cat, Humphrey as well, the news of Freya's death turned out to be premature. In June of 2012, Frances received the shock of her life when she got a telephone call informing her that Freya not only had been found but, best of all, was alive and well.

The identification was made thanks to implanted microchip after Freya had been brought to a veterinarian for unspecified reasons by an unidentified neighbor of the Osbornes in Notting Hill. As best the story can be pieced together, the neighbor had not seen the posters and, believing her to be a stray, had been feeding her in a garden.

St. Helens' Cat, Cottriall, Gill Farrar, and a Woman Identified Only as Lizzie

Since the neighbor resides only a few streets removed from the Osbornes' dwelling, the only logical conclusion to be drawn from events is that they neither searched very hard nor very long for her. In particular, it is totally inexcusable that they did not personally knock on every door in the neighborhood.

That criticism in no way obviates the myriad of difficulties associated with locating an errant cat. Motorists, dogs and other animals, as well as ailurophobes kill them with impunity and afterwards their corpses are quickly disposed of by either garbagemen or the summertime heat.

Animal Control officers, the RSPCA, and other so-called humane groups steal and exterminate them all the time. Plus, they often become accidentally trapped inside automobiles, boxes, discarded furniture, and other movable objects and as a result wind up hundreds, even thousands, of miles from home.

Many private individuals also rescue homeless cats and then lock them up permanently inside, thus foreclosing any opportunity for them to ever return home. In spite of all those impediments, if a lost cat is still living outdoors on its home turf someone likely has seen it and probably is feeding it.

Although the neighbor in question is to be commended for feeding and providing Freya with veterinary assistance, it is shameful that the individual did not provide her with shelter. Not only are London winters far from being pleasant affairs, but she would have been much safer spending at least part of her time indoors.

After having been successfully reunited with the Osbornes, Freya took up residence with them at 10 Downing Street which, contrary to popular belief, serves as the official residence of the chancellor of the Exchequer. The prime minister and his family reside at the more commodious number 11.

It did not take the intrepid moggy long, however, to put her own indelible paw prints on her job as the number two mouser in Her Majesty's government. That began when the Osbornes, not wanting to lose track of her again, outfitted her with a £50 diamante collar with a tag.

Even that act of bon sens was not without controversy coinciding as it did with the austerity budget that Osborne had foisted upon his fellow citizens. (See the Daily Mail, July 20, 2012, "Feline Flush: Chancellor's Cat Shows Off Her Diamante Collar as She Prowls Downing Street.")

Freya and Her Pricey Collar

Later in October of that year, she became involved in a well-publicized scrap with Prime Minister David Cameron's cat, Larry, on the steps of number 10. One observer even later claimed that she had gotten the better of him. (See The Telegraph, October 16, 2012, "Police Called to Break Up Violent Cat Fight in Downing Street.")

It even has been alleged that she is a far more proficient mouser than Larry. That in turn spawned an erroneous rumor that she even had taken his job. (See the Daily Mail, September 16, 2012, "A Paw Performance! Larry the Downing Street Cat Is Sacked as Number 10's Chief Mouser after Chillaxing (sic) Too Much on the Job.")

One of the numerous limitations associated with implanted microchips is that they neither can be seen nor deciphered with the naked eye; for that, scanners owned almost exclusively by veterinarians and shelters are required. It therefore was fortunate that the Osbornes had equipped Freya with a collar and a tag because in May of this year she did yet still another runner.

On that occasion, she wound up in Vauxhall, more than two kilometers removed from home, and in the borough of Lambeth. Fortunately, she was found by Kate Jones of Thames Reach's London Street Rescue who allowed her to spend the night on her pillow.

Thanks to the information contained in Freya's tag, Jones was able to contact the Osbornes who immediately dispatched a chauffeur-driven limousine in order to collect her. It is unclear from press reports but apparently Freya was AWOL for only one night.

Her deliverance did not come without a political price tag, however, in that Jones took full advantage of the golden opportunity presented to her in order to post not only a photograph of Freya online but to accompany it with a blast at Osborne for his disgraceful neglect of the homeless. Regrettably, there is not any evidence to suggest that the dressing down that he received from her has had any impact upon his policies.

Much more importantly, it is doubtful that he even realizes just how rare it is to locate a lost cat once, let alone twice. "It's wonderful when you read about these reunions, but unfortunately for ninety per cent of lost cats, there is no returning home," Lorie Chortyk of the BCSPCA somberly pointed out to The Province of Vancouver on January 2, 2011. (See "Cats Rarely Come Back.")

