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Cat Defender

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Snubbed by an Ignorant, Tasteless, and Uncaring Public for the Past Twenty-One Years, Tilly Has Forged an Alternative Existence of Relative Contentment at a Sanctuary in the Black Country

Tilly Has at Least Some Access to the Great Outdoors

"Over the years that we have had Tilly at the sanctuary, she has been passed over by more than thirty-thousand people looking for a cat."
-- Joyce Clarke

There are an infinite number of cat stories that are crying out to be told; in fact, every cat has a story that deserves to be taken down and preserved somewhere just to establish that either he or she had lived and not died in vain. Out of that tremendous number, perhaps no one is more worthy of being remembered and honored while that she is still alive than a twenty-four-year-old tortoiseshell named Tilly.

How, when, and under what circumstances it all began for her are secrets that she likely will take with her to her grave. As far as the remainder of the world is concerned, however, her recorded history began in 1995 when she and the litter of kittens that she had just given birth to were discovered holed up in a coal bunker in a garden.

By that time she already was somewhere between one and three years old and likely had been abandoned sometime before that by her uncaring and unscrupulous owner. She certainly had not been sterilized and that proved to be a stroke of Glück im Unglück in that it meant that her genes had at least some small chance of living on regardless of whatever became of her.

As things fortunately turned out, that coal bunker was not the end of the line for her but rather it marked the beginning of a new and entirely different life. The specifics are unknown, but one way or another she was handed over to Joyce Clarke who operates a sanctuary in the small West Midlands' town of Wednesbury.

The establishment has been identified in various press reports as either the Wednesbury Cat Sanctuary or the West Midlands Animal Welfare Sanctuary but since neither of them has a presence on the web it is assumed, correctly or incorrectly, that it is a private, nameless one that Clarke has operated out of her house for the past thirty years. If, on the other hand, the secrecy is due to fears that the place easily could become overrun with cats dumped by the public, that serves only to underscore how truly lucky Tilly was to have been taken in all those years ago.

All of that is inconsequential when compared to the stunning realization that she is still living there today, twenty-one years later. That, most assuredly, was not how that Clarke had scripted it for things to turn out for Tilly.

She initially was put up for adoption but, if Clarke is being completely truthful, no one ever wanted any part of her. "Over the years that we have had Tilly at the sanctuary, she has been passed over by more than thirty-thousand people looking for a cat," she averred to The Mirror of London on April 4th. (See "Oldest 'Rescue Cat' in United Kingdom May Be Most Rejected after Being Rejected Thirty-Thousand Times by Potential Owners.")

That great a number of snubs is nothing short of astounding in that it means that Tilly has been rejected one-thousand-four-hundred-twenty-eight times each year that she has been with Clarke. That further breaks down to one-hundred-nineteen rejections per week and a staggering seventeen snubs per day.

There also could have been other factors involved and principally among them is the very real possibility that Clarke eventually grew so fond of her that she could not bear the thought of giving her up to another individual. She also could have wisely and compassionately mandated that Tilly not be declawed and that proscription would have disqualified a number of potential adopters from consideration. A lack of access to the great outdoors could have been another sticking point.

Although there is not anything in the public record to even remotely suggest that this was the case with Clarke, some shelters and sanctuaries are doing a real disservice to the cats that they have in their care by ruthlessly running roughshod over not only their lives but those of their potential adopters as well. They are doing so by not only mandating that their cats be sterilized, microchipped, and vaccinated against all sorts of unnecessary and imaginary ailments but that prospective adopters foot the bill for these and other procedures and manipulations.

Tilly Is Anything But Aloof with Joyce Clarke

Still other rescue groups attempt to make as much money as possible off of each cat that they sell back to the public and such ruthless and inhumane trafficking in those that already are down and out and on death row discourages some people from adopting. Besides, it is not universally true that individuals with money make better guardians than do those that are considerably less prosperous.

Perhaps most galling of all, some groups never completely relinquish control of the cats that they adopt out but instead insist upon making surprise visits in order to check on how well they are getting on in their new homes. Although no halfway conscientious rescue group ever wants to see a cat either abused or neglected, the "Big Brother" mentality and tactics that some of them are known to stoop to are seldom effective and oftentimes counterproductive.

As far as Tilly is concerned, Clarke attributes her rejection by the public to her personality. "It was probably her personality that meant nobody ever wanted to adopt her," she added to The Mirror. "She can be a bit stroppy and would occasionally snap at people, but not anymore."

It is difficult to know with any certainty but Tilly's standoffishness and wariness could be attributable to her having been taken away from her mother too early. For example, that was the assessment rendered by Robyn's Nest and All the Rest Animal Rescue of an inadequately socialized six-month-old black kitten named Bilbo Baggins that it took in after he had been dumped at a pet store in the Melbourne suburb of Doncaster on May 12th of last year.

"He doesn't know how to play," Nadia Munday, who for a while served as his foster mother, said of him at that time. "Most kittens are taught how to play by their mother (sic) when they start venturing out of the nest around three weeks of age, and when they are too rough playing the mother cat tells them off. It's almost like he hasn't had any of that." (See Cat Defender post of December 3, 2015 entitled "Bilbo Baggins Does Justice to the Memory of His Esteemable Namesake by Surviving Being Hogtied, Wrapped in Plastic, and Stuffed into a Shopping Bag in Order to Finally Come Out on Top in the End.")

Like Bilbo, Tilly also could have been abused during her early years. If that along with having been prematurely separated from her mother did not contribute to her disdain for humans, life on the rough and tumble streets of the Black Country certainly would have soured her on the world of man.

In the final analysis, however, none of those arguments are really all that persuasive in that the blame for her lengthy confinement at Clarke's sanctuary most assuredly lies, not with her, but rather with the abysmally ignorant, tasteless, and callous public itself. "They (potential adopters) want a cat that will come over for a cuddle and she didn't fit the bill," Clarke confided to The Mirror.

