"Some pieces of his tale remain unanswered but to us Ozzie will always be our Australian traveler who came to our care for a reason."
-- Cats Protection's Armagh Branch
There are numerous missing chapters in his all-too-brief life but even so it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that the fifteen years that Tigger spent upon this earth could not possibly have been anything other than abject misery. The mere fact that the large and affectionate ginger-colored tom was able to persevere for as long as he did exemplifies both his indomitable spirit and tenacious will to live.
As best it could be determined, he was born in Sydney in 1999 and a microchip was implanted in him a year later. In 2004, he inexplicably turned up as a stray at an unidentified veterinary clinic in London but the practitioners were either unwilling or unable to identify and thus contact his owners.
What happened to him after that is a closely guarded secret owing to the surgery's unwillingness to disclose what it did with him. Presumably, the practitioners either fobbed him off on another owner or surrendered him to a shelter but even that is at best conjecture.
Regardless of the dénouement
at the surgery, Tigger somehow managed to live for another eleven years until an unidentified woman in Laurelvale, fifty-six kilometers south of Belfast, telephoned the Armagh Branch of Cats Protection on June 7th in order to rat him out for loitering in her precious little patch of weeds. Quite obviously, she possessed neither the compassion to offer him some food nor the common decency to provide him with shelter and emergency veterinary care.
Even more appallingly, she did not even care that in telephoning Cats Protection she was initialing his death warrant. It is even conceivable that doing him in may have been her ulterior motive right from the start. (See Cat Defender posts of July 31, 2015 and August 19, 2010 entitled, respectively, "The Cold-Blooded Murder of Spitz Once Again Exposes the Horrifying, Ugly, and Utter Appalling Truth about Not Only Shelters but Callous Owners and Phony-Baloney Animal Rights Groups as Well" and "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")
True to its calling, Cats Protection arrived johnny-on-the-spot and immediately took Tigger into custody just as if he were nothing more than a convicted felon on the lam. It then transported him in a cage to the Willow Veterinary Clinic in Portatown, thirty-seven kilometers southwest of Belfast, where he was diagnosed to be suffering from malnutrition. If he was suffering from any other maladies at that time they certainly were not divulged by either Cats Protection or the surgery.
Rather, the public debate that followed focused solely upon the information disclosed by the microchip and as a consequence it did not take long before his past life was pieced together in higgledy-piggledy fashion albeit with numerous apertures, omissions, and inaccuracies. Most glaring of all, the charity at first claimed that he had been born in 1989 which would have made him an astounding twenty-six years old.
Secondly, even though it knew from the very outset that he had been christened as Tigger, Cats Protection nevertheless stubbornly insisted upon calling him Ozzie in a jeu de mots
deliberately designed to constantly rub his tiny nose in the humiliating fact that he had suffered the galling misfortune to have been born in a feline hellhole such as Australia. (See Cats Protection's press release of June 17, 2015, "Australian Cat Found in Northern Ireland.")
The organization then launched an international appeal on its web site, social media, and through the capitalist press in order to locate his longtime derelict owners in Sydney. "How we wish he could talk," it declared to The Daily Telegraph
of Surry Hills in New South Wales on June 18th. (See "Cat Born in Sydney Turns Up in Northern Ireland Animal Shelter.")
"Please share...we would love to solve this puzzle and maybe find his owners."
The organization even ventured so far afield as to contact the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) of Sydney Olympic Park in New South Wales which maintains an animal registry. "We are desperate to unravel the rest of this cat's past and hopefully reunite him with his owners," Gillian McMullen of the Armagh Branch told London's Independent
on June 18th. (See "The Mystery of the Twenty-Five-Year-Old Australian Cat Which Turned Up in Northern Ireland.")
"We have been in touch with the Australian Animal Register (si
c) and have our fingers and paws crossed on word from them on this cat."
