The Long and Hopelessly Frustrating Search for the Kidnapped Mr. Cheeky Ends Tragically Underneath the Wheels of a Hit-and-Run Motorist
"You've paid a high price for being so independent, friendly and fearless, or perhaps because of your resemblance to 'A Street Cat Named Bob', but you could never have been an indoor cat. It just wasn't in your nature. I'm so glad you got a last taste of freedom, albeit tragically brief."
-- Laura King
The long-drawn-out search for Mr. Cheeky has finally ended. Tragically, the three and one-half year old ginger-colored tom was intentionally run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist sometime January 28th on Cromwell Road, a scant 1.44 kilometers removed from the home that he shared on Brunswick Street East in Hove, East Sussex, with fifty-four-year-old Ollie Wilson and his common law wife forty-six year old Laura King as well as a black cat named Django.
An unidentified woman discovered his body in the road and rushed him to the Wilbury Veterinary Surgery at 20 Wilbury Street but it was too late to save his precious life. An implanted microchip was found and deciphered and, this time around, Petlog did its job by supplying the surgery with the names and address of his owners. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2017 entitled "Tigger Is Finally Reunited with His Family Despite the Best Efforts of the Administrators of a Microchip Database to Keep Them Apart.")
Nevertheless, this incident has graphically demonstrated once again that when it comes to safeguarding the lives of cats implanted microchips are thoroughly worthless. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")
Heinous and despicable acts of this nature also constitute the perfect crime in that neither the police nor phony-baloney animal protection groups can be so much as bothered with even superficially looking into them. Consequently, no arrest has been made and none is expected.
"I've been in bits all day thinking about it," King, who was notified of Mr. Cheeky's death at 11:50 a.m. by the surgery, wrote later that same day in an article entitled "The Kidnapping of Mr. Cheeky -- the Final Chapter" that was posted on the Facebook page Find Mr. Cheeky. "He had such a tough start to life, abandoned as a young cat, barely out of kittenhood, living on the streets and rescued by Lost Cats (of) Brighton, where we got him, and then only two and a half years of happy life with us..."
Although he was a rough and tumble tom, he also had his gentler side. "He was a tough and independent cat most of the time -- let's face it he ran the neighborhood in catty terms!-- but just occasionally he would be as soft as a marshmallow and allow a big cuddle, usually when he was tired," she continued. "Or if I let him sleep on our bed -- big treat-- he would start by sleeping nonchalantly at the bottom and gradually work his way up...through the night until he had wedged his head under my chin gently purring and bunting me with his nose until I was so hot I had to get up and relegate him back to the living room with his food and litter tray."
The surgery offered, for a hefty fee no doubt, to burn and dispose of Mr. Cheeky's remains but King instead asked it to hold them until she could collect them after the weekend because she was too upset to drive the 1.93 kilometers that separate her house from the surgery. She easily could have walked that short of a distance but apparently she did not even feel up to doing that.
As a result, the surgery refrigerated them. That is all that has been revealed but hopefully King and Wilson did reclaim and later bury them in their garden. The very thought of them being casually tossed out in the trash is too nauseating to even contemplate.
By way of commemorating Mr. Cheeky's life she is planning on hosting a Mad Catters' Tea Party February 19th at Patisserie Valerie on Western Road in order to raise money for Lost Cats. No further details have been disclosed, but it would be a nice gesture on its part if the shelter were to kindly reciprocate by naming either a fund or a wing in his honor. The shelter itself sans doute could sorely use the money after having recently lost its longtime founder, Ron Ayres, to the Grim Reaper and now to be facing eviction from its current location.
Although Mr. Cheeky's murder is sad enough in its own right, how that he came to be on Cromwell Road in the first place is an entirely different, and ongoing, story that began on December 4th when he was stolen from Wilson and King's courtyard by a pair of brazen thieves. Since they sometimes allowed him to stay out all night, they did not realize that anything was amiss until he failed to show up for breakfast the following morning.