Whereas it is well understood that dog owners care only for animals that will worship at their feet, the conventional wisdom used to be that cat owners were above such shamefully selfish and idiotic thinking and conduct but that apparently is not always the case. If so, there is not much hope that civilization ever will be able to rise above the ugly truths that Euripides spoke of way back in 420 B.C. in his play, "Hippolytus."

The Sanctuary Is the Only Real Home Tilly Has Ever Known

Take for example this rather poignant exchange between the protagonist and one of his attendants:

Attendant: "Dost know, then, the way of the world?"

Hippolytus: "Not I, but wherefore such a question?"

Attendant: "It hates reserve that careth not for all men's love."

Hippolytus: "And rightly too. Reserve in man is ever galling."

Attendant: "But there's charm in courtesy?"

Hippolytus: "The greatest surely, aye, and profit, too, at trifling cost."

If all of that were not distasteful enough in its own right, the same subservient mentality also holds sway not only in the next world but with the blessed immortals as well. For instance:

Attendant: "Dost think the same law holds in heaven as well?"

Hippolytus: "I trow it doth, since all our laws we men from heaven draw." (E.P. Coleridge, translator)

In other words, all the world loves flatterers, fawners, and strokers and that has profound implications for all morality, law, social relations, economics, and politics. All is not lost, however, in that there are some individuals who have proven themselves to be fully capable of rising above such baseness and one of them was Philadelphia writer Agnes Repplier who in her famous essay, "Agrippina," wrote the following:

"Rude and masterful souls resent this fine self-sufficiency in a domestic animal, and require that it shall have no will but theirs, no pleasure that does not emanate from them.

"Yet there are people, less magisterial, perhaps, or less exacting, who believe that true friendship, even with an animal, may be built upon mutual esteem and independence; that to demand gratitude is to be unworthy of it; and that obedience is not essential to agreeable and healthy intercourse. A man who owns a dog is, in every sense of the word, its master: the term expresses accurately their mutual relations. But it is ridiculous when applied to the limited possession of a cat. I am certainly not Agrippina's mistress, and the assumption of authority on my part would be a mere empty dignity, like those swelling titles which afford such innocent delight to the Freemasons of our severe republic."

Théphile Gautier could not have agreed more. "Si vous êtes digne de son affection, un chat deviendra votre ami mais jamais votre esclave," he once astutely pointed out.

The indictment against the supposedly cat-loving English public is by no means confined to those multitudes who, apparently, do not recognize any discernible differences between felines and canines, but rather it also extends to those who harbor ingrained prejudices against those cats that are elderly, frail, and suffer from impaired vision. For example, last summer more than five-hundred of them turned up their crooked noses at a nineteen-year-old female named Pops before she finally was able to secure a new home at the last minute. (See Cat Defender posts of August 6, 2015 and September 12, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Elderly, Frail, and on Death Row, Lovely Pops Desperately Needs a New Home Before Time Finally Runs Out on Her" and "Pops Finally Secures a Permanent Home but Pressing Concerns about Both Her Continued Care and Right to Live Remain Unaddressed.")

For any true lover of the species, a cat's age, appearance, health, disabilities, and personality quirks are totally irrelevant. Furthermore, there arguably is not any more satisfying achievement on this earth than to finally be able to win the love and trust of a wary and standoffish cat, such as Tilly.

Nevertheless, the shabby treatment meted out to both her and Pops is an indication of just how low the cat-owning fraternity has sunk since Francis Scarfe penned the following lines to his poem, "How We Should Regard Cats Like Grizabella:"

"Those who love cats that do not even purr,
Or which are thin and tired and very old,
Bend down to them in the street and stroke their fur
And rub their ears and smooth their breast and hold
Their paws, and gaze into their eyes of gold."

Tilly May Be Old But Her Health Is Rather Good

Even though at first glance it would appear that Tilly has led a sad and tragic life, there are other indications that point in an entirely different direction. That is because in some respects she not only has persevered in what Charles Dickens would have called reduced circumstances but, more importantly, thrived.

In particular, not only has she more than earned her keep by assisting Clarke and her staffers in caring for the other cats at the refuge but she additionally has found meaning and a purpose in life by taking a keen interest in those that are disabled. "She is so good with the other cats in the shelter and has looked after a few of them herself," Clarke declared to The Mirror. "There have been times when we've had paralyzed and blind cats come into our rescue center and Tilly has really taken them under her wing. We kept finding them asleep with Tilly looking after them."

Not a good deal has been revealed about Tilly's life at the sanctuary but other than being recognized as England's oldest rescue cat she lives in the same cottage with Clarke and has plenty of food and water as well as access to veterinary care whenever she needs it. She also has the companionship of Clark and the other forty cats that reside at the sanctuary.

Even though the facility likely is fenced-in, that does not mean that she has spent her entire life cruelly cooped up indoors. "She has lived in the cottage and has got fields and land to hand," Clarke told the Express and Star of Wolverhampton on April 4th. (See "Tilly the Rescued Cat Still Without an Owner after Twenty-One Years.")

Best of all, she is in remarkably good shape. Her weight is good, her eyes are still bright, and her fur is so glossy that hardly anyone encountering her for the first time would be able to correctly guess her age.

"She can be a bit grumpy but she is in good health," Clarke told The Mirror. "She has only really had minor things wrong."

In addition to the superlative care that she has received from Clark, she doubtlessly also has long and robust genes to thank for her longevity. The proof of that lies not only in her but also in one of her kittens that was born in 1995 and is still alive today and living with her and Clarke.

Luck sans doute also has played a key role in her life in that tortoiseshells are believed by many to be endowed with it in spades. "We have got a lot of old cats but Tilly is the oldest of all of them," Clarke added to The Mirror. "We knew that cats can live for a long time and once had a cat that lived to be twenty-three, but never as old as Tilly."

Whereas some establishments, such as Cats With No Name in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, and Tenth Life Sanctuary in Clewiston, Florida, have given sanctuaries a bad name, Clarke's operation appears from all outward considerations to be a credit to the movement. (See Cat Defender posts of May 10, 2010 and May 17, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Lunatic Rulings in Cats With No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies" and "Julie Levy and Her Henchmen Ride to the Rescue of Maury Swee's Severely Neglected Cats and Promptly Slaughter at Least One-Hundred-Eighty of Them.")

