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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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

With His Previous Owner Long Dead and Nobody Seemingly Willing to Give Him a Second Chance at Life, Old and Ailing Harvey Has Been Sentenced to Rot at a Shelter in Yorkshire

Harvey Has Been Left Alone with Only His Dark Thoughts for Company

"But he really is completely lovely -- just so desperately unlucky."
-- Sam Davies of Yorkshire Cat Rescue

Languishing in one of the cages at Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley, West Yorkshire, is a disillusioned and extremely unhappy thirteen-year-old brown, gray, and white male named Harvey. His feelings are easy enough to comprehend once one realizes that his world has been turned upside down during the course of the past eight months or so.

Absolutely nothing has been disclosed about his first twelve years on this earth but given that he was able to have persevered for that length of time in this ultra-ailurophobic world is a pretty good indication that his prior life was not all that shabby. The security and sense of well-being that he previously had enjoyed ended abruptly last December however with the death of his guardian.

No specifics have been divulged so it is impossible to speculate as to the circumstances but, quite obviously, no provisions were made for Harvey's continued care in the event of such an occurrence. Even though that could have been because his owner had not expected to kick the bucket quite so soon, that still does not excuse the deceased's surviving relatives for dumping him at YCR. That is especially the case in that all the world knows only too well what happens to the overwhelming majority of cats that wind up at shelters.

By contrast, when Ellen Frey-Wouters of the Bronx departed this vale of tears in 2015 at the age of eighty-eight she was thoughtful enough to have left behind US$300,000 for the continued care of her beloved resident felines, Troy and Tiger. Whereas not everyone can hope to be a millionaire, that does not excuse even those owners of limited means from the solemn responsibility of making some provision so that their faithful and loving companions can go on living. (See the New York Post, August 21, 2017, "Bronx Widow Leaves $300,000 Fortune to Her Cats" and the Daily Mail, August 24, 2017, "Here, Kitty, Kitty! New York Woman Leaves $300,000 to Her Cats in Her Will with the Request They 'Never Be Caged'.")

In Harvey's case, he initially lucked out in that his first stay at YCR was a short one in that the charity soon was able to place him in another home. Unfortunately, the cats already residing there apparently resented his intrusion and he according was sent packing.

As far as that debacle is concerned, there was more than enough blame to go all around. First of all, YCR erred egregiously in placing him in such an environment. Secondly, it certainly did not take his new guardians long in order to demonstrate both their unfitness and unworthiness to care for a such a cat as Harvey and they did so by jerking the welcome mat out from under him almost as soon as he had arrived.

It is by no means unusual for cats to sometimes not get along initially but difficulties of that sort almost always can be worked out over time. Patience and a certain modicum of savior-faire are required but any individual unwilling to invest at least that much in a cat does not have any business adopting one in the first place.

Besides, individuals of good will but lacking in expertise can always seek out the advice of cat behaviorists and others who are knowledgeable about the species. A wealth of information regarding such issues also is available online. Anything is far preferable to giving up on a cat and thus returning it to death row at some hellhole shelter.

At some undisclosed time earlier this year, another attempt was made at finding Harvey a permanent home when YCR let him go to an unidentified woman living in Leeds, thirty-three kilometers southeast of Keighley, but she likewise returned him when she became ill. As was the case before, YCR clearly dropped the ball once again by failing to verify the woman's ability to care for a cat.

In adopting out a cat, it is not sufficient for shelters to merely establish that would-be adopters are willing and financially able to care for one, but rather they also need to inquire about their health as well. In particular, they need to know who is going to be responsible for the cat's continued care in the event that the adopter either becomes ill or dies unexpectedly.

Quite often these situations are unavoidable and it is axiomatic that all rescue groups have more cats on their hands than they can properly care for and shelter. Many of them no doubt therefore conclude that any home, even one for a brief period of time, is preferable to having a cat languish in a shelter.

No one therefore can really blame shelters for exploring all available options when it comes to rehoming cats. Such an approach fails, however, to adequately take into consideration just how traumatic it is for a cat to be bandied about from one stranger's home to another.

So, to sum up, over the course of the past eight months Harvey has been forced to suffer through no fewer than three guardians as well an identical number of stays at YCR. It accordingly is not at all surprising that recent events have left him withdrawn and feeling down in the dumps.

"Older cats who lose their owners sometimes find it harder than youngsters to come out of their shells at the center," YCR's Sara Atkinson said in an August 14th press release. (See "Twice Returned Cat Seeks Loving Home.") "They just don't feel at home in a pen, and really should be making themselves comfortable on a sofa, with someone who appreciates the benefits of adopting an older cat."

That is stating the case rather mildly in that for a cat to wind up at a shelter is a far more harrowing experience than for a previously domiciled individual to be dispossessed and subsequently relegated to living in a homeless shelter. At least the evil individuals and organizations who run the latter institutions are not permitted by law to either cage or kill their inmates and they therefore are free to walk out the door at anytime.

It is an entirely different ballgame as far as cats are concerned in that the familiar faces and personalities of their previous guardians are replaced by those that belong to total strangers and the unbridled freedom and respect that they formerly enjoyed are forced to give way to incarceration in a cage without so much as an iota of dignity. Most devastating of all, the sense of security that they once had relied upon is rudely supplanted by fear, stress, and an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness. The smell of death that pervades these wretched gulags for cats is palpable.

As if all of that were not sufficient in order to sicken a healthy cat, the obnoxious smells, the strong disinfectants that are used, the unfamiliar, and often subpar, food and water, and the presence of all sorts of communicable diseases are almost certain to do the trick. Such horrendous living conditions are even more intolerable for elderly cats who have grown accustomed to far better treatment. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

For all those reasons and more, YCR is pulling out all the stops in a last-ditch effort to place Harvey in a permanent home. "This poor lad has spent the summer with us, and still no luck in finding him a home," Atkinson lamented. "So we're trying our very best to help him tell the world what a lovely lad he is."

The number one obstacle standing in Harvey's way of securing a new home is the harsh reality that few individuals either want or appreciate the value of an older cat. Two notable exceptions to that rule were Andrea and Dave Huntley-Crow of Seaton in County Durham who compassionately took in Nelson after he had been forced to spend fifteen hellish years on the docks of nearby Seaham Harbor. (See Cat Defender post of April 16, 2015 entitled "Nelson's Odyssey from Being the Long Abused Cat That Nobody Wanted to One of England's Most Beloved Comes to Sad End at Age Twenty.")

Generally speaking, however, most individuals only look at the matter through the prism of what a cat can do for them, as opposed to what they can do for a deserving feline in desperate straits, and that in turn leaves precious few opportunities for the Harveys of this world. Not a great deal has been written on this subject but judging by what little that has come to light it does not appear that there are too many happy endings for old cats that have been abandoned by their owners.