The dangers associated with Freya's occasionally getting lost pale in comparison to the menace posed by London motorists. In particular, she is known to be a regular at the Red Lion located at 48 Parliament Street (a  continuation of Whitehall under a different name) and a little less than half a kilometer  removed from home. "...she also likes to spend time in the bar. On many an evening she can be found in Westminster's favored political watering hole, the Red Lion, despite having to cross four lanes of traffic to get there," is how Oliver Wright of The Independent described her perilous trek on June 7, 2013. (See "Lost Pet or Double Agent? Meet Freya, the Roving Tabby of the Treasury.") "Apparently at the end of the evening the barmaids regularly have to carry her back home."

Freya and Larry

Even more astonishing, Osborne is acutely aware of just how much danger he is placing her in through his abject neglect of her. For instance, back in February he publicly acknowledged that she was a regular at the bar. (See YouTube video of February 28, 2014 entitled "Fuller's Red Lion, Westminster, Is Reopened by George Osborne.")

She also has been sighted backstage at the Trafalgar Studio Theatre at 14 Whitehall, also half a kilometer from home but in the opposite direction from the Red Lion. Her roaming around the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office at number 10, and Exchequer do not pose much of a threat to her safety in that they are closely situated together and on the same side of Whitehall.

That is not meant to imply that even Downing Street itself is completely free of dangers as the aforementioned Humphrey discovered back in the 1990's when he came within an eyelash of being run down and killed by a limousine lugging around the ultimate political whore, Bill Clinton. (See Cat Defender post of April 6, 2006 entitled "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18.")

The failure of Old Blighty's political elites to better protect their resident felines is made all the more inexcusable by the petit fait that it would be rather easy and inexpensive for them to create a safe haven around numbers ten and eleven for Freya, Larry, and all future cats to roam. The area already provides enough gardens and public buildings in order to furnish them with plenty of fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and mental stimulation all within a safe and secure environment.

All that is needed would be to extend the height of the fences and walls which surround the compound and to install netting on the top. Aesthetics are not an issue given that Downing Street has been closed to the public since 1989.

An even better solution would be for the authorities to go whole hog and close Whitehall and the City of Westminster to all vehicular traffic. The time has come to remove both murderous motorists and their greenhouse gas emitting noisy machines from the inner cities and to transform those areas into pedestrian malls.

Neither proposal would be too much to ask especially considering how all recent occupants of Downing Street have so nakedly exploited their cats as valuable political props while simultaneously demonstrating little or no regard for their personal safety and well-being. Almost as shameful, no animal protection group in England is willing to so much as even contemplate holding them accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes.

The cold shoulder that Cameron and his minions have shown Larry over the years is a good case in point. Back in 2009 when he was still in the opposition and only daydreaming of political power and glory, Cameron put the kibosh on any notion of there being a resident feline in any new government that was led by him.

Freya at Home

By the time that February of 2011 had rolled around he had changed his tune and had consented to adopt Larry from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2011 entitled "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

It did not take long, however, for Larry to wear out his welcome and for Cameron and his cronies to start belittling and sniping at him at every opportunity behind his back. (See Cat Defender post of November 28, 2011 entitled "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

A fork in the road of sorts was reached last year with the publication of Matthew d'Ancona's tome, In It Together. In the tell-all exposé, d'Ancona claims that Cameron does not care for Larry because he has failed to solve the rodent problem plaguing his residence and leaves cat hairs on his expensive suits. The prime minister also apparently does not even like the smell of cat food.

Once news of Cameron's reported antipathy toward Larry became public fodder a "Save Larry" campaign was launched on Twitter and that, at least for the time being, has saved both his job and home. "I can set everyone's mind at rest in the #Save Larry campaign," Cameron tweeted. "He and I get on purr-fectly well. The kids love him too."

Should the Tories fail to prevail in next year's upcoming election, Cameron will no longer need Larry and that very well could end up costing him his home. In that case, he most likely would be either sent back to Battersea or fobbed off on to an obliging staffer.

That is precisely the cruel fate that befell Humphrey. Although both the Iron Lady and Major welcomed him with open-arms, Tony Blair's resident witch, Cherie, could not bear the sight of him.

The miserable old hag, whom the Countess of Wessex once referred to as "horrid, horrid, horrid," first attempted to have him done in and when that ploy was foiled by Fleet Street she had him exiled to the residence of an unidentified staffer. "Humphrey is voting with his paws," a Tory spokesman chimed in on that unhappy occasion. "After eight happy years under a Conservative government he could take only six months of Labor."

He died in obscurity in March of 2006, but never has been forgotten. "He has caught numerous mice and the odd rat," a Cabinet dossier compiled on him and released in 2005 stated. "By a perhaps unfair comparison, Rentokill have been operating for years and have never caught a thing."