First and foremost, Clarke refuses to kill off those that are healthy and although that is a good starting point she desperately needs to expand that policy to include the killing of all cats under any circumstances. As things now stand, the only real difference between a healthy cat and an unhealthy one often boils down to monetary and labor considerations and no individual or institution should be afforded that kind of discretion in matters of life and death.

At this rather late stage in Tilly's remarkable life, the sanctuary wisely has given up on getting rid of her. "We're not looking for a home for her now," Clarke vowed to the Express and Star. "It would be too much for her at her age."

Tilly Does Not Have Any Regrets and Is Not Looking Back

Whereas Tilly conceivably might be able to successfully adopt to new surroundings and different people, such a transition would in all likelihood be way too stressful for her. In that light, it is always important to remember that although dogs may belong to people cats belong to places.

Tilly's fate, either for better or worse, was sealed a long time ago and she should be allowed to live out her remaining days with Clarke and her four-footed friends at the sanctuary. Besides, she seems to be happy enough and totally unconcerned about not having a conventional home.

Besides, there really is not any reason why she should lament not having either what she never has known or, if she did, only briefly. She also appears to be every bit as psychologically fit as she is physically and not to have suffered any adverse effects from being rejected by so many potential adopters.

In all likelihood she probably could care less what those thirty-thousand fools felt and said about her. Good riddance! The loss has been all theirs, not hers.

Her plight does, however, bring up the thought-provoking dilemma of what cats actually do need and want out of life and the first part of that equation is considerably easier to address. Specifically, they first of all require protection from their sworn enemies because they are totally incapable of surviving on their own no matter what the University of Lincoln and others argue to the contrary. (See Cat Defender post of October 9, 2015 entitled "A Lynch Mob Comprised of Dishonest Eggheads from the University of Lincoln Issues Another Scurrilous Broadside Against Cats by Declaring That They Do Not Need Guardians to Safeguard Their Fragile Lives.")

Beyond that they need shelter, food, water, veterinary care, and the companionship of other cats and at least one human counterpart. They most definitely are not islands unto themselves any more than humans are but exactly how much human interaction they desire depends upon their upbringing and circumstances.

In that sense, they are not really all that different from humans in that they desire to have the best of both the natural and civilized worlds. The wild outdoors can be pleasant when the weather is hospitable, food is readily available, and their surroundings are free of both human and animal predators. A loving home can likewise be appreciated but even it fails to satisfy all of a cat's desires.

Due to circumstances beyond her control, Tilly missed out on having a conventional home but she nevertheless has done all right for herself at Clarke's sanctuary. The arrangement may not be ideal but she at least has bits and pieces of both worlds and, perhaps, that has proven to be enough for her.

The life that she has forged for herself there certainly dwarfs by a country mile any sort of meager existence that she would have had on the street and the proof of that is to be found in her good health and longevity. In the end all that really matters is that she has survived against Herculean odds.

She is a real treasure and it certainly would be well worth both the trouble and expense of visiting the sanctuary just to get a fleeting glimpse of her. It even would be a rare and distinct honor just to have her turn up her dainty nose and hiss before ambling off in an air of marked disdain and insouciance.

Photos: London Metro (Tilly outdoors), The DoDo (Tilly with Clarke and in profile), The Express and Star (Tilly indoors), and The Mirror (Tilly up close).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Corpses of Eleven Cats Are Found Locked Inside Pet Carriers That Were Dumped Alongside North Carolina Roads but the Authorities Are Unwilling to Go After Their Killer

One of the Dump Sites 

"The animals had been very decomposed which leads you to believe they had been dead for several months."
-- detective Tim Handy of the Madison Police Department

Employees of the Public Works Department (PWD) in tiny Madison Township, fifty-three kilometers north of Greensboro, made an horrific and disturbing discovery when they arrived at work just before 6 a.m. on May 4th. Dumped alongside a service road near Old Covered Bridge Road were six pet carriers which later were determined to contain the remains of seven cats.

Later that same morning at around 11:30 a.m. an unidentified park ranger stumbled upon the bodies of four additional cats trapped inside an unspecified number of carriers a little more than two kilometers south of the first site on U.S. 220 near Janet Road and Phoenix Auto Sales and just outside the Madison city limits in the manufacturing town of Mayodan.  As was the case with the first set of victims, their cages were lined with newspapers and contained several inches of rotting cat food and accumulated feces.

News reports are rather sketchy and somewhat contradictory, but apparently the only differences between the two sites other than the number of victims was that a plastic trash can also was found at the first one whereas at least two feeding dishes were found at the latter one. It accordingly is not known if the cats had been supplied with water because it could have been either previously consumed, evaporated on its own, or spilled during the bandying about of their death chambers.

Since employees of the PWD and the park ranger apparently frequent both locations on a more or less daily basis, it is believed that all of the eleven cats were dumped at their respective locations sometime between 6 p.m. on May 3rd and the following morning. Determining when they were killed is a considerably trickier proposition.

"The animals had been very decomposed which leads you to believe they had been dead for several months," detective Tim Handy of the Madison Police Department (MPD) theorized to WGHP-TV of High Point on May 4th. (See "Crates with Decomposing Cats Inside Found on Sides of Rockingham County Roads.")

While that certainly is a possibility it is by no means conclusive in that the carcasses of cats decompose at varying rates depending upon where and under what conditions they are either maintained or dumped. For instance, corpses that are stored indoors in either freezers, air conditioned rooms, or in unheated areas disintegrate at a rate far slower than those that have been left outdoors and thus exposed to the torrid rays of the sun. The freezing cold likewise acts as a preservative while scavengers and maggots will make quick work of most any dead animal.

A necropsy therefore is the only sure way of determining how long that they had been dead. The newspapers that lined their carriers might possibly however furnish some clues as to the approximate date of their incarceration. That is true even if their publication dates are missing because it is rather easy to match up news stories and advertisements to their counterparts on the web.