In fact, the successful rehoming of cats that have outlived their owners is such a rare occurrence that only a couple of recent cases come readily to mind. One concerned a male named Tizer who was taken in by the British Transportation Police in order to work as a mouser at King's Cross Rail Station in London. (See Cat Defender post of November 23, 2007 entitled "Tizer Lands a Job Working for the Police After Ending Up at a Shelter Following the Death of His Previous Owner.")

The other one concerned a female cruelly misnomered as Pops who eventually was taken in by an unidentified family in Bath, Somerset. (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.")

Many elderly cats, including some that even have gone blind, are routinely abandoned to fend for themselves as best they can in the street. While that is a decidedly far preferable fate than a one-way trip to the death house, it is hardly ideal. (See Cat Defender posts of March 23, 2015 and May 4, 2017 entitled, respectively, "Old, Sickly, and on the Street, George Accidentally Wanders into a Pet Store and That, in All Likelihood, Saved His Life" and "Seventeen-Year-Old, Sickly, and Blind Orakel Is Abandoned to Fend for Herself in the Unforgiving Streets of Breitenfurt bei Wien.")

Even worst still, some senior citizens of the feline world end up as murder victims. (See Cat Defender posts of January 17, 2006 and November 30, 2006 entitled, respectively, "A Loony Virginia Judge Lets a Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death Fourteen-Year-Old and Arthritic Luke" and "Yobs Celebrating Guy Fawkes Day Kill a Twelve-Year-old Cat Named Tigger with Fireworks; a Cat Named Sid Is Severely Burned.")

About half of the remaining number of elderly cats are whacked by unscrupulous veterinarians at the urging of their morally bankrupt owners. (See Cat Defender posts of October 18, 2014, July 17, 2013, March 12, 2009, October 27, 2008, December 7, 2006, and February 9, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Hamish McHamish's Derelict Owner Reenters His Life after Fourteen Years of Abject Neglect Only to Have Him Killed Off after He Contracts a Preeminently Treatable Common Cold," "Not Satisfied with Merely Whacking Meiko, Garrison Keillor Struts on Stage in Order to Shed a Bucketful of Crocodile Tears and to Denigrate the Entire Species," "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned," "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill," "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, the Ingrates at an Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books," and "A Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by the Journalists That He Befriended in Vermont.")

The other half of them are killed off by shelters and rescue groups. Most reprehensible of all, the criminal conduct of PETA, the RSPCA, and others have made it dangerous for old cats to even so much as to walk the streets by themselves.(See Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007, October 23, 2010, September 28, 2011, and January 11, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated," "The RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband," "Marvin Is Betrayed, Abducted, and Murdered by a Journalist and a Shelter Who Preposterously Maintain That They Were Doing Him a Favor" and "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Cost Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")

Even phony-baloney no-kill operations whack their share of old cats. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2012 entitled "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care.")

In Harvey's case, the daunting task of finding him a new home has become considerably more difficult than it was before in that YCR now believes that he is suffering from a small, but benign, brain tumor. That diagnoses was made earlier this summer after he was returned to the shelter for the second time and began to exhibit symptoms of a noticeable decline in his mental faculties.

He therefore could be suffering from a growth within either the brain itself or the membrane that surrounds it called a meningioma. Although MRIs, radiographs, and ultrasound imaging can be helpful in detecting abnormal growths, the only sure way of diagnosing cancer is through a biopsy.

Since YCR is unsure exactly what is ailing Harvey, that test apparently was not conducted. It accordingly is possible that he could have sustained some type of injury that has produced a buildup of fluid in his head that is mimicking a tumor.

Apparently YCR is not planning on treating him. "Harvey's brain tumor shouldn't affect how long he has left to live," the organization's Sam Davies speculated in the press release. "It just means he can get a little confused at times. It looks like he is wondering why he is finding it so much harder to live at the shelter than all the young cats around him."

If he does have a tumor but it does not grow, Harvey may be able to live with it. If it should become malignant, however, it will need to be immediately removed if that can be done without endangering his life.

In either case, the growth needs to be constantly monitored by way of computed tomography, computerized axial tomography, and MRIs. (See Pet MD, undated article entitled "Brain Tumors in Cats" and Vet Info, undated article entitled "Meningioma in Cats.")

Although he may be sickly as well as getting on, Harvey still loves his freedom and the great outdoors and YCR, to its credit, does not wish to deprive him of either of them provided that certain precautions are undertaken. "We feel he might be a little too vulnerable to be roaming the streets or fields on his own," Davies said in YCR's August 14th press release. "So we'd love to find him a home with a safe, and enclosed garden, because he does love the outdoors, and a cat his age should be able to enjoy life -- even if he sometimes forgets where he is."

It also is entirely conceivable that the mental fog in which he allegedly is laboring could clear up somewhat if a good and loving home could be secured for him. Since the response from the public has been so appallingly callous, perhaps it is time that either a staffer at YCR adopted him or the charity considered placing him in a sanctuary.

For example, a cat named Tilly has spent just about all of her long life at such a facility in the West Midlands. (See Cat Defender post of May 27, 2016 entitled "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.")

Above all, it is imperative that YCR does not give up on Harvey and take the easy way out. As it is, cats live such terribly short lives that to abbreviate any of them by so much as one second is a monumental crime of the first order.

As an elderly cat, he additionally is richly entitled to a warm and secure home, good quality food, and topnotch veterinary care. For all that he has given to this world, he deserves at least that much in return.

"But he really is completely lovely -- just so desperately unlucky," is how that Davies summed up his tragic plight. It does not have to end for him in a shelter, however, in that all he needs is for one kindhearted soul to ride to his rescue on a white stallion and that would magically transform all of his recent Unglück into, hopefully, everlasting Glück.

Anyone who therefore would be willing to either provide him with a permanent home or to make a contribution toward his medical expenses is urged to immediately contact YCR at 44-01535-647184. The charity also can be reached at mail@yorkshirecatrescue.org.

Photo: Yorkshire Cat Rescue.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Brutal Murders of a Trio of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Provide an Occasion for the Local Rag and PETA to Whoop It Up and to Break Open the Champagne

Suspect Number One

"We are devastated about the loss of these cats, and we're doing everything we can to find out who is behind this cruelty."
-- Alley Cat Allies

Three of the world famous Boardwalk cats of Atlantic City have been killed. Press reports differ as to exactly when these atrocities were carried out, but as best it could be determined they occurred during the nighttime hours of either March 22nd or March 27th.

Absolutely nothing has been publicly revealed as to the methodology employed but since the media claim that the victims were "slain," that would tend to preclude poisoning as the cause of death. That in turn lends itself to speculation that they were killed by either multiple steel pellets fired from an air gun or a barrage of bullets unleashed from a more conventional firearm.

Given the cats' friendly disposition toward humans, it additionally is conceivable that their assailants could have gotten close enough to them in order to have bludgeoned them to death. Such an undertaking would have been greatly facilitated if the cats had been blindsided while reposing in their winterized shelters.