Press reports are contradictory as the amount of cooperation that Cats Protection was able to get out of the RAS. For example, The Daily Telegraph
claims that the agency was able to locate Tigger's original owners and that it left a telephone message for them.
Meanwhile, Ulster Television (UTV) of Belfast reported on June 19th that Tigger's owners had been identified as world travelers and that they definitely wanted him back. That information is of dubious veracity, however, in that the station also ludicrously claimed that they had left him with friends in either Armagh city or County Armagh and that he later had done a runner. (See "Globetrotting Cat Mystery Solved.")
Such slipshod, slapdash reporting in no way accounts for either how Tigger made it across the Irish Sea from London to Armagh or what, if any, efforts his owners undertook in order to locate him over the course of the intervening eleven years. It also is exceedingly odd that Cats Protection and the RAS were able to accomplish at this late date in Tigger's life what the London surgery was unable to pull off in 2004. Quite obviously, someone is being considerably less than truthful.
It additionally is nothing short of reprehensible that Cats Protection would squander so much valuable time and resources in Australia when Tigger had not only been living in the United Kingdom for such an extended period of time but until fairly recently apparently also had a known, but not publicly identified, guardian somewhere in County Armagh. "The poor cat was starving but obviously had been cared for in the past because it was wearing a collar," McMullen conceded to The Daily Telegraph
in the article cited supra.
Most outrageous and unforgiving of all was the charity's utterly insane decision to attempt to send him back to Australia where the authorities are in the midst of eradicating more than two million cats over the course of the next five years. If Tigger had been sent back to the killing fields and so much as ventured out of doors he surely would have been felled on the spot by any one of the dozens of barbaric, sadistic, cunning, and underhanded means that the bloodthirsty Australians have conjured up in order to rid the land that they stole from the aborigines of cats. (See the London Telegraph, July 22, 2015, "Brigitte Bardot Condemns Australia's Plan to Kill Two-Million Feral Cats" and Bardot's July 21st letter to Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt entitled "Le gouvernment australien prévoit de tuer deux million de chats: Brigitte Bardot réagit.")
As things eventually turned out, UTV had it all wrong in that Tigger's original owners never made good on their pledge to come to Armagh and collect him. Plus, nothing further ever was reported concerning either the identity or the intentions of his recent owner in Armagh.
That left him at the mercy of Cats Protection and it certainly did not waste any time in lowering the boom on him. "Sadly his health has deteriorated and he is in kidney failure," the charity confirmed to the Daily Mail
on July 1st. (See "Globetrotting Aussie Cat Found in Ireland (sic) Is Spending His Last Days in a Cat Shelter after Being Diagnosed with Kidney Failure.")
"He is spending his last days with us and when the time comes it will end in dignity surrounded by love."
When it comes to killing cats the charity certainly means what it says and is not to be trifled with and as a direct consequence Tigger was dead by July 6th. "We were really hoping for a happy end to his story, but he had developed serious and untreatable kidney failure. In the end it proved too much for him and he was very weak and ill," McMullen claimed in a July 6th press release. (See "Dignified End for Globetrotting Puss Ozzie.")
"It was heartbreaking when the vet said the only thing we could do was to have him put to sleep. In the end, he died peacefully and quietly in my arms."
|Tigger Certainly Looked Healthy Enough on Death Row|
For starters, only a homicidal maniac ever could find any dignity in the cold-blooded murder of a cat. Secondly, although Cats Protection has not disclosed what was done with his remains, it more than likely casually tossed them out in the trash and it likewise is utterly impossible to find any dignity in such rank callousness.
"He was fifteen and had clearly led a very colorful and eventful life," McMullen further declared as an additional rationale for snuffing out his life. Like her argument about dignity, this is simply more self-serving sottise.
As if all of that palaver were not dishonest enough, either she or one of her colleagues had the unmitigated gall to slyly invoke divine providence as yet still another justification for killing Tigger. "Some pieces of his tale remain unanswered but to us Ozzie will always be our Australian traveler who came to our care for a reason," the charity pontificated to the Daily Mail
in the article cited supra.