Most important of all, a necropsy should be able to determine exactly what killed each of the victims. Whereas kidney failure due to dehydration is a distinct possibility, they apparently did not starve to death. Besides, if their gaoler was thoughtful enough to have provided them with food that individual likely gave them water as well.

A post-mortem most assuredly also would be able to detect the presence of sodium pentobarbital and other lethal drugs in their systems and such a finding would serve to not only orient law enforcement officials in their investigation but it also would narrow down considerably the list of potential suspects. Even if that ultimately proved not to be the case, the law enforcement community would still have numerous forensic tools at its disposal.

First of all, the pet carriers and feeding dishes should have been immediately dusted for fingerprints and vacuumed for microscopic evidence. After making a note of their brand names, manufacturers, and relative ages, they next should have been photographed.

All retailers in the vicinity that sell pet carriers and food dishes should have been contacted next. Considering the large number of carriers used in the commission of these diabolical crimes it is entirely possible that a merchant just might happen to recall making either a single sale of that quantity or a series of smaller ones to a particular individual or organization.

The Other Dump Site 

Secondly, the food found in each carrier should have been analyzed in a laboratory in order to have determined both the brand and its age. In order to follow through on that thread, investigators would have needed to expand their dragnet from pet stores to supermarkets, drug stores, and other retailers that sell cat food.

Even the feces as well as the urine that had collected in the newsprint needed to have been scrutinized in a laboratory for clues. If the cats were either beaten, tortured, or used as guinea pigs the telltale signs of such abuse likely still would be detectable in their bones, skin, and fur.

Both locations where the cats were found should have been cordoned off and treated as crime scenes. Molds and photographs should have been taken of any and all footprints and tire tracks.

The police additionally should have canvassed door-to-door all residential dwellings and businesses located anywhere near both crime scenes. That is a real long shot but it is always conceivable that someone may have either seen or heard something suspicious during the evening hours of May 3rd.

Piecing together a profile of either the individual or group evil enough in order to have committed such dastardly acts is an equally demanding task. Nevertheless, several issues are not in dispute and the authorities actually have quite a bit of data to work with if only they could be prevailed upon to act.

First of all, the perpetrator had access to a rather large number of cats and considering that the population of Rockingham County is only ninety-three-thousand-six-hundred-forty-three, it would not seem likely that the area is overrun with an inordinate number of them. Secondly, since pet carriers are not cheap, the culprit is quite obviously either an individual or a group with disposable income.

Thirdly, the fact that carriers, as opposed to large, heavy cages, were used is a rather strong indication that the guilty party regularly moves around cats. Fourthly, considering the large number of carriers employed, either a truck or a van likely was used in the commission of the crimes. Whereas it is theoretically possible that the carriers could have been crammed into a station wagon, that is unlikely owing to both the smell associated with the decaying bodies and the porous nature of the contraptions.

Fifthly, the selection of such conspicuous dumping sites is an indication that the culprit was in a hurry to have gotten rid of the cats and was not particularly concerned that they would be found so quickly. Otherwise, it would have been much easier and safer for the killer to have placed the cats' corpses in black trash bags and then either burned or deposited them in Dumpsters and no one likely ever would have been any the wiser. That individual then could have either held on to or disposed of the carriers and food dishes in any number of ways.

Sixthly, the selection of the service road as a dumping site would tend on the one hand to indicate that the perpetrator is either a local resident or at least someone who is familiar with the area. On the other hand, that individual merely could have accidentally stumbled upon both locations.

Seventhly, even though the dumping of the cats in such a public manner suggests that the killer was imbued with a certain amount of arrogance and hubris, these horrific crimes do not appear to have been the handiwork or someone who was deliberately flaunting either his or her devilry as was the case a few years back in British Columbia. (See Cat Defender post of April 13, 2012 entitled "Serial Killer Who Freezes the Corpses of Cats and Dogs in Blocks of Ice and Then Exhibits Them on His Neighbors' Lawns Is on the Loose in Dawson Creek.")

Eighthly, unless the perpetrator belongs to an organization that has unlimited access to additional pet carriers, it would appear that either he or she is, at least for the time being, getting out of the business of trafficking and killing cats. Absolutely nothing can be taken for granted, however, and that is another poignant reason why it is so vital and the authorities monitor the sale of carriers and cages very closely until this case is solved. It is, after all, entirely conceivable that the killer simply was too lazy and nauseated to have cleaned the carriers and accordingly plans on purchasing replacements and continuing to kill cats.

Au premier coup d'oeil, this would appear to be the work of a hoarder but the perpetrator's modus operandi does not exactly fit that mold. First of all, the number of cats involved is far too small unless, that is, the culprit has killed and dumped additional victims elsewhere and that is a possibility that the authorities should not ignore.

One of the Feeding Dishes

Secondly, anyone with the financial means to have purchased that many pet carriers likely also would have been able to have had at least some of the cats sterilized. Thirdly and most telling of all, eleven cats are not either all that difficult or expensive to house and feed. For instance, numerous individuals are able to take care of twice that many of them and with relative ease.

Regrettably, even some practitioners of TNR have been known to abdicate their solemn responsibilities to their charges by either removing them from their colonies and subsequently imprisoning them in carriers in their houses or, even worse, handing them over to veterinarians to kill. For that reason, the authorities cannot completely rule out such individuals and groups from their inquiry. (See Cat Defender post of December 22, 2011 entitled "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.")

Although it is freely acknowledged that there simply are not enough facts to go on in order to reach any firm conclusions, it nevertheless could have been the case that these eleven cats were the victims of institutionalized violence. Accordingly, research laboratories, veterinarians, pet stores, groomers, and wildlife rehabilitation centers and zoos that nakedly exploit cats as surrogate mothers should be considered as prime suspects.

Animal Control officers, who even under the best of circumstances operate largely above the law, also have the vehicles, pet carriers, lethal means, expertise, and independence in order to commit such dastardly crimes. Much like letter carriers who dump rather than deliver the mail, it would be so easy for them to do likewise with the cats that they either trap or those that are surrendered to them by their uncaring owners.