Those modi operandi are by no means exhaustive and cat killers, both individuals as well as organizations, have been known to go to extraordinary lengths in order to realize their fiendish designs. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011 and November 18, 2016 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period" and "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That He has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages.")

In Atlantic City, there are fifteen managed colonies that altogether contain somewhere between ninety and one-hundred cats. They are located underneath the planking at the infamous Underwood Hotel and are spread out over a distance of more than three kilometers beginning at Absecon Inlet in the north end of town and extending as far south as, it is believed, Providence Avenue.

The victims reportedly belonged to the Vermont Avenue colony which is situated two blocks removed from the Inlet. Although that particular section of the Boardwalk teems with fishermen during the daylight hours it is almost completely deserted after dark.

There are not any commercial enterprises in the area and the nearest gambling den that is still open for business, Resorts, is .48 kilometers south along the wooden way. Although its isolated location provides the cats with some much needed peace and quiet, it also leaves them at the mercy of those individuals intent upon doing them harm.

As a consequence, that forlorn section of the Boardwalk was all but deserted on that cold March night and, as far as it is known, there were not any eyewitnesses to what transpired. The cats' killers accordingly believed that they had perpetrated a series of perfect crimes but they failed to realize that their images were being captured by a surveillance camera that was mounted on either the Boardwalk or at a nearby residential structure.

The footage later revealed that three, fairly young males, two whites and one black, had been in the area during the overnight period in question. Although it has not been disclosed if the camera recorded the presence of any other individuals in the vicinity, it is conceivable that it did but that the authorities do not consider them to be suspects.

It likewise has not been disclosed if the camera recorded the cats being killed but the assumption, rightly or wrongly, is that the atrocities were carried out underneath the pines and well out of range of the camera. That also leaves open the remote possibility that the killers could have entered and exited the colony from the beach and therefore possibly could be individuals other than the trio captured on film.

Normally, surveillance photography is of such poor quality as to be almost worthless but in this instance the faces of the suspects are clearly recognizable and that alone should have made their apprehension a cinch. Regrettably, the stellar work done by the camera was almost immediately negated by the still unexplained fact that neither the images that it captured nor even the news of the cats' killing was brought to the attention of the public until almost four months after the fact. "We are devastated about the loss of these cats, and we're doing everything we can to find out who is behind this cruelty," Alley Cat Allies (ACA) of Bethesda, Maryland, who since 2000 has overseen the Boardwalk Cats Project, belatedly informed the Philadelphia Daily News on July 19th. (See "Reward Offered in Killing of Three Boardwalk Cats.") "Animal cruelty must be taken seriously, and the guilty parties should be punished to the full extent of the law."

Other than offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the killers, it is not known what, if any, action ACA has undertaken. As far as the Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD) is concerned, it is not known to have done anything other than to post photographs of the suspects on its web site.

At the very least, necropsies should have been performed on the victims. Secondly, the entire area where the cats were found should have been cordoned off and treated as a crime scene.

In particular, the railing along the Boardwalk as well as the handrails of the steps that lead down to the beach should have been dusted for fingerprints. The same should have been done with any weapons, such as sticks, bats, and stones, found nearby as well as the cats' food dishes and winterized shelters. In short, any surfaces that the killers possibly could have come in contact with should have been gone over with a fine-tooth comb for fingerprints and other forensic evidence.

Most importantly of all, photographs should have been made form the surveillance footage and immediately circulated to all members of the ACPD, security guards and other personnel at the gambling dens, Boardwalk merchants, the coolies who push rolling chairs, and jitney drivers. Since the Underwood Hotel is such a popular rendezvous for drunkards, dope addicts, transients, and the homeless, the stills should have been circulated around the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army's soup kitchen, and other establishments that cater to that clientele.

The photographs likewise should have been shown to the drivers of New Jersey Transit and Greyhound buses as well as to conductors on the Atlantic City Rail Line. If all of those efforts had failed to bear fruit, the search should have been extended to Philadelphia and New York City just in case the suspects were day-trippers who had come to town on a casino junket.

Whereas it is not known if either the ACPD or ACA have actively pursued that line of inquiry, it is strongly suspected that has not been the case. That assumption is based solely upon the reasoning that it seems more than likely that if they had actively done so that someone would have recognized at least one of the suspects.

Suspect Number Two

Furthermore, given that their images are still plastered all over the web, it seems unlikely that they have been identified, interviewed, and cleared of wrongdoing. Even though most of the sand has long since drained out of the hourglass, there is still a remote possibility that this case could be cracked.

If the ACPD cannot be prevailed upon to take these killings seriously, ACA has at least twenty-nine volunteers who care for the cats and they could be pressed into service as investigators. If ACA is unwilling for whatever reason to do even that, it sole remaining recourse would be to retain the services of a private dick.

That is precisely what Neil Tregarthen of Truro in Cornwall was forced into doing after both the Devon and Cornwall Police as well as the RSPCA categorically refused to investigate the murder of his daughter's beloved fourteen-month-old black cat, Farah, by an assailant wielding an air gun. The peepers did their job in that they were able to locate and identify a suspect but even that proved to be insufficient in order to get any movement out of the authorities. (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.")

There accordingly are not any foolproof solutions available to ACA. Nevertheless, justice demands that the culprits be apprehended and made to stand trial for what they have done. Besides, if that should prove not to be the case it is highly probable that they are going to target other cats in the future whether they are living at the Boardwalk or elsewhere.

On June 15th, ACA held a Cat Hero Celebration on the Boardwalk at which time it singled out Steven Dash of the Humane Society of Atlantic County, Paul Jerkins, directors of public works for the city, Police Chief Henry White, and Mayor Don Guardian for their support and cooperation with the cats. The volunteers who attend to their daily needs were feted, but not named, at an indoor event held afterwards.

"(I am) very humbled to receive this award from such an outstanding organization," White said while pledging his continued support according to ACA's press release of June 21st. (See "Celebrating the Cat Heroes of Atlantic City, New Jersey!")

Guardian was equally effusive. "I want to thank you very much for taking (an) interest in Atlantic City and showing how we can all live together on this earth and on this beach," he told those assembled. "We're proud of our cats."

He certainly has more than enough reason for being so in that they are one of the few success stories to be found in a bankrupt city that has seen no fewer that eight of its once prosperous gambling dens bite the dust over the course of the past twenty years. Plus, beyond the glow of the casinos' flickering neons there exists an altogether different Atlantic City where corruption, poverty, crime, and despair are the norms with the only known palliatives being the equally destructive alcohol, drugs, whores, and violence.

Conspicuously omitted from the festivities was any mention whatsoever that something had gone terribly awry with the cats. Once the news of the horrible deaths of three of them had become public fodder a little over a month later it became clear as to why ACA had labored so hard in order to keep that under wraps.