In all likelihood they would have remained forever ignorant of his fate if one of their neighbors had not come forward and voluntarily supplied them with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage of his abduction. It has not been disclosed when the unidentified neighbor contacted them but it apparently was sometime considerably later because the surveillance video was not uploaded onto YouTube until December 15th.
"Our neighbor found these images on CCTV of our cat Mr. Cheeky being kidnapped by a couple, we think in their twenties, at 11:52 p.m. on Sunday 4th December," King disclosed to the Brighton and Hove News on December 15th. (See "Cat Thieves Caught on Camera.") "The man fusses (with) Mr. Cheeky, then the woman entices him with some food. They then pick him up and take him round the corner to the end of Brunswick Street East where it exits onto Waterloo Street."
|The Thieves Lured Mr. Cheeky into Their Net of Intrigue...|
The male culprit is described as being white, five-feet, eight-inches tall, stockily built, and with short brown hair that is shaved on the sides. He is wearing a black jacket, light-colored jeans, and dark shoes.
His accomplice was a five-foot, six-inch, white female wearing a long padded black coat with a fur-lined hood. She also had on a knee-length dark dress, black low-cut ankle boots, and light-patterned leggings. She additionally was carrying a white shopping bag.
"It's a callous and stupid thing for someone to do," Wilson angrily barked to The Sun of London on December 14th. (See "Catnappers: Heartbroken Couple Release (sic) CCTV Footage of Their Beloved Ginger Cat Mr. Cheeky Being Stolen from Outside Their Home.") "I'd never expected someone to steal Mr. Cheeky, he's not a pedigree cat."
C'est la vie. It is always unforeseen events that are the most difficult to cope with and, worst still, they constitute the norm as far as most cats are concerned.
"Mr. Cheeky had been inside all evening fast asleep," Wilson continued. "He left through the cat flap and was sat (sic) in the courtyard when he was taken."
King later corroborated her mate's version of events on that fateful evening. "My last memory of Mr. Cheeky was earlier on the night he was taken. I was sitting on the sofa in front of the TV and Mr. Cheeky was lying on his back on my lap reaching up with his paws to try and brush my hair with his claws," she wrote in the January 28th Facebook article cited supra. "It was one of his little things. He was fascinated by hair. But it was also a perfect moment which I will treasure always."
Chances are that he would still be alive today if either she or Wilson had had the bon sens to have locked the cat flap. In her defense, King stated on in a January 31st addendum to her January 28th article on Facebook that a miscommunication between her and her mate was the reason that the flap was not secured. For whatever it is worth, she insists that Mr. Cheeky was locked up nights ninety-five per cent of the time.
The case against Wilson and King's guardianship of Mr. Cheeky is even more egregious in that in addition to allowing him to stay out all night at times, they allowed him to roam the streets of Hove pretty much at will. "You had a paw in every door -- little children loved you -- and you followed us to the local pub too," King wrote in the January 28th Facebook article. "You even tried to follow me up the street to get the bus to work and were a regular visitor striding up the aisles at the Sunday Assembly in Waterloo Street!"
Ever since Wilson and King started their own business, MatchFit Media, of Brighton in late 2014 they undoubtedly have been away from home for rather extended periods of time at least five to six days a week and in doing so they, from all indications, left Mr. Cheeky to wander the streets all by his lonesome. (See PRWeek of New York, January 26, 2015, "Ollie Wilson Leaves CLA to Launch Brighton-Based Agency MatchFit Media.")
As if all of that were not reproachable enough in its own right, they not only inexcusably allowed him to scrap with dogs but even reveled in his deering-do to boot. "You wouldn't hesitate to look a dog straight in the eye or boot a canine nose which got too close," King revealed in her January 28th Facebook article. "You even managed to cow an American Bulldog two doors down and visit and walk around the flat as if you owned it."
Plus, Mr. Cheeky was known to be overly fond of people and bad things generally can be counted upon to happen to such cats. (See Cat Defender post of July 14, 2016 entitled "Missy, Who Was Too Kindly Disposed Toward Humans for Her Own Good, Is Memorialized in Wood at the Bus Stop That She Called Her Home Away from Home for Almost a Decade.")