First of all, Tigger did not come to Cats Protection voluntarily but rather was forcibly abducted from the street and shanghaied onto death row. Most important of all, it is extremely doubtful that either the gods or The Fates authorized his death and gave Cats Protection the right to kill him.
To engage in such patently bogus rationalizations is not only dishonest but insufferable as well. Like all cat killers, Cats Protection must accept responsibility for its own actions and stop fobbing off the blame for its despicable crimes on supernatural powers.
On a more practical level, it is strikingly peculiar that Tigger was able to somehow persevere for so long on his own but once Cats Protection got its hands on him he suddenly was deemed to no longer be fit to go on living. A very similar set of circumstances befell a sixteen-year-old homeless cat named Marvin from Half Moon Bay, California, in August of 2011.
Like Cats Protection, Ken White of the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo wallowed in pretty much the same nonsense in order to justify his killing of Marvin. (See Cat Defender post of September 28, 2011 entitled "Marvin Is Betrayed, Abducted, and Murdered by a Journalist and a Shelter Who Preposterously Maintain That They Were Doing Him a Favor.")
In that light it would be helpful to know exactly when Willow Veterinary Clinic arrived at its conclusion that he was suffering from irreversible kidney failure and what, if any, measures were undertaken in order to treat him. As for the malady itself, its onset has been attributed to almost anything and everything excluding the kitchen sink.
For instance, it has been linked to, inter alia
, the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLv), the Feline Immunosuppression Virus (FIV), abdominal trauma, genetic defects, urinary tract obstructions, hypertension, Feline Hyperthyroidism caused by exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other toxins in the home, diabetes, and inbreeding. Researchers at Colorado State University have found a troubling link between it and the vaccinations for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (herpes), the Feline Calcivirus (pneumonia), and Panleukopenia (distemper).
Veterinarian Karen Baker even blames the disease on a steady diet of dry food. (See "Why Do So Many Domestic Cats Have Chronic Kidney Failure?", August 6, 2012, at www.healthypets.mercole.com.)
In an undated article posted on about.home.com, Mary Marlowe Leverette claims to have uncovered a link between kidney failure in cats and laundry dryer sheets that are sometimes used in order to remove loose hairs and static electricity from their fur. Consumption of them also can be lethal. (See "Dryer Sheets Are Harmful to Cats and Dogs.")
Botched sterilizations also have been known to rob cats of the use of their kidneys. (See Cat Defender post of October 11, 2013 entitled "Heroic Hermione Is Holding Her Own Despite Tragically Losing a Kidney to a Botched Sterilization Two Years Ago.")
Although any one of those factors could have prompted Tigger's kidneys to fail, it additionally is conceivable that conditions at Cats Protection's shelter in Armagh could have exacerbated some underlying health issue that he may have had prior to his unjust arrest and incarceration. Regardless of the cause, the organization's terse announcement on July 1st that it was planning on killing him came as a coup de foudre
It also cannot be completely ruled out that he was liquidated, not because he was too sick to go on living, but rather due to financial considerations. That is because Cats Protection was not about to pony up for either his extended care or his treatment and, presumably, the same was true for his unidentified guardian in Armagh.
By default that left matters in the hands of his original owners in Australia who, because of their ability to travel the big, wide world, quite obviously have money to burn. When they, predictably, refused to come to Tigger's rescue, Cats Protection wasted no time in getting rid of him.
Although that analysis of events is, admittedly, pure supposition, it at least has the advantage of being buttressed by the well-known fact that kidney failure in cats is no longer a coup de grâce
. Au contraire,
it quite often can be successfully treated with dialysis, diuresis, renal replacement therapy, and chemotherapy but doing so is not only expensive but labor intensive as well.