Every bit as predictable as clockwork, all the old familiar cat-haters immediately spilled onto the scene much like cockroaches out of an old mattress in order to seize upon that revelation as an affirmation of all that they hold holy and dear. Given that absolutely nothing in this big, wide world thrills this crowd quite so much as a report of dead cats, there was much glee, gloating, preening, strutting, and the popping of champagne corks.

Once their whooping it up and high-fiving of each other had subsided to a point so as to once again allow them to remaster the faculty of language, they proceeded to launch into a seemingly never-ending recitation of their myriad of outrageous lies. As per usual, their goal was to bludgeon the public long and hard over the head with their fabrications until it eventually would be forced into either conceding the veracity of them or succumbed to fatigue.

In pursuit of that stratagem, the first batter to step up to the plate was none other than the cats' longtime nemesis, The Press of Atlantic City. Owned by the buffet man, Warren Buffet of Omaha, Nebraska, and located, not at the shore, but rather in neighboring Pleasantville, it goes almost without saying that what goes on at the Underwood Hotel is really not any of its business.

Undeterred by such considerations, The Press went right ahead with its vituperation and in doing so it did not take long for it to demonstrate that its views regarding the Boardwalk cats have not ameliorated one iota over the years. (See Cat Defender post of July 5, 2007 entitled "Bird and Wildlife Proponents, Ably Assisted by The Press of Atlantic City, Launch a Malicious Libel Campaign Against Feral Cats.")

Totally in keeping with the standard modus operandi of just about all professional cat-haters, The Press began its onslaught by expressing its condolences to the deceased. "Beyond the illegality, it's very sad to see this happen to cats or any other animals," the editors stated in an August 7th editorial. (See "Atlantic City Cat Killings Another Reason to Ban Managed Feral Colonies.")

As it soon became perfectly clear, what the editors meant by that was that it broke their hearts to see anyone other than themselves and their comrades-in-arms within the political establishment abusing and killing cats. "Pets are great and there are many mutual benefits for cats, dogs and people -- but only if people take full responsibility for the care, protection and health of their pets. And that includes ensuring pets don't become an affliction on other people, their property or the natural world," the editors pontificated. "It's simple. Pets should stay in their caregivers' homes and on their properties...Anything less is just another form of abandonment."

Translated into shirtsleeve English, what the editors are really saying is that homeless cats do not have any right to so much as draw another breath. They are simply too dishonest and concerned about subscribers cancelling their subscriptions to come right out and say it; instead, they have chosen to dance pirouettes around the truth.

Following that inauspicious beginning, the writers next threw their wholehearted support behind a 2013 study conducted by the convicted cat abusers at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington that made outlandish claims about feline predation of birds and small mammals. Even though that study has been dismissed as junk and utter nonsense by just about all impartial individuals who have examined it, the continued dissemination of it as the gospel truth by The Press and other media outlets serves only to call attention once again to their ingrained dishonesty and prejudices.

Suspect Number Three

While they were at it the editors likewise claimed that cats do not belong on barrier islands because they pose a threat to migrating and nesting shorebirds but those considerations are hardly applicable as far as Atlantic City is concerned. First of all, it is virtually impossible for a cat to get close enough to a shorebird on a beach in order to take it down even if it were so inclined.

Secondly, any nests constructed on the beach in Atlantic City would not last for very long and that would not be due to any inference on the part of the cats. Rather, it is precisely vehicular traffic, the presence of restaurants and bars, and thousands of daily sunbathers and joggers that make the area totally inhospitable to nesting and migrating birds.

Even Pete Bacinski and Scott Barnes of the New Jersey chapter of the National Audubon Society are willing to acknowledge that foxes, raccoons, and gulls kills far more shorebirds than cats. They additionally are on record as stating that adverse weather, such as n'oreasters and hurricanes, take the heaviest toll of all on birds. (See The Star Ledger of Newark, July 1, 2007, "Respect Beach Rules to Protect Nesting Birds.")

Next up the editors alleged that cats are such filthy creatures that they spread ringworm, cat scratch fever, and toxoplasmosis to people. Quite obviously, that is simply another example of them making up lies because, given the number of cats, there surely would be epidemics of those diseases if there were so much as a scintilla of truth to their assertions.

Often overlooked in this contentious debate is the petit fait that it is precisely birds that spread epidemics of influenza, destroy crops, and foul city streets, land, and streams with their excrement. It likewise is bats, raccoons, and skunks that spread rabies, not cats.

Nevertheless, it simply is accepted without question that birds and other wildlife have an unqualified right to live, eat, reproduce, defecate, prey upon other animals including cats, and even to spread deadly diseases. By contrast, it is only cats that The Press and its supporters want to deprive of all of those rights.

If The Press's nonsensical and utterly absurd anti-cat rant sounds familiar, that is because it is taken chapter and verse from the self-serving propaganda so profusely disseminated by the biggest liars, criminals, and phonies on the planet. "I am from New Jersey and I have seen these cats on the Boardwalk and the beach. It breaks my heart to know that they are trying to fend for themselves in a world they are not adapted to, but with a background in ecology and conservation I feel that wildlife must come first," Kimberly Spiegel of PETA appendaged those comments to the bottom of The Press's editorial. "Euthanasia is the best option when these cats can't be rehomed, (and) it is certainly better than dying a violent death at the hands of cruel people."

Declarations such at that leave little room for doubt that if PETA, the editors of The Press, and all others who think like them were on hand at concentration camps they would be imploring the condemned that they were destined for a far better place as they shoved them headfirst into the furnaces in order to be burned to a crisp. Moreover, the petit fait that they could talk that way about animals who are unable to defend themselves exposes them to be the lowest, vilest, most unprincipled and utterly ruthless monsters to ever have trodden upon the face of the earth.

They also would have to be considered to be the world's biggest liars. "No organization is more completely dedicated to the interests, welfare and rights of animals than People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals," the editors of The Press concluded, presumably, with a straight face.

If they were simply trying out their shtick on an audience at the Comedy Stop everyone would be entitled to laugh along with them but that is far from being the case in that what they are doing is preying upon the ignorance of the uninformed. It is an old story to be sure but it nonetheless bears repeating, especially if PETA and its minions at The Press and elsewhere so stubbornly insist upon spreading nothing but lies.

To begin at the beginning, for the organization's head honcho, Ingrid E. Newkirk, the en masse murders of totally innocent cats, dogs, and other animals began a long time ago when she ran an unidentified shelter in the nation's capital. In an article entitled "The Extremist: The Woman Behind the Most Successful Radical Group in America," which appeared in the April 4, 2003 edition of The New Yorker, she proudly made the following candid admission:

"I went to the front office all the time, and I would say, 'John is kicking the dogs and putting them in freezers.' Or I would say, 'They are stepping on the animals, crushing them like grapes, and they don't care.' In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn't stand to let them go through that. I must have killed thousands of them, sometimes dozens every day."