That is just one more reason why that cats, contrary to popular opinion, should not be tamed any more than is absolutely necessary. A healthy wariness of humans is highly beneficial for their long-term survival. Also, as far as it is feasible owners never should allow anyone else to feed them.
|...and Then Spirited Him Away to Parts Unknown|
The negative aspect of such a policy is that shelters routinely kill cats that they deem to be unsocialized. Even so, almost any cat that is trapped and brought to one of these wretched killing factories can exhibit characteristics of being wild owing solely to the fear and stress that routinely accompany such a harrowing experience.
As a result, most cats cannot win no matter what their socio-economic status, temperament, and behavior. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")
In addition to contacting the Brighton and Hove News, Wilson issued a public appeal for Mr. Cheeky's return. "It's been very upsetting and stressful. Mr. Cheeky is such a character, he's much loved and we enjoyed having him at home," he told The Sun. "We're worried about him and we hope he is okay. I'm appealing to the people in the CCTV to please return Mr. Cheeky."
Zoe Ayres of the Sussex Police echoed those sentiments. "Mr. Cheeky is microchipped and is missed dearly by his owners. We are appealing to anyone who might recognize the man or the woman or have information as to the location of his whereabouts," she declared to The Sun. "I would also like to appeal to the people in the video as our main priority is to get Mr. Cheeky back safe with his owners. He is probably very distressed being away from his normal surroundings and it is obviously very upsetting for his owners."
In the extremely trying days and weeks that followed, King fly-posted the neighborhood with Lost Cat posters, offered a £300 reward for Mr. Cheeky's return, and established at least two pages on Facebook as well as writing about his disappearance on her blog, www.thepoetlaura-eate.blogspot.com. As far as it could be determined, she did not hesitate to check out every credible lead that she ever received but all of her efforts failed to bear fruit.
Arguably the most promising course of action available to her and Wilson would have been for them to have had stills made of the thieves from the surveillance tape and then to have circulated them around the neighborhood. In particular, these photographs ought to have been shown to both employees and patrons of the Bottom's Rest Pub at 16 Kerrison Mews, which is only about fifty feet or so removed from where Mr. Cheeky hung his hat.
"We suspect they (the thieves) may have left Bottom Rest's Pub at the top of the street before spotting Mr. Cheeky sitting in (our) yard," King theorized to the Brighton and Hove News in the article cited supra.
Sure enough the bar, according to information contained online, closes its doors at midnight and that tends to lend credence to her suspicions. Apparently that avenue of inquiry either was not pursued for whatever reason or turned out to be a a cul-de-sac.
In this instance, the valuable time that had elapsed between Mr. Cheeky's disappearance and when his owners were alerted to the existence of the surveillance video may have proven fatal. If, on the other hand, they had been able to show stills of the culprits to bartenders at the pub the very next day there is a good chance that they not only would have remembered serving the duo but might actually have known their names and address.
Furthermore since most, but not all, people go to bars in order to socialize, it is possible that one or more of the patrons who were on hand December 4th would have recognized the thieves. Any little tidbit of information gleaned from either patrons or employees could have been decisive in cracking this case.
The only other obvious option available to Wilson and King would have been for them to have temporarily shuttered their business and beaten the pavement day and night for Mr. Cheeky. If they did not want to do that, they could have retained the services of a private dick to have acted in their stead. (See Cat Defender post of April 2, 2015 entitled "Cornishman Shells Out £10,000 on Private Peepers in Order to Track Down Farah's Killer but Once Again Gets Stiffed by Both the Police and the RSPCA.")