For example in August of 2006, Michelle A. Mulverhill walked away from her job in Oxford, Massachusetts, and that led to horrific consequences for the animals under her care and control. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2006 entitled "An Animal Control Officer Goes on a Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at a Massachusetts Shelter.")

Even the operators of cat sanctuaries have been known to hideously neglect their responsibilities and that is precisely what Virginia Kresge Justiniano and Andy J. Oxenrider of Cats with No Name in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, did back in 2009. Even more outrageously, they got away scot-free with the commission of their gargantuan crimes. (See Cat Defender post of May 10, 2010 entitled "Lunatic Rulings in Cats With No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies.")

Since they already possess licenses to kill, municipal shelters have little incentive to dump cats. Besides, most of them are subject to at least some minimal level of governmental oversight.

It is an entirely different matter for those organizations that operate private shelters and that, quite naturally, brings this analysis full circle to the criminal conduct perennially engaged in by slimy and despicable PETA. Not only does it have a long history of killing and illegally dumping cats and dogs but its death house in Norfolk is only three-hundred-eighty-one kilometers east of Madison. Plus, it deploys a fleet of death vans that operate throughout all of Virginia and parts of northern North Carolina in search of cats and dogs to steal and kill.

Quite often municipal shelters hand over large numbers of animals to the representatives of this criminal organization and they in turn kill them in their vans before dumping their corpses. For instance, in less than a thirty-day period back in 2005 two of its employees killed and dumped the corpses of seventeen cats and eighty-two dogs in a Dumpster at a Piggly Wiggly Supermarket in Ahoskie, three-hundred-eighty kilometers east of Madison in Hertford County.

The Tar Heel State's utterly disgraceful judicial system would not countenance holding these mass murderers accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes and as a result both the duo as well as PETA walked away scot-free. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs," plus The News and Observer of Raleigh, April 15, 2008, "PETA Workers Cleared of Animal Cruelty (sic) Convictions.")

The clean bill of health given the organization has left it free to continue to steal and kill with impunity and it certainly has not been the least bit shy about availing itself of the golden opportunity given it by the courts. (See Cat Defender post of October 7, 2011 entitled "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed" and The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, December 1, 2014, "Man Says PETA Took His Dog from Porch, Killed Her.")

Another Feeding Dish

It is important to point out, however, that at this juncture there is not so much as a shred of evidence to link PETA to the killing of the eleven cats in Madison. Nevertheless, based upon its past conduct, the location of the crimes, and the modus operandi of the perpetrator, it cannot be completely excluded from the list of suspects.

More to the point, all institutions, shelters, rescue groups, and individuals that traffic in cats must, at least theoretically, be regarded as suspects. The authorities first should concentrate their investigation within a fifty-mile radius of Madison but if that should fail to produce results the search should be widened to include at least another one-hundred miles. Although it seems unlikely, it is remotely possible that the cats were killed elsewhere and subsequently dumped in Madison by either someone or group from outside the area.

The investigation is being handled by the MPD and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office (RCSO) in Reidsville but it has not been disclosed what, if any, forensic tests have been performed or if any suspects have been questioned. If previous cases of this sort are any barometer, neither organization has stirred so much as a muscle in order to bring either the guilty party or parties to justice.

For its part, the RCSO has been acting as if it is totally unaware that a crime in fact has been committed. "Reach out to us," sergeant Kevin Sutland implored in the WGHP-TV article cited supra. "Let us help the animals. Let us try to find them new forever homes."

Unless that quote has been taken out of context, he apparently does not even know the difference between acts of abominable animal cruelty, which are patently illegal, and the perennial difficulties associated with finding guardians for homeless cats. Besides, mindless jawboning is not going to crack this case.

Every bit as disgraceful, the local media have dropped the story like a hot potato and that in turn has made it possible for the authorities to leisurely sit back on their fat cracks and do absolutely nothing. Local humane groups and individual cat lovers also appear to be permanently out to lunch.

The one group that has ventured to shove in an oar has been the thoroughly discredited Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its willingness to help can only be described as a case of subtraction by addition. That is because its assistance has been limited to offering a minuscule and totally irrelevant $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

"Leaving these cats for dead inside their kennels and carelessly tossing them out is heartbreakingly cruel and also a serious crime," the organization's Erica Geppi blew long and hard in a press release dated May 5th. (See "Reward Offered in Rockingham County, North Carolina, Cat Cruelty Case.") "We hope our reward helps find the person or persons who committed this despicable act (sic)."

As it is the case with Sutland's gruntings, hope does not contribute a blessed thing toward solving animal cruelty cases. In order to accomplish that Herculean task, the best forensic science available, dedication, and steadfastness are needed but, regrettably, all of those components are in exceedingly short supply in Rockingham County.

More to the point, the HSUS is only offering the reward because it is absolutely certain that it never will be called upon to make good on its pledge. If it were even halfway serious about bringing the perpetrator to justice it would dispense with its empty rhetoric and acts of beau geste and instead promptly dispatch a team of trained investigators to Madison in order to beat the bushes.

It would be great fun, however, to see some intrepid individual even so much as attempt to collect from the organization. That is because it is a foregone conclusion that Wayne Pacelle and his minions would hem and haw until the cows came home before finally filling their silk drawers if they ultimately were forced to part with so much as a lousy penny, let alone five-thousand smackers, from their precious hoard. Why, just the exertion involved in cutting the check would tax these good-for-nothing, bone-lazy misers, who make Jack Benny look like a spendthrift, beyond the limit!

Furthermore, the organization's intransigence, duplicity, grandstanding, and mendaciousness are not anything new. For example, after pledging to defend the cats on San Nicolas it turned around and sold them down the river to their sworn enemies. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, July 10, 2008, April 28, 2009, November 20, 2009, and February 24, 2012 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island," "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island," "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service," "Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How Many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island," and "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of the Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island.")

Along about that same time it joined forces with its bosom buddies at PETA in an attempt to have the survivors of Michael Vick's notorious dogfighting ring killed. Fortunately, it was thwarted in its evil designs on that occasion by Judge Henry E. Hudson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond and the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, both of whom rallied to the long-suffering and horribly abused canines' defense.