Freya Is Given the Bum's Rush by a Foreign Office Flathead

The document went on to famously describe that wonderful feline gentleman as "a workaholic who spends nearly all his time at the office, has no criminal record, does not socialize a great deal or go to many parties and has not been involved in any sex or drug scandals that we know of." (See The Times of London, March 20, 2006, "Political World Mourns a Killer Named Humphrey" and former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe's loving remembrance of him in The Telegraph, January 26, 2011, "A New Cat for Westminster.")

A simply adorable black and white female named Sybil who was owned by Osborne's predecessor, Alistair Darling and his wife, Maggie, was treated even shabbier than Humphrey. Brought down from Edinburgh by the Darlings on September 10, 2007, she initially was given free rein of the grounds and even had her own basket at the Exchequer.

"Sybil has been brought down because there are mice here," Darling declared upon her arrival. "She's a really good mouser." (See Cat Defender post of September 19, 2007 entitled "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil.")

Alas, even that valuable and much sought after talent was not nearly enough in order to save either her job or home because Darling's boss, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, turned out to be a closet cat-hater. Sybil accordingly lasted only six months on the job before she was unceremoniously sacked and cruelly fobbed off on an old acquaintance of the unconscionable Darlings.

Like Humphrey before her, she either died or was deliberately killed off by her new owner on July 27, 2009 while living in obscurity. (See Cat Defender post of August 13, 2009 entitled "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

"As numerous thinkers have noted, cats often have a soothing quality on their owners," is how The Independent began its July 29th eulogy of her. (See "Feline Friends.") "Granted, the economy is looking as shaky as a newborn kitten at the moment, but imagine what condition it might be in
without Sybil."

The one thing that both Freya and Larry have going for themselves is that they are owned by Tories who are occasionally more favorably disposed toward the species than their counterparts in the Labor Party. Additionally, Osborne appears to genuinely like animals in that in addition to Freya his family has a budgerigar named Gibson, a Bichon Frise named Lola, a hamster, and a pair of goldfish.

The odds therefore are at least even that he will choose to hang on to Freya regardless of what happens next year at the polls. Unless he dramatically mends his irresponsible ways and takes considerably better care of her, however, that is going to be a moot point.

Freya Makes Yet Another Daring Escape

In spite of their myriad of shortcomings and failings as guardians, English prime ministers and chancellors of the Exchequer treat cats slightly more humane than their utterly nauseating American counterparts who care little or nothing about the species, animals in general, and Mother Earth; au contraire, the only things that they care about are sucking up to the rich, lining their pockets, killing people, and telling lies.

For example, George H. Bush's cat, India, was either killed off or died from natural causes shortly before he and his family vacated the White House. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2009 entitled "India Dies at Age Eighteen Leaving the White House Without a Resident Feline for
the First Time in Sixteen Years.")

Callous and uncaring Clinton fobbed off Socks on his secretary, Betty Currie, as soon as he no longer had any further need of him. (See Cat Defender posts of December 24, 2008 and March 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Former First Cat Socks Is Gravely Ill with Cancer and Other Assorted Maladies" and "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")

The utterly worthless stooge currently ensconced in the White House not only does not want anything to do with cats but has sat idly by while the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has launched en masse extermination campaigns against them on San Nicolas, the Florida Keys, and elsewhere. He also has sanctioned the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of Ernest Hemingway's world famous polydactyls in Key West. (See Cat Defender posts of February 24, 2012, June 23, 2011, and January 24, 2013 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of Their Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island," "Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys," and "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

All of those atrocities are in addition to the tens of thousands of bobcats, cougars, jaguars, lynxes, ocelots, and other large cats that are being systematically liquidated each year by the USDA's Wildlife Services and other federal agencies. Even more alarming, the fate of both small and big cats alike is not even part of the political discussion; the president and the feds merely assume that they have a divine mandate to do with them as they see fit.

Although politicians are entitled to own cats just like everyone else, they should be required by law to not only take proper care of them but to respect their inalienable right to live. Furthermore, in failing to fulfill their moral and custodial responsibilities to them, they are setting a simply horrible example for their constituents.

An individual can, either wittingly or unwittingly, fail a cat in countless ways but to knowingly allow one to regularly venture out into traffic on a busy, four-lane road constitutes the very epitome of animal cruelty and Osborne accordingly should be held accountable for  his shameful negligence. Unlike with Larry, however, there does not appear to be a "Save Freya" campaign on the horizon and that makes her situation all the more desperate because her precious life is rapidly slipping away like sand through an hourglass.

Photos: The Independent (Freya up close, at home, in the street, and scaling a wall), Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Facebook (Freya beside a statue), The Reporter (St. Helens' cat with her rescuers), Political Pictures (Freya's diamante collar), and The Telegraph (Freya and Larry).