Since Mr. Cheeky was able to stay alive for nearly two months that eliminates both PETA and the RSPCA from the list of possible suspects in that both groups routinely kill off all cats that they steal from the street. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007, February 9, 2007, October 7, 2011, June 5, 2007, and October 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom," "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs," "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed," "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated," and "RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband.")
|Lost Cat Posters Did Not Work This Time|
Vivisectors, fur and flesh traffickers, and other miscellaneous abusers likewise can be eliminated for that same reason. It seems unlikely in this instance but it is always remotely possible that Mr. Cheeky could have been stolen and dumped by either bird or wildlife advocates.
That is precisely what happened in Southampton, Hampshire, back in September and October of 2007 when a self-professed bird lover trapped and subsequently dumped between six and eight of his neighbors' cats at an undisclosed location. In a macabre resemblance to what happened to Mr. Cheeky, one of the stolen cats, a two-year-old ginger tom named Fletcher, later was killed by a hit-and-run motorist twenty-two kilometers from home in Corhampton.
"It makes me really angry at what has happened," his twenty-nine-year-old owner, Kelly Went, said afterwards in sentiments that have become all-too-familiar to both Wilson and King. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2007 and November 16, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crafty Bird Lover Claims Responsibility for Stealing Six Cats from a Southampton Neighborhood and Concealing Their Whereabouts" and "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton.")
In Mr. Cheeky's case, however, his abduction appears on the one hand to have been a random crime of opportunity. It is even conceivable that the thieves were drunk and stole him as some kind of a perverse prank.
On the other hand, the woman appears to have enticed him over with food which in itself would tend to indicate a certain amount of forethought went into her actions. It additionally is rather odd that he, in spite of his overly friendly nature, was so compliant and that in turns leads to speculation that he may have known his abductors. Since he was wearing a yellow collar, there can be little doubt that he was purposefully stolen as opposed to having been mistaken for a homeless waif.
The most perplexing aspect of this tragic and disturbing case concerns where and what Mr. Cheeky was doing between December 4th and January 28th and in that light absolutely nothing was known until certain unidentified individuals residing on Cromwell Road contacted King out of the blue a few days after his death in order to inform her that he had been frequenting their flat. They even supplied her with at least two photographs of him entering the premises through an open window on January 27th.
"Sadly the occupants hadn't heard about Mr. Cheeky's case to realize a stolen cat was visiting them or they would have kept him in and contacted us," King wrote February 1st in an untitled article posted on Facebook. "They are so upset but I have told them they mustn't blame themselves. If a cat looks okay and is wearing a collar, why wouldn't you assume they (sic) must belong to a neighbor?"
From that it can be inferred that she accepted their version of events because their physical descriptions do not match those of the culprits as shown in the video but beyond that her severely redacted version of that encounter raises far more questions than it answers. First of all, did Mr. Cheeky's collar contain contact data?
Secondly, through their abysmal failure to take any concrete steps in order to protect Mr. Cheeky's safety, the occupants of the flat have proven themselves to be every bit as callous and uncaring as both his owners and abductors. Thirdly, King most conspicuously of all fails to disclose how long that her cat had been visiting the flat.
"Our one crumb of comfort is that at least our darling wasn't malnourished when he died -- albeit thinner than when he was stolen," she concluded in the February 1st article. "But it still breaks my heart how scared and stressed he must have been for so many weeks. And how desperate to find his way home to us."
None of that is necessarily true. For instance, if he had been taken out of the area and dumped at a remote location, like Fletcher, and then attempted to find his way home, the telltale signs of his travails may have been evident in his worn-down claws and the pads on his feet and even a cursory veterinary examination would have detected such damage.
If that were not the case, a far more plausible explanation is that his abductors were astute enough in order to have kept him inside for at least a month. After that length of time cats, supposedly, forget all about their old abodes and owners.
|Mr. Cheeky Visiting a Flat on January 27th|
It is entirely conceivable that the thieves were hands-on, as opposed to absentee, caretakers and that he grew to like living with them. Quite obviously, either they or someone else had been feeding him. Regardless of what actually transpired, the thieves are every bit as guilty as everyone else who either walked in or out of his brief life for failing to protect him from the machinations of motorists.