C'est-à-dire, from the very beginning she was totally unwilling to put a stop to the blatant acts of animal cruelty that she witnessed being perpetrated right underneath her own nose and by her own employees. Secondly, she refused to find homes for those cats and dogs under her care. Thirdly and most reprehensible of all, she never has had so much as a scintilla of respect for the sanctity of animal life.

It therefore is not the least bit surprising that it was precisely those same policies that she put in situ when she founded PETA. For example, the organization admits to annually exterminating up to ninety-eight per cent of all the cats and dogs that it impounds at its shelter in Norfolk.

Less well known is that it also liquidates chickens, rabbits, rats, and other species. To make a long story short, it kills just about every single living creature that unwittingly falls into its bloodstained hands.

Perhaps most outrageous of all, the donations continue to keep rolling right on in from around the country and the world in spite of Newkirk's admission. "Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals who no one wants," she has declared on numerous occasions.

PETA therefore is anything but an animal rights group; au contraire, what it actually is operating is a slaughterhouse. Furthermore, its actual kill rate at its shelter is sans doute considerably higher than even it is willing to publicly admit in that it operates a fleet of death vans that travel around to shelters in southern Virginia, northern North Carolina, and perhaps elsewhere as well in order to collect cats and dogs.

The Volunteers Have Cared for the Cats Since 2000

It promises the shelters that it is going to place them in good homes and it even sometimes goes as far as to send back photographs of cats and dogs gamboling in the yards and fields of their supposedly new abodes. In reality, however, the photographs have been staged and the animals depicted in them were killed off almost as soon as they left the shelters.

All of that came to light in 2006 when it was caught disposing of the bodies of its victims in Dumpsters. Reprehensibly, the morons who dispense justice in the Tar Heel State let off the murderers scot-free. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killings 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.")

Following its public chastisement PETA became considerably more circumspect in its criminal activities but it is still very much active in the business of stealing and killing cats. (See Cat Defender post of October 7, 2011 entitled "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")

It likewise continues to treat dogs in much the same fashion and that was proven on October 18, 2014 when the organization's Victoria Jean Carey and Jennifer Lisa Woods stole a three-year-old chihuahua named Maya off the porch of a trailer in Parksley, Virginia's Eastern Shore, and promptly snuffed out its life. Demonstrating once again that it is every bit as cheap as it is murderous, PETA afterwards gave the dog's owner, Wilbur Cerate, a basket of fruit as compensation. (See The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, articles dated December 1, 2014 and February 27, 2015 and entitled, respectively, "Man Says PETA Took His Dog from Porch, Killed It" and "PETA Devastated after Dog Taken from Porch Is Euthanized.")

The only positive thing that can be said about that sorry episode is that Cerate got, in a roundabout way, exactly what he deserved in that he was the one who originally had asked PETA to come over and kill several homeless cats. The criminals subsequently trapped, removed and, no doubt, exterminated at least two of them.

In the uproar that ensued not so much as a word ever was uttered about the killing of the cats and that just goes to show why that things are as they are in this world. The only morality worth having is, not the one propagated by the Jews and the Christians, but rather one that encompasses Mother Earth and all the animals as well as people.

Early on in his existence man discovered that he could live high on the hog by destroying the earth, killing off the animals, and enslaving his fellow beings and as a consequence the killing and naked exploitation has never abated. On top of all of that, he has an unquenchable thirst for blood and a love of inflicting pain on others.

Cerate's behavior also vividly demonstrates that those individuals and groups who freely choose to roll in the hay with devils must fully expect to feel the sting of their horns and pitchforks. (See Cat Defender post of March 10, 2009 entitled "Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Rebound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers.")

The theft and killing of Maya furthermore demonstrated that The Press is far from being the only newspaper that PETA has in its back pocket. "As long as people abandon or surrender their pets, as long as other shelters choose to turn away injured, aggressive or feral animals, there'll be a need for PETA to do what it does," the editors of The Virginian Pilot declared by way of racing to the killers' defense on February 27, 2015. (See "Taking Aim at PETA's Work.")

Perhaps the most compelling affirmation that PETA is little more than a cat defamation and extermination service came a little bit earlier in 2014 when the city of San Diego invited in the diabolical USDA's Wildlife Services in order to hunt down homeless pigs with dogs and to shoot them from helicopters as well as on foot. That in turn proved to be too much for Newkirk's soldiers to stomach.

"No animal should be killed for doing that (simply trying to provide for its family and to survive)," the organization's Kristen Simon declared to The San Diego Times-Union on September 17, 2014. (See "City Aims to Kill Feral Pigs.")

While the organization was crying out its eyes for the pigs it simultaneously was lobbying officials in Tucson to veto a TNR initiative sponsored by the Pima Animal Care Center and Best Friends of Kanab, Utah. (See KGUN-TV of Tucson, August 5, 2014, "PETA Says Euthanasia 'Preferable' to TNR.")

"Perhaps it's time to correct misinterpretations about PETA: that it is an organization devoted to fighting for animal rights and sheltering the homeless animals that need helping for not being in the best of health," Sunshine Blanco wrote in The Glam Monitor on November 15, 2014. (See "How Ethical Is PETA's Treatment of Animals?") "After all, PETA seems to have a singular, simple answer to address all forms of suffering and need: death."

From there she proceeded to pose the most pressing question of all. "So before we answer how ethical PETA's treatment of animals is, first we should answer the question: is it ethical at all?"

Far more important than that, the organization's tax-exempt status as well as its licenses to operates a shelter and to administer lethal drugs should be revoked. Above all, Newkirk and her morally-warped acolytes should have been put behind bars decades ago for all the cats and dogs that they have stolen and murdered.

Since it continues to enjoy the widespread support of the capitalist media and governmental officials alike, that in turn gives rise to speculation that PETA possibly could be a creation of dark forces within both the American and English political establishments in order to discredit the animal rights movement in general and to forestall the eventual emergence of a legitimate organization that would actually take seriously animal welfare issues. After all, such underhanded tactics have been tried in the past. (See The New Yorker, August 25, 2014, "The Spy Who Loved Me.")


Gregory S. Okin
It additionally cannot be totally ruled out that it was precisely representatives of possibly PETA, the National Audubon Society, the Smithsonian Institution, or some other virulently anti-cat organization that were behind the killing of the Boardwalk cats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 18, 2013 and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and then Try to Lie Out of It" and "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")

There is not any evidence to support such suspicions but their rhetoric and past behavior has more than demonstrated that they would not think so much as even twice about killing cats if they thought for one second that they could get away with doing so. At the very least, the activities of those groups need to be closely monitored.

The Press's outrageous lies about the Boardwalk cats provoked a spirited rebuttal from ACA's Becky Robinson. "What is particularly shocking about the editorial is that evidence of how cats can live worthwhile lives outdoors is right in front of us at the Atlantic City Boardwalk," she wrote August 12th in an op-ed piece for the paper. (See "Boardwalk Cat Colonies Shouldn't Be Banned.") "The cats in our Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project have healthy lives as a result of our TNR program with many living well into their teens."