Although prohibitively expensive for most guardians, kidney transplants are available for cats residing in both England and the United States but not Deutschland. (See the Hannover Allgemeine, October 27, 2010, "Kater aus Hannover bekommt US -- Niere für 7000 Euro.")
The best news, however, is that many cats do not need to go through all of that torture but rather their lives can be saved through the daily administration of subcutaneous fluids and by placing them on special diets. "I've seen even very sick cats, cats who need hospitalization in the beginning, do really well on home care with an owner who was willing to give it a try," Miami veterinarian Patty Khuly told the San Francisco Chronicle
on August 18, 2009. (See "Caring for a Cat Whose Kidneys Have Failed.")
"What makes the difference in how well a cat with kidney failure does is not how sick they (sic)
are, or how bad their kidney values are on a blood test. It is the attitude of the owner."
|The M1 Kitten|
The benefits to be derived from home care are not necessarily of a transitory nature either. "Many of these cats who are on the brink of death can be brought back with supportive care at home," Khuly added to the Chronicle.
"Not only brought back for days or weeks or months, but years. You just don't know unless you try."
Although the specifics of Tigger's disease have not been made public, there can be little doubt that he was killed solely because he did not have anyone in his corner who cared enough about him to even so much as to attempt to save his life. Otherwise, he very well might still be alive today.
It is a subject that is not discussed all that much but caring for a large number of felines, as Cats Protection does every day of the year, invariably leads to certain amount of institutionalized callousness whereby saving individual lives is more often than not sacrificed upon the utilitarian altar of doing the most good for the greatest number. Under such harried and parsimonious circumstances, it is difficult for questions of morality and compassion to receive anything other than short shrift, that is, if they receive any consideration whatsoever.
Regrettably, shelters make dozens, if not indeed hundreds, of these life and death decisions every day of the week. The only difference is that the tens of thousands of cats that they so callously sell down the river in the name of expediency and with hardly so much as a second thought never find their way, like Tigger, into public consciousness.
The operate under such a philosophy is not only morally indefensible but dishonest as well in that Cats Protection sans doute
reaped a windfall in terms of the donations that poured in from the public in order to relieve Tigger's plight. By killing him off while simultaneously holding on to those donations the charity is guilty of defrauding the public and as such should be held accountable under the consumer fraud statutes.
Far from being an isolated case, shelters and animal rescue groups all over the world practice the same leger de main,
especially when it comes to how that they deal with cases of animal cruelty. Specifically, instead of keeping alive the victims and apprehending their abusers, they kill off the former, turn blind eyes to the latter, and pocket the donations. (See Cat Defender post of January 6, 2010 entitled "Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie's Head.")
Furthermore, the killing of Tigger is far from being the only skeleton in Cats Protection's commodious and spidery closet. For example, in 2005 it got greedy and began depositing its money in an Icelandic bank known as Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander (KSF).
The heady times and high interest rates that KSF promised the charity came to a crashing halt in 2008 when it went bankrupt. As a result, Cats Protection lost £11.2 million and that resulted in eighty of its employees losing their jobs.
Much more importantly, the organization's recklessness undoubtedly ended up costing the lives of innumerable cats that it otherwise could have saved with those funds. (See the Daily Mail, October 10, 2008, "Cats Protection Set to Loose £11.2 Million as Biggest Charity Victim of Iceland Bank Crisis.")
In 2013, the charity's branch in Moray flimflammed twenty-nine-year-old Suzi Gallacher of Elgin, two-hundred-eighty kilometers north of Edinburgh, out of a cat named Bramble that she earlier had adopted from it. In particular, representatives of the organization seized it under the pretense of taking it to a veterinarian only to later leave Gallacher a message stating that Bramble had been reclaimed because she had allowed it out into her garden.
The Moray branch later was forced to concede that deceiving Gallacher had been "an error in judgment." (See the Aberdeen Evening Express, July 25, 2013, "Animal Charity Admits 'Error of Judgment' to Reclaim Cat from North-East Family.")