With blood in her eye, King is determined more than ever to bring Mr. Cheeky's abductors to justice and in furtherance of that worthy objective she announced in another untitled Facebook article dated February 2nd that she had been granted an interview with the BBC for the following morning. That engagement, however, did not go well.
In a February 3rd posting on Facebook that since has been deleted she stated that the network's Neil Pringle not only gave her short shrift but even had the unmitigated gall to cast aspersions on the unassailable fact that Mr. Cheeky had been kidnapped in the first place. It will no doubt come as cold comfort to her, but one-sided, scurrilous journalism is a staple at the propaganda arm of the old British Empire.
For example, last September James Menendez of the News Hour not only granted Peter P. Marra of the disgraced Smithsonian Institution a platform in which to agitate for his cat-killing agenda but in doing so he even chuckled at the very idea of so many innocent felines being slaughtered. Like just about all of the network's hatchet jobs, this outrageous piece of unabashed anti-cat propaganda never was posted on its web site.
Moreover, both Menendez and the BBC were fully aware that Marra served as Nico Dauphiné's supervisor. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")
It therefore would not appear that King can expect much assistance from the BBC. She likewise apparently has not received any anything other than lip service from the Sussex Police.
Her best bet therefore would be to canvass the area around Cromwell Road in search of a young couple in their twenties and this would need to be done primarily through contacting the owners and superintendents of apartment blocks. Even if a pair of suspects should be ultimately identified, the surveillance video may be insufficient in itself to support the bringing charges against them owing to its poor quality.
There additionally has been some speculation that the thieves dumped Mr. Cheeky because he had become too hot to hold on to before fleeing the area themselves. In that case, any young couple known to recently have moved out of the neighborhood immediately would fall under a cloud of suspicion. Tracking them down and holding them accountable under the law would, however, require either the cooperation of the authorities or the hiring of a peeper.
Oddly enough, King as of yet has not publicly expressed so much as a jot of interest in bringing Mr. Cheeky's killer to justice. That is a real shame given that with so many surveillance cameras in the area, the dastardly dead very well could have been captured on tape.
Her total unwillingness to face up to her own culpability in his death is a likely factor in her reluctance to pursue that angle. "I take the point about indoor cats but Mr. Cheeky was having no truck with that," she wrote January 31st in the comments' section of her January 28th article on Facebook. "...Mr. Cheeky would bash his face against the cat flap until his nose bled during the daytime if he was not let out."
Based upon that, it would appear that he craved something that he was not getting at home. "He also had a huge need for the company of other humans and cats, which we didn't realize when we first got him," she continued. "He was massively sociable and had 'a paw in every door'."
Whereas it is readily granted that the difficulties associated with putting the brakes on a cat that has grown accustomed to enjoying unfettered freedom cannot in any way be underestimated, King committed the fatal error of drawing all the wrong conclusions from Mr. Cheeky's personality and behavior. "I guess this made him a high risk cat in some ways, but it was not one of our neighbors who stole him, but two random strangers. Our neighbors are all devastated and he was perfectly safe with them," she concluded.
|How Long Had He Been Coming to This Flat?|
First of all, it is difficult to see how that she could have arrived at such deductions considering that neither the thieves nor the motorist have been identified. Consequently, both of them very well could be neighbors of hers.
Secondly, the existence of the Bottom's Rest Pub is a rather strong indication that the neighborhood contains retail as well as residential properties and the latter most assuredly attract all sorts of outsiders. Thirdly, Hove has more than ninety-thousand residents and nearby Brighton is home to more than two-hundred-eighty-one-thousand additional denizens. Most of them undoubtedly also own and operate motor vehicles and that in turn makes the area far too dangerous for cats to be allowed to roam the streets without chaperones.