That is certainly true enough in that a gray and white female named Snowball lived at the site of the Taj Mahal's old gambling den until her sad death in August of 2011 at the age of twenty. (See Cat Defender post of December 10, 2011 entitled "Snowball Succumbs to the Inevitable after Toughing It Out for Two Decades at Atlantic City's Dangerous Underwood Hotel.")

A nineteen-year-old shorthair named Inky still resides at that same site and the recently deceased Genie lived to be eighteen years old. Above all, the quality of life that the cats enjoy is not a matter of opinion but rather their good health and the excellent care that they receive is self-evident to any Boardwalk promenader.

"I've had cats at home for many years," ACA's Matthew Wildman told the Philly Voice on July 17th. (See "Meet the People Who Care for One-Hundred 'Boardwalk Cats' at Jersey Shore.") "None of them lived to nineteen."

The quality of life and longevity enjoyed by some outdoor cats is by no means a phenomenon that is limited to Atlantic City. "On average, outdoor cats are healthier than indoor," Fred Hampton, who cares for some of those that are homeless in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, testified to The Riverdale Press on June 10, 2010. (See "They Care for Cats That Others Don't Care For.") "And they live longer too."

Robinson next up totally obliterated Spiegel's sottise about cats being ill-equipped to live outdoors. "Cats lived outdoors alongside people for more than ten-thousand years in virtually every landscape on every continent where people live," she wrote in The Press on August 12th. "Only in the past seventy years, with the invention of kitty litter, have they become popular domestic pets."

Even in venturing that much she has grossly understated the case in that even before their domestication cats survived and flourished on their own for millions of years. The threats posed to them by motorists, dogs, coyotes, raccoons, and other animals are very real but none of those perils are present in the world that exists underneath the pines in Atlantic City.

Robinson was considerably less honest, however, when she categorically declared that homeless cats "aren't socialized to humans and can't live indoors." On the contrary, if Tiny Kittens was able to have brought in from the cold Grandpa Mason, practically every homeless cat on the planet can be domesticated to one degree or the other. (See Cat Defender post of July 24, 2017 entitled "A Rescue Group in British Columbia Compassionately Elects to Spare Grandpa Mason's Life and in Return for Doing So It Receives an Unexpected Reward Worth More That Gold Itself.")

Doing so would require, first of all, that homes were made available to them. Secondly, socializing them would require a great deal of time, effort, patience, and expertise and, regrettably, few individuals and groups are willing to make that type of investment in any cat.

Robinson therefore was justified in dismissing The Press's edict that all cats be kept at home as "unrealistic and unreasonable." That by no means absolves her organization, however, of the solemn responsibility of finding homes for as many of its cats as is feasible and that is especially the case with those that are either elderly or sickly.

In addition to being frequented by some very dangerous individuals, the Underwood Hotel is cold, damp, and forbidding. Hurricanes, such as Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012, also claimed the lives of an undisclosed number of the cats.

Given that a number of them already have been socialized to the point of permitting their caregivers and tourists to pet them, that in turn augurs well for their ability to adapt to living with a family. Ironically, it could have been precisely the friendly demeanor of the victims that allowed the suspects to have gotten close enough to them to have killed them.

For the time being, however, ACA is not planning on making in changes in its stewardship of the cats. "There's no real end point for the project," Wildman disclosed to the Philly Voice. "We'll just keep working to provide the best quality of life for those cats that we can."

Nothing remains the same for very long in this world however and since the feline population at the Underwood has declined by seventy-two per cent since ACA's intercession, the Boardwalk cats are not likely to be around for too much longer. That is especially the case since no new kittens have arrived on the scene in recent years.

Nevertheless, even if they along with every other homeless cat on the planet were to die off today that stunning dénouement would contribute absolutely nothing toward silencing inveterate cat-haters such as The Press, PETA, and their allies. Au contraire, they simply would then redirect their venom, slanders, and criminal conduct in the direction of domiciled cats.

That was demonstrated writ large once again on August 2nd when Gregory S. Okin, a geographer at UCLA, published in PLOS ONE an article entitled "Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption by Dogs and Cats." Although his conclusions are at best estimates, he nevertheless theorizes that America's roughly one-hundred-eighty million pet cats and dogs consume a whopping twenty-five per cent of all the animal-derived calories that are produced in this country.

By way of remedying that situation he recommends that cats and dogs be fed offal and organ meats as opposed to good-quality cuts. He additionally proposes that dog owners either trade in their large companions in favor of smaller ones that eat less or, better still, that they get rid of them altogether and in their stead acquire hamsters.

His conclusions regarding diet were wholeheartedly endorsed by Tufts veterinarian Cailin Heinze. "Dogs and cats happily eat organ meats," she told The Washington Post on August 4th. (See "The Hidden Costs of Dog and Cat Food.") "Americans do not."

A Resident Peers Out from the Desolate and Dangerous Underwood Hotel

Conspicuously absent from The Washington Post's diatribe was any mention whatsoever that man, unlike cats, is not an obligate carnivore and therefore could single-handedly remedy the situation by ceasing to eat meat. Secondly, barbaric animal sacrificial rites, such as the Jews' economically motivated slaughter of tens of thousands of chickens each year during the Yom Kippur celebration of Kaparot, could be outlawed.

So, too, could be the use of animals in scientific research, trauma training, law enforcement, and war. The creation of designer animals and clones could be proscribed as well as the use of animals in sports, the entertainment industry, and their unjust incarceration in zoos.

Most egregious of all, the newspaper intentionally neglects to point out not only that the human population of the United States has doubled in the past seventy years or so and continues to expand but that the land of the free and the home of the brave has become a nation of gluttons, drunkards, dope addicts, and profligates. Yet, Okin and Heinze have the unmitigated gall to suggest that cats and dogs be fed garbage while they and their fellow Homo sapiens continue to gorge themselves.

All of those glaring omissions are quite understandable in that the article was written by none other than Karin Brulliard who scarcely could be defined as a fan of cats and dogs.  For instance, in 2005 Old Brulliard Bird paid a visit to the Loudoun County Animal Shelter in Waterford, Virginia, and afterwards she penned an article that clearly demonstrated that PETA's slimy tentacles stretch far and deep into the heart of the capitalist media.

In particular, she argued, inter alia, that there was nothing wrong with the en masse killing of cats and dogs, that they would be happier in heaven, and that they were little more than inanimate objects. (See Cat Defender post of September 30, 2005 entitled "Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Exterminate Cats and Dogs.")

Okin likewise is hardly an impartial observer in this debate given that one of his fellow geographers at UCLA is none other than Travis Longcore who, in his second job as science director of The Urban Wildlife Group, was able to convince a local judge back in 2009 to bar the city of Los Angeles from funding TNR. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2011 entitled "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Abused.")