In January of this year the charity presented to Parliament its Manifesto for Cats
and although eight of its proposals are rather commendable the remaining two, if adopted by the legislators, would be disastrous for the species. In particular, the organization's call for the establishment of a national database in order to keep track of all cats would undoubtedly lead to the senseless killing of thousands of foreign cats who illegally enter the United Kingdom each year.
The authorities already kill an undisclosed number of them due to a lack of shelter space. "Our holding facility on the docks is designed for keeping a cat now not much longer than a day," PC David Palmer of the Port of Dover Police disclosed in 2013 after a cat named Poussey entered the country illegally from La Havre. "After that, if a home hasn't been found for it, the animal is usually put to sleep." (See Cat Defender post of July 25, 2014 entitled "Poussey Overcomes a Surprise Boat Rode to Dover, a Stint on Death Row, and Being Bandied About Like a Flying Dutchman in Order to Finally Make It Home to La Havre.")
Secondly, the six-month quarantine period that countries such as England, Canada, France, and the United States subject undocumented cats to is unduly lengthy in that caging a cat for ten days is usually sufficient in order to make a rabies determination. Besides, required vaccinations for that and other diseases can be administered on the spot and in a matter of minutes. (See www. petmd.com, "Rabies in Cats.")
Thirdly, the quarantine fees that these nations charge are not only exorbitant but end up costing many wayward felines their lives unless saviors can be promptly found in order to ransom their lives. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2008, August 18, 2008, September 8, 2010, December 9, 2005, and May 17, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire," "Ronaldo Escapes Death after a Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head," "Mandarin Survives a Long and Harrowing Sea Voyage from China to Canada Only to Wind Up in Hock to the Calgary Humane Society," "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes an Unscheduled Trip to France in the Hold of a Cargo Ship," and "A North Carolina Shelter Is Plotting to Kill a Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in the Cargo Hold of a Ship from China.")
Cats who through absolutely no fault of their own are stolen, become lost in transit, and wind up trapped inside vehicles and shipments of merchandise are all the time finding themselves in dutch with immigration authorities and instead of placing bounties on their tiny heads and issuing death sentences they should be afforded all the prevailing rights and privileges that are enjoyed by their counterparts who are legal residents. Any other approach is cruel and utterly barbaric.
It is by no means clear how this proposal would have affected Tigger if it had been in situ
in either 2004 or 2015. Nevertheless, it does not take a genius to realize that a cat without a loving and caring guardian in order to shelter and protect it is already up the spout and to have immigration officials aligned against it as well makes for a totally unwinnable situation that, barring a miracle, can only lead to its demise.
Moreover, if Cats Protection and its flatheaded allies within the political establishment are allowed to prevail, pretty soon no cat will be able to take so much as a bleeding piss without first receiving written permission from the queen, MI5, and the local water commissioner! The mere fact that such bureaucratic and veterinary chicanery is being used in order to make money and to kill innocent cats makes it all the more deplorable.
The charity' second ludicrous proposal calls for the mandatory microchipping of all cats. "It is only because of a microchip that we were able to identify Ozzie," McMullen caroled in the Armagh Branch's July 6th press release cited supra
. "But as his case highlights, it's really important to keep the details up-to-date."
, Tigger carried around inside of him a microchip for fourteen long and trying years and there is not so much as a solitary shred of evidence that he in any way benefited from its presence. Other than piquing Cats Protection's undying lust for money, the only thing of value that it revealed was the callousness of his Australian owners and the careless and irresponsible practices of the London surgery.
The chip additionally did him a great disservice in that without it Cats Protection never would have been tempted to embark upon a wild goose chase to Australia. It also easily could have gotten him either killed on the spot or deported.
On a much more broader level, microchips offer cats absolutely no protection whatsoever against the machinations of both animals and individuals intent upon doing them harm. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")
They also have been shown to cause cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is time for Digital Angel® and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law," plus The Chronicle of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, February 18, 2014, "Consett Cat Sassie Paralyzed in Microchipping Bungle.")