Even Though She Was In Bad Shape the Colchester Cat Deserved to Live

Neither the dumping of cats in pet carriers along the sides of thoroughfares nor the rot that so infests the animal protection movement are by any means confined to this side of the Atlantic. Au contraire, both odious practices extend to England and its animal welfare groups.

For instance, along about the beginning of July of last year a forever nameless gray and white female of undermined age was beaten about the face with some type of blunt object before being locked up in a blue pet carrier and then dumped in a pile of rubbish on Easthorpe Road in Colchester, eighty-two kilometers northeast of London in Essex. She remained there battered and bruised, pestered by the insects and elements, and without food and water for two to three weeks until finally her desperate plight was discovered by an unidentified motorist who had stopped in order to take some photographs.

"She was emaciated beyond belief and looked as if she had been hit around the face before being thrown out of the window. She was crawling with maggots," Samantha Garvey of the RSPCA, which came and collected her, later revealed. "I could barely believe this cat was still alive she was in such a terrible state. I can honestly say it was one of the most heartwrenching sights I have ever seen."

Acting in full accordance with its warped business model, the RSPCA quickly made sure that she did not remain in that condition for much longer. "Sadly, there was nothing which could be done to save this poor cat, she was in such a bad state," Garvey continued. "We took her straight to a vet who said she had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering."

C'est-à-dire, the RSPCA did not even attempt to save her when she unquestionably deserved to have been afforded every opportunity in the world to have gone on living and that is especially the case considering the way that she had been treated. Moreover, the mere fact that she still had enough strength left in her to meow for help is a rather strong indication that she wanted to live.

Unlike the cats dumped in Madison, she was still wearing a pink collar with three bells on it and that is a pretty good indication that she, at least at one time, had had an owner who cared about her. Lamentably, no one ever came forward in order to claim her remains and it is extremely doubtful that the RSPCA even bothered to so much as open an investigation into her horrific murder. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2015 entitled "Beaten and Entombed Above Ground for Several Weeks, a Forever Nameless Cat from Colchester Is Finished Off by the RSPCA Which Refuses to Even Investigate Her Death.")

Contrary to what an awful lot of individuals earnestly believe, the lives of cats are not any less precious than those of their human counterparts and as such they are deserving of the same protections of the law. In fact, a good argument could be made that due to their vulnerabilities they are entitled to even more stringent protections. In reality, however, their lives count for next to nothing with both the law enforcement community and those phony-baloney charities that are sworn to protect them.

As a consequence, no matter how heinous the crimes, numerous the victims, or prolonged the suffering, neither the police nor rescue groups can be prevailed upon to take cruelty to cats seriously. Even on those exceedingly rare occasions when arrests are made, successful prosecutions are launched, and jurors convict, meathead judges cavalierly brush aside the law and allow the killers and abusers to escape with suspended sentences, probation, and court costs. It therefore is almost unheard of for cat killers to be sent to jail.

The life of the Colchester cat did not matter one whit to the RSPCA and so far both the MPD and the RCSO have demonstrated the same callous indifference to the fate of the eleven cats killed in and around Madison. The warped thinking and do-nothing attitude of the authorities on both sides of the pond brings to mind the following description of the greedy capitalist Medbourne, the wastrel Colonel Killigrew, the crooked politician Gascoigne, and the scandal-plagued widow Wycherley that Nathaniel Hawthorne introduced to the world in his famous 1837 short-story, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment:"

"With palsied hands, they raised the glasses to their lips. The liquor, if it really possessed such virtues as Dr. Heidegger imputed to it, could not have been bestowed upon four human beings who needed it more woefully. They looked as if they had never known what youth or pleasure was, but had been the offspring of Nature's dotage, and always the gray, decrepit, sapless, miserable creatures, who now sat stooping around the doctor's table, without life enough in their souls or bodies to be animated even by the prospect of growing young again."

The only real difference between Dr. Heidegger's research subjects and those individuals and groups charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty statutes is that the latter aggregate does not suffer from a lack of youthful vigor but rather from something that is far more sinister. Specifically, none of them recognize any substantial difference between right and wrong and for that reason they are completely lacking in all justice, compassion, honesty, and integrity. Tant pis, their intransigence serves not only as an official endorsement of cruelty to cats but also as a green light for yet still additional individuals and groups to take up arms against the species.

Photos: Madison Police Department (pet carriers and food bowls) and the Herts and Essex Observer of Bishop's Stortford (Colchester cat).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A London Hospital Waives Its Draconian Anti-Cat Rules and Grants the Final Wish of a Cancer Victim by Allowing Her to See Her Beloved Patch One Last Time

Patch and Gladys Wray

"It was a beautiful moment. I put her hand on Patch to stroke him and everyone in the room heard her breathing change. She knew he was there."
-- David Wray

Regardless of either the circumstances or the foe, facing the final curtain is never easy. "I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine," Joe Conrad observed in Heart of Darkness. "It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with noting underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary."

Some of those irrepressible and gloomy thoughts no doubt coursed through the mind of Gladys Wray as she reclined in her bed at Queen's Hospital in Romford in the London borough of Havering earlier this year. The sixty-six-year-old resident of Haydon Road in the East London community of Dagenham was fighting a losing battle against lung cancer and fast approaching the end of her earthly journey.

In addition to the all-consuming struggle to stave off lapsing into oblivion, there are always the inevitable regrets and troubling reminders of all the things that have been left undone that bedevil the soul in its final hours. So, too, was it the case with Gladys.

In particular and while there was still time and energy remaining, she had one final wish and that was to see her beloved brown and white cat, Patch, one last time. She originally had hoped to get well enough in order to have returned home but when her condition suddenly deteriorated that became an impossibility.

Since cats are verboten at Queen's Hospital, that necessitated the dramatic, last-minute intervention of Mandarin A Ward clerk Leigh Kaniklides and palliative care occupational therapist Ursula Abbott who cleared away the red tape in order for Patch to visit Gladys.