Back in the day when intellectual integrity and academic credentials counted for something, a pair of glorified map jockeys never would have been able to have gotten away with passing themselves off as experts on the diet and predatory activities of cats but, quite obviously, things have changed considerably since then. Nowadays, most anything goes and scurrilous journalists such as Brulliard are more than happy to serve as the professors' stooges.

As simply god-awful as she is as a journalist, Old Brulliard Bird is far from being the only member of her ignoble profession to be in the thrall of cat-haters. For instance, Irene Banos Ruiz of Deutsche Welle of Köln went so far off her rocker after having soaked up a good dose of Okin's baloney that she completely forgot all about the environmental impact of dogs and instead elected to direct all of her energies into defaming cats.

Following in the well-trodden path of The Press, she began by voicing her unqualified support for the Smithsonian's 2013 nonsensical study of feline predation. Although she did have the bon sens not to endorse Okin's and Heinze's suggestion that cats be fed a steady diet of slaughterhouse offal, she did propose that they be put on an organic diet that is marketed in environmentally-friendly packaging.

It was, however, the excretory functions of cats that really got her goat. In particular, she recommends that hot water not be used in order to sanitize litter boxes and that owners purchase litter made from compost.

She does not say so explicitly, but it seems rather clear that starving cats is the central thesis of her war on excrement. "As with all our resources, reducing consumption is the first step," she hypocritically pontificated in the August 8th edition of Deutsche Welle. (See "Your Cat Is Killing the Earth -- but You Can Prevent It.") "Thinking twice to avoid overfeeding and reduce (sic) waste can be a good starting point."

In her rant about feline excrement Ruiz is not really breaking any new ground in that as early as 2006 Patricia Conrad of the University of California at Davis accused cats of killing sea otters by spreading the parasite toxoplasma gondii in their feces. (See Cat Defender post of March 3, 2006 entitled "A Cat-Hating Professor at UC-Davis and the BBC Call for the Extermination of Seventy-Eight-Million Feral Felines.")

So, in the final analysis, despisers of the species simply cannot abide cats either indoors or outside, they begrudge them what little that they eat, and they are adamantly opposed to them even so much as taking a shit. The only thing that they have not yet accused them of is halitosis and that is surely percolating somewhere in their cauldron of evil.

Meanwhile they and their fellow hate-filled fascists remain as innocent as lambs and see absolutely nothing wrong with the ever-expanding human population, the insane levels of superfluous consumption that are accompanying it, unchecked greed, violence, and bigotry of every sort imaginable. Instead, it is cats alone that are to blame for all the world's evils.

In spite of The Press's vocal opposition to their continued existence, the Boardwalk cats do not appear to be in any imminent danger of losing their homes and that is thanks not only to ACA's coup in winning over both the mayor and chief of police to its side but also to widespread public support for the inalienable right of homeless cats to live. "People would rather leave cats in their outdoor homes than have them brought to a shelter and killed," the organization's Rebekah DeHaven told USA Today on July 12th. (See "These Feral Cats Aren't Put Down, They're Put to Work.") "It's not a politically viable option."

The real danger confronting the cats lies rather in the possibility that the attacks carried out back in March were the beginning of a coordinated campaign designed not only to pick them off one by one but to simultaneously undermine the fine work being done by the volunteers. That must not be allowed to happen but, unfortunately, neither the police nor the public can be counted on to protect the cats. That awesome responsibility rests squarely upon the shoulders of ACA and it is therefore imperative that it undertake decisive measures in order to ensure that there are not any additional killings.

In that respect, the principal concern is for the safety of those cats that reside in the colonies that are located north of Resorts and near Absecon Inlet. If it has not done so already, ACA should have its volunteers take turns patrolling those areas at night.

If no one can be found who is willing to undertake that dangerous job, ACA does not have any alternative other than to hire a security guard to watch over the cats. The installation of surveillance cameras at all fifteen colonies would deter some individuals from harming the cats but not everyone.

Although the only thing that really matters is the safety and well-being of the cats, there is going to be a high price to be paid politically should there be additional killings. Worst still, such an adverse development would have the potential of transforming perennial losers such as The Press, PETA, and those who think like them into winners and that is the absolute last thing that cats need.

Photos: the Atlantic City Police Department (suspects), Emmy Favilla of BuzzFeed (sign), Research Gate (Okin), and The Press (cat at the Underwood Hotel).

Friday, August 04, 2017

Mayor Stubbs, 1997-2017: A Melancholic Remembrance, an Appreciation, and a Tearful au Revoir

The Unforgettable Stubbs

"He was a trooper (sic) until the very last day of his life. Meowing at us throughout the day to pet him or to come sit on the bed with him and let him snuggle and purr for hours in our lap (sic)."
-- Stephanie Enders

Even though it cannot be said that his quietus was not altogether unexpected, that has not made the recent death of Mayor Stubbs of Talkeetna any less painful. The only positive thing that can be said about it is that he, apparently, was allowed to live out his brief sojourn upon this earth to the very end and then to die a natural death.

"The night of July 20th, we checked on the cats before bed and Stubbs was snuggled up with Aurora in the bed next to his," Stephanie Enders who, along with Kjetil Andre Spone, owns Nagley's Store and the adjacent West Rib Pub and Grill, announced July 22nd in an online article entitled simply, Mayor Stubbs, 1997-2017. "Stubbs went to bed as usual and before we woke the morning of July 21, he was already in heaven."

Although Enders claims that at the time of his passing he was twenty years and three months old, prior press reports maintain that he turned sixteen on March 7, 2012 and that in turn would have made him twenty-one years and four months old. Regardless of who is doing the arithmetic, he had a relatively long life for a cat. Compared to the longevity enjoyed by humans, however, his limited tenure left him with time for little more than a cup of coffee.

It is not much of a consolation given the enormity of the loss that the cat world has suffered, but from all accounts Stubbs was pain-free and in relatively good health right up until the bitter end. "He was a trooper (sic) until the very last day of his life," Enders continued. "Meowing at us throughout the day to pet him or to come sit on the bed with him and let him snuggle and purr for hours in our lap (sic)."

It also would seem that the love he held in his heart for her, Spone, and their two young girls was fully reciprocated. "Thank you, Stubbs, for coming into our lives for the past thirty-one months; you are (sic) a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you," is how that she chose to eulogize him. "We loved the time we were allowed to spend with you."

Even though he served as mayor of the tiny hamlet located one-hundred-eighty-two kilometers north of Anchorage at the foot of Mount McKinley for twenty years, no other eulogies have appeared online from any of its nine-hundred or so residents. Even press coverage of his death in the United States has been pretty much limited to the Anchorage area. (See KTVA-TV of Anchorage, July 22, 2017, "Stubbs, Talkeetna's Honorary Cat Mayor Dies" and the Alaska Dispatch News of Anchorage, July 24, 2017, "Stubbs, Talkeetna's Honorary 'Mayor' Cat and Beloved Feline Fixture, Dies at Twenty.")