As if all of that were not horrendous enough, Katherine Moseby and her colleagues at the University of Adelaide are in the process of developing toxic microchips that are designed to kill cats. The chips are to be implanted, not in cats, but rather in those species fawned on by the eggheads and their political paymasters.
Specifically, the chips are designed to break open upon attack and to kill the cats while leaving the host species unharmed. (See Takepart of Beverly Hills, August 14, 2015, "Australia Targets Wildlife-Killing Cats with Toxic Microchips.")
As Jean-Jacques Rousseau pointed out in his 1750 treatise, Discours sur les sciences et les arts,
precious little good ever has been derived from the cultivation and spread of knowledge and technology. That is due principally to the fact that the benefits of such advancements are almost always monopolized by the evil people in this world in order to augment their power at the expense of others, the animals, Mother Earth and, above all, the truth.
"Progress is the destruction of the real world in favor of a technology that creates a comfortable way of life for a few fortunately situated people," is how Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. would later put it. The remainder of creation accordingly would have been far better off if man had remained relegated to the pre-Promethean state described by Aeschylus in his play, Prometheus Bound
, where he was without arts and hope and knew only that death was before him.
It even could be argued with some force that Prometheus should have allowed Zeus to destroy the entire human race. Whereas that is a debatable point, there cannot be any denying that man has grown too big for his breeches and that Zeus may yet be forced to intervene and, as Aristophanes maintains in Plato's Symposium,
once again chop him in two.
Due to all those considerations but especially the killing of Tigger, it initially was feared that Cats Protection's Midsomer Norton and Radstock shelter near Bath in Somerset was greasing the skids for a nineteen-year-old, nearly blind, tortoiseshell named Pops. (See Cat Defender post of August 6, 2015 entitled "Elderly, Frail and on Death Row, Lovely Pops Desperately Needs a New Home Before Time Finally Runs Out of Her.")
Apparently those fears were groundless in that the charity announced August 12th on its web site that it at long last had placed her in a new home. (See "Blind Cat Pops Finally Finds a New Home.")
No additional details have been provided, however, and that makes it all but impossible to corroborate the charity's claim. The best therefore that can be hoped for is that she has not received the same "dignified end" that it gave Tigger.
At about the same time that Pops was exiting its Midsomer Norton and Radstock branch, the charity's shelter in Armagh was welcoming a nameless young kitten that had been rescued in early August from the M1 in Lurgan, twenty-nine kilometers south of Belfast, by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Diagnosed at Willow Veterinary Clinic to be suffering from a cut lip and shock, it has been put up for adoption and time alone will tell what Cats Protection ultimately elects to do with it. (See UTV, August 14, 2015, "Kitten Rescued from M1 'Waiting for New Home'.")
Looking back over the course of Tigger's turbulent and distressful life it is impossible to find anything even remotely constructive to say about any of the dozens of individuals and institutions that sashayed into and out of his world. His life and, especially, his death therefore constitute a staggering indictment of both the callousness and malfeasance of the entire god-rotten lot of them.
Most inexcusable of all was the shameless behavior of Cats Protection which had at its disposal the veterinary expertise, manpower, and money in order to have saved his life but instead voluntarily chose to commit the cardinal sin of doing the exact opposite. Considering all the trials and tribulations that he had been put through, he richly deserved every chance in the world to have gone on living but the only things that he received in return from the charity were perfidy, a feast of self-serving sophistry and, finally, a lethal jab of sodium pentobarbital.
It also never must be overlooked that Cats Protection, whether for either financial or xenophobic reasons, wanted to deport him to his doom when it would have been much easier for it to have found him a sugar daddy in Armagh. That was, after all, the only way that his life could have been spared.