"When I heard the family talking about her last wish to see her cat I couldn't stop thinking about it," Kaniklides told Your Cat Magazine of Grantham in Lincolnshire on April 12th. (See "Cat Brought to Hospital to Say Final Goodbye to Owner.") "I have cats and I know I'd want to see them."

By the time that the arrangements had been finalized the Grim Reaper already had his icy hands clinched tightly around Gladys' throat but it nonetheless is strongly believed that she still possessed enough presence of mind in order to have sensed Patch's presence. "It was a beautiful moment," her sixty-five-year-old husband, David, told Your Cat. "I put her hand on Patch to stroke him and everyone in the room heard her breathing change. She knew he was there."

With her last earthly wish now fulfilled she, sadly, died about an hour later. It has not been disclosed how Patch and her other animals are coping with the loss of their mistress but it is indisputable that she dearly cared about cats and that this world is a far poorer place with one fewer fan of the species in it.

"She loved animals -- we have another cat, Honey, and a dog, Roxy -- but cats were her favorite. She adored them," David continued. "It was a big surprise that we could take him to see her. Everyone on the ward was fantastic."

Press reports have not delved into why it is that cats are personae non gratae at Queen's Hospital, which is an integral part of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals and as such is underneath the thumb of the National Health Service (NHS) Trust. Nevertheless, by adhering to such an outlandishly outmoded policy the institution is bucking a growing worldwide trend in health care that long ago recognized the therapeutic value of cats.

Specifically, cats nowadays makes regular visits to hospitals and many of them have found permanent homes at nursing facilities. Most prominently among the latter group is an eleven-year-old gray and white tom named Oscar who along with five of his mates resides at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

That in and of itself is not any mean achievement but Oscar is better known for his uncanny ability to predict death. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2007 and May 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Visit from Oscar Means That the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at a Rhode Island Nursing Home" and "When Lovers, Friends, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left," plus David Dosa's 2009 tome, "Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat.")

Miss Kitty, a skinny calico who along with thirteen of her mates resides at the Phoebe Health Care Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is another member of that select fraternity. She is loved and appreciated so much in fact that staffers, residents, and volunteers held a party for her when she turned twenty-one on April 11, 2013.

"When we put the cat in their (inmates') lap (sic), that's when the magic happens," staffer Pam Kleckner told The Morning Call of Allentown on April 11, 2013. (See "In Allentown, a Senior Cat Gets the Royal Birthday Treatment.") "She responds well to all the attention, and they feel like they're caring for something."

Miss Kitty on Her Twenty-First Birthday Back in 2013

Nurse Gina Shupp wholeheartedly endorsed those sentiments. "The residents love her and the families do, too," she told The Morning Call. "They look for her, and when she's not on the counter they say, 'Where is she?'"

Even more impressive, the nursing home sometimes allows residents to bring along their cats with them and that is how Miss Kitty wound up there all those years ago. Specifically, she accompanied Kleckner's father, Fred Navatier, when he relocated from his home in Lehighton, forty-five kilometers north of Allentown. "He spoiled her and she's spoiled here," Kleckner summed up to The Morning Call.

There also is a growing body of evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, that recognizes a discernible link between human health and the companionship of cats. For instance, fifty-four-year-old cancer victim Sylvia Manning of Billericay in Essex was left distraught when her cat, Bear, mysteriously disappeared in 2013 while she was in the hospital receiving treatment.

Although there never will be any way of knowing for sure, it is conceivable that if he had been allowed to have accompanied her he not only would not have disappeared but that her treatment and recovery could have been expedited. (See Cat Defender post of April 24, 2013 entitled "A Cancer Victim in Billericay Issues an Urgent Appeal for the Prompt Return of Her Beloved Cat, Bear.")

Other cats, such as Tiger, Sumo, and Fidge, have saved their owners' lives by alerting them to cancers. (See Cat Defender posts of April 11, 2009, March 27, 2010, and April 20, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Tiger Saves His Owner's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung," "Taken In Off the Street by a Compassionate Woman, Sumo Returns the Favor by Alerting Her to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom," and "Grateful for Being Provided with a Loving Home, Fidge in Turn Saves His Mistress's Life by Alerting Her to a Malignant Growth on Her Breast.")

Furthermore, the health benefits to be derived from keeping cats are by no means limited to their uncanny ability to detect cancers. For example, they also are known to be able to anticipate both diabetic seizures and emphysema attacks. (See Cat Defender posts of May 18, 2009, April 21, 2012, and April 18, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Elijah Teaches Himself to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardians and Others," "Adopted from a Shelter only Hours Previously, Pudding Saves His Rescuer's Life by Awakening Her from a Diabetic Seizure," and "Blackie Stays Up Nights Monitoring His Guardian's Breathing for Emphysema Attacks.")

In some cases, a cat's love even has been known to transcend both death and the grave. (See Cat Defender posts of July 27, 2013 and March 28, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death" and "Even the Finality of the Grave Fails to Diminish Toldo's Abiding Love and Devotion to His Long Dead Guardian.")

Far from being a one-way street, individuals such as Rachel Honeycutt and Jennifer Foster love cats so much that they are willing to risk their lives in order to save even those that are perfect strangers. (See Cat Defender posts of August 10, 2009 and December 4, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Georgia Woman Is Struck and Nearly Killed by a Motorist while Attempting to Rescue Kittens Dumped in the Middle of a Busy Highway" and "Grieving Widow Risks Her Life in Order to Save Cosmo from the Jaws of a Hungry Coyote in Thousand Oaks.")

Others, such as Janice L. Rolfe of Grandview Heights, have been arrested for feeding hungry cats while still others, such as Hannelore Schmedes of Mahlum in Bockenem in Niedersachsen and Mamoru Demizu of Osaki, have gone to jail for stealing in order to feed both their own resident felines as well as those that are homeless. (See Cat Defender posts of February 26, 2007 and February 12, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio Schoolteacher Beats the Rap" and "Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats," plus the Hessische-Niedersächsische Allgemeine of Kassel, December 12, 2013, "Japaner wird aus Liebe zu Katzen kriminell.")

