Archie Is Knowingly Allowed to Sleep Smack-Dab in the Middle of a Busy Thoroughfare by His Derelict Owners Who Are Contented with Merely Tracking His Movements by Satellite
"I've become fascinated with tracking Archie, but it is so worrying."
-- Iain Simpson
Many notable individuals and organizations long have touted the benefits of modern technology but when it comes to improving the lives of cats their proclamations ring especially hollow. That is so much the case in fact that an even stronger argument could be made that irresponsibility to cats and technology go hand in glove.
A good case in point is how that Iain Simpson and Clare Smith from the village of Quarrington in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, so outrageously neglect the personal safety of their four-year-old, brown and white resident feline, Archie. Not only do they permit him to stay out all night unchaperoned but they additionally allow him to go AWOL for weeks at a time without, apparently, even so much as bothering to search for him.
Instead of availing themselves of the only morally acceptable option open to them, which would be to lock him up indoors overnight, they instead have elected to invest £49.95 in a G-Paws satellite tracking collar. Lightweight, waterproof, and with a battery life of up to eight hours, these devices are capable of recording the minute details of cats that like to roam and their findings later can be downloaded onto maps.
They additionally are equipped with motion detectors which automatically shut them off once a cat comes to a complete rest for longer than five minutes and that in turn also helps to extend the lives of their batteries. So far, more than five-hundred of them have been sold in the United Kingdom.
|Archie and Iain Simpson|
As the result of surveillance data gleaned from one of these devices, Simpson and Smith soon learned that after Archie leaves their house at night he walks six kilometers to the busy, two-lane A15 motorway, which stretches one-hundred-fifty-three kilometers from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in the north to Scawby, Lincolnshire, where he apparently lies down in traffic and sleeps for two hours. Leaving aside for the moment that it is a miracle that he already has not been run down and killed, such a revelation would be more than sufficient not only to scare the bejesus out of any genuine cat-lover but, more importantly, it would prompt drastic remedial action.
As difficult as it may be to believe, that has not occurred; on the contrary, Simpson's reaction to that shocking revelation has been pretty much confined to mild bemusement. "I've become fascinated with tracking Archie, but it is so worrying," he conceded to the Sleaford Target on March 20, 2014. (See "Britain's Bravest Pet: Missing Cat Sleeps in the Middle of A15, According to Archie's GPS Collar.") "It's like worrying about a teenager on a night out. I know he's gone but he'll never tell me where."
It is because of G-Paws' motion detector that Simpson learned that Archie spends hours on end on the A15. "He's a fearless tyke really. The data from his tracker shows him being stationary in the middle of the road for hours at a time," he added to the Sleaford Target. "I can only assume he's gone to sleep. Maybe the sound of traffic relaxes him. I don't know."
Since he quite obviously knows where Archie is hanging out, the responsible thing for him to do would be to go and collect him. Sadly to say but Simpson has proven himself to be totally unwilling of doing even that much for his cat.
|Archie and Clare Smith|
"I do know that he always comes back in the morning for his breakfast, none the wiser that I had been absolutely terrified for him," is how that he casually sloughed off his reprehensible lack of action to the Sleaford Target. "He's probably Britain's bravest pet. He's certainly braver than me."
That is because Archie is totally unaware of just how lethal motorists are to cats. It accordingly is Simpson's and Smith's job to protect him from their machinations as opposed to reveling in his deering-do.
G-Paws' creator, Dave Evans, is equally callous. "This just goes to prove the secret lives of our pets is (sic) much more diverse than we could ever could imagine," he gleefully crowed to the Sleaford Target in between, no doubt, salivating over all the money that he is making from the sale of his tracking devices.
Whereas multitudes of owners condemn their faithful companions to early graves by either wittingly or unwittingly allowing them to venture out into traffic by their lonesomes, this is the only second known example on record whereby one of them has knowingly turned a blind eye to a cat that makes a habit of sleeping in the middle of a busy street. The first such incidence concerned a fifteen-year-old, one-eyed female named Krümel ("Crumb" in Deutsch) from the old Hanseatic city of Hattingen in Nordrhein Westfalen.
Owned by seventy-six-year-old English ex-pat Jane Herold, she regularly sleeps out front of her mistress's establishment, the Hotel Garni Herold, at the corner of Krämersdorf and Kleine Weilstraße. "Wenn sie einmal liegt, dann leigt sie und steht für nichts und niemanden mehr auf," Herold, who has operated the small lodging house for more than forty-five years, disclosed back in 2012. "Oft schläft sie mitten auf der kleinen Weilstraße und die Autofahrer müssen um sie herumkurven." (See Cat Defender post of September 17, 2012 entitled "Contrary to the Neighborhood Scuttlebutt, Krümel Is Alive and Well, at Least for the Time Being, at the Hotel Garni Herold.")
|The Busy and High-Speed A15 Near Quarrington|
Cats most assuredly are entitled to their freedom but that does not include allowing them in the street. Umpteen numbers of them, both the famous and the obscure, are intentionally mowed down and killed every day by motorists and even those that are lucky enough to survive these unproved attacks often wind up maimed for life. (See Cat Defender posts of January 30, 2010, November 21, 2012, and February 8, 2017 entitled, respectively, "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," "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," and "The Long and Hopelessly Frustrating Search for the Kidnapped Mr. Cheeky Ends Tragically Underneath the Wheels of a Hit-and-Run Motorist.")
Ladling on the Silicon Valley snake oil, whether it be implanted microchips, surveillance cameras, or satellite tracking devices, is not the answer to this age-old conundrum; au contraire, doing so serves to only exacerbate an already perilous situation. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006, February 22, 2017, and June 11, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats," "The Months of Unrelenting Abuse Meted Out to Elfie by a Roommate Graphically Demonstrate the Advantages as Well as the Limitations of Using Surveillance Cameras in Order to Protect Cats," and "Katzen-Kameras Are Not Only Cruel and Inhumane but Represent an Assault Upon Cats' Liberties and Privacy.")
That petit fait has been demonstrated most conclusively in Archie's case where his owners have failed to act in spite of having been warned of the imminent danger that he is in by a tracking device. It accordingly is safe to conclude that if cats are to be protected it is not going to come courtesy of technological advances, but rather through the gift of caring and conscientious guardians.
As far as Archie is concerned, no additional articles about him have appeared online so it is not possible to say what ultimately become of him. Nevertheless, unless Simpson and Smith had an abrupt change of heart and belatedly decided to keep him out of the dangerous A15, it is very doubtful that he is still above ground.
Photos: the Sleaford Target (Archie) and Mike Lobb of www.geograph.org.uk (the A15).