Secondly, the London surgery that failed to contact his owners, to update his microchip database, and to disclose to the public what it ultimately did with him, should not only be publicly identified but selected as well as the poster clinic for the entire veterinary medical profession. Once the huge number of cats that practitioners all over the globe deliberately kill each year, their outrageous incompetence, and the incalculable number of sick and injured animals that they send to their premature graves because of the exorbitant fees that they demand is taken into consideration, the picture of them that emerges is that of a thoroughly unprincipled criminal gang of cutthroat mercenaries who, outrageously, have appropriated for themselves the exclusive right to determine which animals are going to be allowed to continue living and at what price.
|Unsuspecting Tigger Never Knew What Hit Him|
To put the matter succinctly, they look down their crooked noses at cats as being little more than the expensive playthings of the bourgeoisie and the rich. At no time are any considerations of either morality or compassion allowed to enter into the desiccated recesses of their shriveled gourds.
Even more disturbing, since few, if any, complaints are ever voiced against the profession and how it conducts business, the general public surely must be every bit as morally bankrupt. Regardless of how widespread the selfishness and callousness may be, that does not alter the salient fact that affordable pet care is every bit as fundamental to the proper functioning of a civilized and compassionate society as is health care and for those individuals and groups who supposedly care about cats to allow veterinarians to continue to get away unscathed with their multitude of crimes speaks volumes for their lack of commitment to those whose cause they proclaim to champion.
Ever once in a blue moon a practitioner will make headlines by treating an impecunious cat but it is all for show and donations; worst still, absolutely nobody on the planet cares enough in order to investigate and disclose the desperate plight of the thousands of suffering animals to whom veterinarians turn deaf ears and hardened hearts. To put the entire sorry matter in a neat little nutshell, the practice of veterinary medicine is on a par with that of operating either an animal research laboratory or an abattoir.
Besides the uncaring and irresponsible conduct of his recent guardian in Armagh and the downright hostile reception that he received from the woman in Laurelvale, Tigger suffered the greatest amount of abuse at the hands of his original caretakers in Sydney. Not only did they shamelessly run out on him in 2004 but they left him marooned in a foreign land to boot.
There is absolutely nothing in the public record that would even hint at the remote possibility that they either cared so much as one whit about his welfare or that they undertook any efforts whatsoever to locate him. Having failed to learn a blessed thing from their past mistakes, they likewise gave him the cold shoulder back in June when he needed them the most.
Their errors of both omission and commission predate all of those offenses, however, and actually began when they initially decided to drag him all around the world with them. As an old Sprichwort
stipulates, dogs belong to people but cats belong to places and as such traveling with them is, under most circumstances, not a good idea.
First of all, traveling is not only traumatic for them but extremely dangerous as well. For instance, some of them freeze to death in the cargo holds of airliners. (See Cat Defender post of April 7, 2009 entitled "Pregnant Minskin Arrives in Oregon Frozen as Solid as a Block of Ice Following a Fatal Cross-Country Flight in the Cargo Hold of an Airliner.")
The airlines also loose a far greater number of them than either they or the industry's regulatory bodies are willing to publicly acknowledge. Airports, such as JFK in Queens, then turn around and systematically exterminate these lost pets whereas others, such as Manchester International in Ringway, cruelly give them the bum's rush. (See Cat Defender posts of November 5, 2007 and May 28, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Port Authority Gives JFK's Long-Term Resident Felines the Boot and Rescue Groups Are Too Impotent to Save Them" and "Abandoned, Homeless on the Street, Expelled by the Ingrates at Manchester International Airport, and Finally Whacked by Her Last Guardian, So Ran the Course of Ollie's Sad and Turbulent Life.")
On top of all of that, the legal restrictions placed upon cats that unwittingly venture across international frontiers are simply too onerous, expensive, and unwieldy, not to mention dangerous, as to make traveling with them a worthwhile experience. All of those factors combine to severely limit the options of owners who also like to see the world.