Tales of individuals who have been threatened with eviction from their apartments for feeding homeless cats are, likewise, almost endless. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2010 entitled "Old, Poor, and Sickly, Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats.")

John Beck was even fired from his job at ailurophobic Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, for demonstrating compassion for cats. (See Cat Defender post of June 14, 2006 entitled "Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University" and the Cortland Standard, February 22, 2007, "Groton Man Appeals Dismissal of His Lawsuit Against Cornell University.")

In an even more recent case that really takes the cake, forty-nine-year-old Chris Muth of Carroll Gardens not only lost his job, apartment, and girlfriend but also was locked up in a mental hospital for attempting to rescue a cat in distress. (See Cat Defender post of August 4, 2008 entitled "Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and Then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi.")

In rare cases, individuals have been known to kill themselves after they have lost the companionship of their cats. That is exactly what Alan Jordan of Tredworth in Gloucester did after his unidentified cat disappeared. Tragically, his sacrifice turned out to have been in vain in that the cat returned home a fortnight later. (See Cat Defender post of January 2, 2012 entitled "With No Reason Left to Go on Living, Tredworth Resident Takes His Own Life after His Beloved Cat Disappears.")

Shortly thereafter, forty-four-year-old Michael McAleese of Poole in Dorset did likewise after his cat, Sophie, died. (See Cat Defender post of June 12, 2012 entitled "Sophie's Sudden Death Proves to Be Too Much of a Burden for a Bachelor in Poole to Bear So He Elects to Join Her in the Great Void.")

The Happy Threesome: Spider and Lugosi with Barbarella Buchner  

There additionally is a growing trend whereby some individuals are eschewing settling down with their own kind and instead are marrying their cats. That is what thirty-nine-year-old Uwe Mitzscherlich of Bannewitz, twelve kilometers south of Dresden in Sachsen, and his fifteen-year-old black and white resident feline, Cecilia, did in early 2010. Famed Schauspielerin Christin-Maria Lohri officiated.

"Es klingt verrück, aber will meine Cecilia heiraten," he declared on that momentous occasion. (See Cat Defender post of May 20, 2010 entitled "A Simple Ceremony in a Garden Outside of Dresden Joins Forever an Unlikely, Albeit Devoted, Pair of Lovers.")

Long before that on January 9, 2005, transplanted Londoner Barbarella Buchner married her two cats, Spider and Lugosi, through the web site, www.maryyourpets.com. They now reside on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.

"My two cats are my soul mates. They're the loves of my life," she declared to The Mirror of London on January 6, 2015. (See "Barbarella Buchner: Woman Celebrates Ten-Year (sic) Anniversary after Marrying Her Two Pet Cats.") "I have no regrets, and I don't care what people say."

Before marrying Spider and Lugosi, the forty-nine-year-old web designer had several long-term relationship with members of the opposite sex but she never wanted to walk down the aisle with any of them. Finally, she gave up on men altogether.

"I never really wanted to get married to any of my human partners and I didn't know if I had it in me to be a wife," she explained to The Mirror. "If a man ever approaches me, I just tell them (sic) straight off, 'Sorry, I'm married to my cats'."

Not only has her relationship with her cats endured longer than any of her liaisons with men, but she also finds it more fulfilling. "I have loved and lived with a couple of partners before but realized that my love for my fur babies is so much deeper than anything I have felt for a human," she freely confessed to The Mirror.

As far as Spider and Lugosi are concerned, they are indeed fortunate to have Buchner to look after them and that is especially the case considering how abysmally homeless cats are treated on the Spanish-ruled island in the north Atlantic. For example, back in March officials from Yaiza stole at least nine feeding stations, and presumably shelters as well, from the grounds of the Playa Blanca Hotel in allegedly an attempt to spruce up the area in preparation for a visit by David Cameron and his family.

That cruel behavior left at least a dozen or two of the one-hundred-thirty cats cared for by Freddy's Cathouse without food and water. (See The Mirror of London, March 28, 2016, "Stray Cats Evicted from David Cameron's Five-Star Lanzarote Hotel Before Prime Minister's Visit.")

It therefore does not take much imagination to conclude that there is a whole other world out there and that as a consequence human happiness and fulfillment, as Barbarella, Uwe, and others have demonstrated, are not necessarily dependent upon the companionship of one's own kind. Such arrangements are not for everyone but they do provide an alternative to both loneliness and bad relationships.

In conclusion, considering the central role that cats now occupy in the lives of so many individuals it is time that institutions such as Queen's Hospital welcomed their presence and treated them in much the same fashion as they do family members and close friends of their patients. Such a change can only serve to boost morale and to speed recovery times.

Moreover, in the case of the terminally ill, such as Gladys, to deny them the opportunity to see their cats one last time can only be labeled as insensitive and cruel. Kaniklides and Abbott have pointed the way forward for Queen's Hospital and the NHS and now it is time for the high-muck-a-mucks to take the next step and put out the welcome mat to all cats.

As for Patch, Honey, Roxy, and David, these surely must be difficult days. They nevertheless have each other and their fond recollections of Gladys and those two positives, hopefully, will be sufficient in order to sustain them until the pain associated with their terrible loss slowly begins to recede into the past.

In that light, it is just too bad that neither Jordan nor McAleese had other cats to love and care for, otherwise they likely would have been able to have found ample reason to have persevered. They also could have adopted other cats and with there being so many of them in dire need of loving owners, that makes their precipitate behavior doubly tragic.

The truly beautiful thing about cats is that they are not particular and therefore will love almost anyone so long as they are not mistreated. Finding another woman in order to replace a departed spouse is not nearly quite as easy and for that reason David may be forced, at least for a while, into relying upon the companionship of Patch, Honey, and Roxy for his continued happiness.

Photos: the Yellow Advertiser of Essex (Patch and Gladys), April Bartholomew of The Morning Call (Miss Kitty), and The Mirror and News Dog Media (Spider, Lugosi, and Buchner).