Although kidnappings are relatively rare, the evidence is overwhelming that motorists are lethal to cats. (See Cat Defender posts of November 21, 2012, January 30, 2010, and August 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT," "Casper Is Run down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver While Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop, and "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")
Even those cats that are able to somehow weather these totally uncalled for assaults often wind up maimed for life. (See Cat Defender posts of October 13, 2016, May 2, 2012, November 13, 2010, April 29, 2010, September 12, 2009, and March 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bart Has Courageously Overcome Being Run Down by a Hit-and-Run Motorist and Subsequently Buried Alive by His Owner but Another Dark Cloud Is Looming over His Future," "Pregnant, Abandoned, and Then Deliberately Almost Killed by a Hit-and-Run Driver, Sugar Crawls Back to Her Subterranean Abode in Order to Feed Her Kittens," "Christopher, Who Has Persevered Through Tragedy and Given Back so Much, Is Now Being Held Captive for His Valuable Blood," "Long Suffering River Finally Finds a Home after Having Been Run Over by a Motorist and Nearly Drowned," "Luzie Sustains a Broken Hip and a Bloody Mouth Before She Is Successfully Rescued from the Busy Elbtunnel," and "Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman.")
The case against motorists is so damning that even police officers, who are supposed to act responsibly and to enforce the laws of the road, not only callously allow their cats to be run down and killed but actually do likewise themselves to those that are owned by civilians. (See Cat Defender posts of March 18, 2009 and June 18, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Eco, Who for Years Was a Mainstay at a Small Massachusetts Police Department, Is Run Down and Killed by a Motorist" and "Harry Is Run Down and Killed by a Pair of Derbyshire Police Officers Who Then Steal and Dispose of His Body in an Amateurish Attempt to Cover Up Their Heinous Crime.")
Politicians likewise not only use them as valuable political props with little or no regard for their personal safety but often are downright antagonistic to roadside memorials erected in the memory of those that have been killed by motorists. (See Cat Defender posts of November 10, 2014, November 13, 2014, and October 9, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer," "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her," and "Feline Traffic Fatalities Are Unworthy of Commemoration According to a Möhnesee Bureaucrat Who Orders the Destruction to a Roadside Memorial to Jule.")
Moreover, there cannot be so much as a scintilla of doubt that all such attacks on cats by motorist are, not accidental, but rather intentional. (See Cat Defender post of June 25, 2015 entitled "Kayden Is Run Down Three Times in Succession by a Van Driver in Yet Still Another Graphic Example of How So Many Motorists Intentionally Kill Cats.")
Even more galling, these individuals not only glory in mowing down cats but also at the tremendous amount of pain and suffering that they are inflicting upon their heartbroken owners. "The world is a bad dog," Joe Conrad opined in his novel, Victory. "It will bite you if you give it a chance."
It accordingly is the solemn duty of all individuals who care about cats to do everything in their power not to allow these rotten, scum-of-the-earth bastards to win! For homeowners, such as Wilson and King, that entails nothing less than keeping their cats out of the street.
For the managers of TNR colonies, the homeless, and those who reside in buildings that do not allow cats, a solution to this pressing and disturbing dilemma is largely out of their control but even they must do whatever they can in order to protect those that are under their care. (See Cat Defender posts of January 5, 2011, March 2, 2012, and August 2, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Gunned Down by an Assassin and Then Mowed Down by a Hit-and-Run Driver, Big Bob Loses a Leg but Survives and Now Is Looking for a Home," "Homeless Man in Washington State Pauses in Order to Take a Snooze and It Ends Up Costing Him His Beloved Cat, Herman," and "Old, Poor, and Sickly, Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats.")
There is not any point in arguing that the task is too difficult because if Michael King was able to rough it all the way from Portland to Ventura and then back to Helena with Tabor safe and sound in his backpack surely homeowners are capable of figuring out a way of keeping their cats from winding up underneath the wheels of motorists. (See Cat Defender post of July 5, 2013 entitled "Tabor's Long and Winding Road Leads Her Back Home but Leaves Her with a Broken Heart.")