The only real solution is to leave them in their own houses with a family member who has graciously elected not to travel. Pet sitters are, generally speaking, not a good idea because cats require almost constant supervision. Boarding kennels are rife with disease and cat hotels are just too expensive.
For those adventurous souls not crossing international lines, recreational vehicles (RVs) are an option so long as strict security precautions are implemented and meticulously followed. Even under those circumstances disaster can strike at almost any moment as sixty-two-year-old Henriette Henault of 100 Mile House in British Columbia found out on September 29, 2010 when she lost her cat, Precious, after she was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for drinking while behind the wheel of her parked RV. (See The Province of Vancouver, October 2, 2010, "Woman Loses 'Parked' Motor Home, Cat, Misses Court Date in Divorce.")
Private yachts and jets are possible alternatives for those who want to take their cats along with them as they see the world but even they need to be wary of the machinations of immigration and customs officials. The vast majority of individuals soon realize, however, that owing cats, like having children, changes everything and as a consequence prior foreign adventures are destined to become only fond memories that never are to be repeated.
In spite of that myriad of daunting impediments, some individuals stubbornly insist upon leaving their beloved companions behind and hitting the road. For instance in May of 2013, Alex McAllaster of Fort Walton Beach went on a six-week sailing trip and in doing so left behind her beloved cat, Dante, with an unidentified roommate. She did that in spite of the fact that Dante, whom she had owned for eight years, is afflicted with a bladder condition that prevents him from consuming dry food.
When she returned home in late June she was horrified to learn that almost as soon as she was out the door her roommate had dumped Dante on a stranger that she had met in the parking lot of Sam's Club. Thanks to a fortunate tip from a public-spirited citizen, McAllaster finally was able to relocate Dante on June 29th.
He had lost eight of his sixteen pounds and had suffered unspecified liver damage but, thankfully, was expected to live. Although Dante's and McAllaster's misadventures ended happily, the episode demonstrates the myriad of risks involved in entrusting the care of a cat to anyone other than a reliable family member. (See the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach, articles dated June 7, 2013 and July 3, 2013 and entitled, respectively, "Roommate Gives Cat Away; Owner Searching" and "Cat Given Away by Roommate Found: 'As Soon as He Meowed, I Knew It Was Him'.")
In conclusion, it is difficult to fully comprehend the depth of the fears and deprivations that Tigger experienced as he was bandied about from Sydney to London and on to Armagh. All that can be said with any degree of certainly is that no cat ever should be so continuously uprooted, deserted, betrayed, and left to fend for himself in a world that even on its best days most closely resembles a nest of wipers as far as members of the species are concerned.
The mud and manure on the cake was, however, Cats Protection's unforgivable decision to kill, rather than to treat, him. Things could have turned out so very differently for him if only one person had cared just a tiny bit about him but not so much as an ounce of love was to be found anywhere along the wide expanse that separates Australia from Northern Ireland.
All that is left of him now are the photographs and the memories. It is difficult, however, to refrain from speculating on what it was that sustained him throughout all of his lonely and utterly terrifying perambulations.
Perhaps it was the memories of his happier days that kept him going. Charles Dickens, who was intimately acquainted with the abject cruelty that man is capable of inflicting upon cats and others, penned this memorable passage on the subject in his 1844 novel, Martin Chuzzlewit:
"Oh, weary, weary hour! Oh haggard mind, groping darkly through the past; incapable of detaching itself from the miserable present, dragging its heavy chain of care through imaginary feasts and revels, and scenes of awful pomp; seeking but a moment's rest among the long-forgotten haunts of childhood, and the resorts of yesterday; and dimly finding fear and horror everywhere! Oh, weary, weary hour! What were the wanderings of Cain to these!"
So, too, was it the case with noble Tigger, the cat who, sadly, never counted for very much of anything with anyone.
Photos: Cats Protection (Tigger), PSNI (kitten), and the Northwest Florida Daily News (Dante).