In Milford, Connecticut, and on the remote Japanese island of Iriomote, Cat Crossing signs have been erected and speed limit restrictions have been instituted in select cities throughout both Deutschland and Angleterre but those efforts have been sabotaged by politicians and the police who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in protecting the lives of cats. Consequently, the onus of doing so falls by default squarely upon the shoulders of their owners and caretakers. (See Cat Defender posts of January 26, 2007 and November 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Cat Activists Succeed in Getting Connecticut Town to Erect a Cat Crossing Sign" and "After Surviving on Its Own for at Least Two Million Years, Rare Japanese Wildcat Faces Its Toughest Battle Yet.")
|Sadly, Mr. Cheeky Has Climbed His Last Tree|
The best solution is to provide them with large, fenced-in yards that have nets strung across the top. Unfortunately, such arrangements normally are either impracticable or too expensive as far as most cat owners are concerned.
One possible compromise would be to equip cats with escape-proof harnesses and then to tether them to long leashes in the garden. If that is not feasible, their guardians need to accompany them on all of their outdoor rambles because, with the notable exceptions of rural areas and quiet, exclusively residential, neighborhoods, it is far too dangerous in most instances to allow them to roam on their own.
Measures of this sort are needed because it is cruel and unfair to keep them locked up indoors all the time. They are not, as birders and wildlife biologists ludicrously contend, second-class citizens of this planet. Furthermore, they never have committed any offenses that would justify such mistreatment.
Secondly, exclusively indoor environments can be harmful to their physical health. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")
Thirdly, such environments deny them not only access to fresh air but to the extensive exercise that they need. Fourthly, keeping cats locked away deprives them of the society of their fellow felines and as such has a tendency to engender behavioral problems.
Regardless of whatever approach is adopted, the time when cats were capable of holding their own against the machinations of the monster known as man are long past and those individuals, institutions, and groups that contend likewise are liars. (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 in Order to Safeguard Their Fragile Lives.")
Another myth currently en vogue is that they are low maintenance animals. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
In addition to their myriad of mortal enemies, they require almost constant attention in order to ward off the onset of both boredom and loneliness and that usually means that they fare best with owners who stay home the vast majority of the time. Under such circumstances, they not only tend to do considerably less roaming but mischief as well to their owners' houses.
As Mr. Cheeky has demonstrated, sterilizing a cat does not always reduce its tendency to roam and that is especially the case if its owners are either away for most of the time or ignore it whenever they actually are at home. As a consequence, busy and selfish individuals who are unwilling to devote considerable time to ensuring that their cats are happy and contented ought to reconsider adopting one and instead get something that they are better suited to handle, such as a pet rock.
In spite of how truly tragic events have turned out for Mr. Cheeky, King is still in denial and that does not bode well for the prospects of either Django or any other cats that she and Wilson plan on adopting in the future. "You've paid a high price for being so independent, friendly and fearless, or perhaps because of your resemblance to A Street Cat Named Bob, but you could never have been an indoor cat," is how that she chose to eulogize him in the January 28th Facebook article cited supra. "It just wasn't in your nature. I'm so glad you got a last taste of freedom, albeit tragically brief."
There is no one so obstinate as those individuals who pigheadedly refuse to learn from their past mistakes but King's turning to religion for solace really takes the cake. "So farewell my brave soldier, the most fearless cat I ever knew," she wrote on January 28th. "God bless you my fur babe, until we meet again."
That is doubly ironic in that the Sunday Assembly which she attends is comprised of nonbelievers. "We want people to come and feel part of a community and have fun -- but we can't promise eternal life," the church's leader, Simon Clare, declared to The Argus of Brighton on August 1, 2013. (See "Atheists Set Up Brighton and Hove's First Godless Church in Waterloo Street.")
Bull sessions devoted to science, philosophy, and psychology have replaced Bible thumping as the brain fodder du jour at the Sunday Assembly but absolutely nothing contained in either of those two extremes ever has produced anything even remotely beneficial for cats like Mr. Cheeky. He is simply stone-cold dead and he is not coming back either tomorrow or in ten-thousand years.
Photos: Facebook (Mr. Cheeky), The Sun (surveillance tape), and the Brighton Journal (Mr. Cheeky up a tree).