Although the capitalist media in the United States may be comprised of largely an uncaring, unappreciative, and callous lot of rotters who, to crib from Oscar Wilde, "know the price of everything but the value of nothing," the English press certainly was well aware of Stubbs' intrinsic value and duly remembered his passing. (See the Daily Mail, July 24, 2017, "Stubbs, the Honorary Mayor of Alaska (sic) Town That Held the Role Since He Was a Kitten, Dies Aged Twenty" and The Guardian, July 23, 2017, "Feline Sad: Cat Who Was 'Mayor' of Alaskan Town for Twenty Years Dies.")

The press in Deutschland likewise gave extensive coverage to his death. (See the Süddeutsche Zeitung of München, July 24, 2017, "Katzen-Bürgermeister in Alaska ist tot" and the Berliner Morgenpost, July 25, 2017, "Alaska trauert um Katzen-Bürgermeister.")

In announcing the death of her cat, Enders neglected to make any mention whatsoever about holding a memorial service for him. She likewise omitted any reference as to what was to be done with his remains.

At the very least, Stubbs deserved a proper resting place and a tombstone worthy of a cat of his stature. Hopefully, his remains were not either casually tossed out in the trash or burned to ashes.

Stubbs on the Job at Nagley's

Even though the vast majority of his fans, admirers, and supporters had known him far longer than her, she did not even think so much as twice about uncharitably warning them not to telephone either Nagley's or West Rib Pub and Grill. Instead, she has directed that all condolences be sent in his name to Post Office Box 413, Talkeetna, Alaska 99676.

All post cards received are scheduled to be placed in a scrapbook that will be put on display at the store. A photograph album also is planned and those wishing to contribute to it may do so at info@NagleysStore.com.

As is the case with so many cats, Stubbs came from the humblest of beginnings imaginable. Not only did his original owner not want any part of him and his littermates, but that individual was so desperate to get shed of them that either he or she had resorted to the expedient of doling them out for free to the public from a cardboard box in a Talkeetna parking lot.

This world is chock-full of horror stories about what happens to kittens that are fobbed off to the public under the rubric of "free to a good home," but the orange-colored, part-Manx kitten without much of a tail hit the jackpot when he was adopted on that fateful day back in 1997 by Laurie Stec who at that time owned Nagley's. Either she or someone else shortly thereafter came up with the brilliant idea of having him declared to be the town's mayor and the rest of the story is pretty much history.

He soon thereafter settled into a normal routine of whereby he would spend his days at the store greeting visitors and posing with them for photographs. At times when he was not working he enjoyed dining on Alaskan snow crabs at the store and sipping water laced with catnip from a wine glass at the West Rib Pub and Grill.

Word of his meteoric ascendancy soon spread weit und breit and that in turn brought in the tourists and their godly green. "Oh my gosh, we probably have thirty to forty people a day come in who are tourists wanting to see him," Stec declared back in 2012. "He was just in Alaska Magazine (April 2012 edition), and he's been featured in a few different things."

She accordingly was more than justified in singing his praises to the high heavens. "He's good. Probably the best (mayor) we've had," she continued in 2012. "He doesn't raise our taxes (and) we have no sales tax. He doesn't interfere with business."

He even made a half-hearted run for the presidency in 2012 and, given what has transpired since then, the country most definitely would be far better off today if it had had the bon sens to have voted for him as opposed to the bum who ultimately prevailed in that election as well as the blighter who won last year's contest. (See Cat Defender posts of June 23, 2017 and April 28, 2017 entitled, respectively, "For Eight Long and Tortuous Years, Barack Obama and His Bloodthirsty Henchmen Within the Federal Bureaucracy Waged a Ruthless, No-Holds-Barred War on Cats" and "Trump Not Only Exposes Himself for What He Is but Also Disgraces the Office of the President in the Process by Feting Cat Killers Theodore Anthony Nugent and Kid Rock at the White House.")

Being a politician is not all fun and games, however, and that admonition applies to felines as well as to humans. In Stubbs' case, he came under attack from wildlife advocate Peter Mathiesen and his wife as well as Patti Callen of the Mostly Moose Gift Shop at 13594 East Main Street.

"His biggest political rivals would be other local businesses that would hate that he comes over and takes a nap and leaves fur everywhere. They aren't big fans of him," Skye Farrar, an employee of Nagley's, disclosed in 2012. "We usually say, 'You have to deal with it. He runs the town'." (See Cat Defender post of September 25, 2012 entitled "Talkeetna Has Profited Handsomely from Mayor Stubbs' Enlightened Leadership but the Lure of Higher Office Soon Could Be Beckoning Him to Change His Address.")

In addition to fastidious merchants and cat-hating wildlife advocates, Talkeetna is home to a large canine population and on the night of August 31, 2013 one of them almost put an end not only to Stubbs' tenure as mayor but his life as well. He was on his way to the Wildflower Cafe at 13578 East Main Street, which is only a short one-minute walk from Nagley's, when he was attacked by an unleashed dog and subsequently left for dead by its reprehensible owner.

Stubbs and His Longtime Owner Laurie Stec

An unidentified Good Samaritan discovered him bloodied and dying on the ground and telephoned Stec. She rushed right over but it nonetheless took her some time in order to locate him.

Once she had done so she rushed him to Golden Pond Veterinary Services in Talkeetna where practitioner Jennifer Pironis was able to stanch the hemorrhaging and to stabilize his condition. What followed next was a nightmarish, ninety-six kilometer race against the clock to the Big Lake Susitna Veterinary Hospital in Big Lake. Stubbs' condition was so dire in fact that Pironis brought along with her a jab of sodium pentobarbital just in case it worsened en route.

At the hospital veterinarian Amy Lehman diagnosed him to have suffered a long, deep gash in his side that required twelve stitches to close, a punctured lung, a fractured sternum, an unspecified number of broken ribs, and a bruised hip. The repairs and the insertion of a breathing tube consumed three hours of her time.

It all very well could have ended right then and there for Stubbs if Stec had not insisted that Lehman treat, as opposed to kill, him. "I knew who he was when I got the call and so I knew who was coming, but I was never expecting this kind of circus to arise out of his being here," she said afterwards. "But he's a cat, you know, so for me he's a patient and I'm treating him just like everybody else."

It was touch and go for a while as Stubbs lingered somewhere between life and death for days. By September 5th, however, he was back on his feet again and four days later he was well enough to return home with Stec.

The damage already had been done, however, and he was destined never to be quite the same again. In addition to that, he was confronted with a long and difficult recuperation that included the daily administration of painkillers as well as frequent return visits to Lehman's surgery.

Approximately six weeks later, he announced what his many fans and supporters long had feared. "As you have read I don't think I will return to public life in the same manner as before," he wrote October 18th on his Facebook page. "I had a great run and a very exciting life as mayor but it is time for Talkeetna to find a new mayor."

Every bit as gracious in exiting the political stage as he was when he first walked out on it, Stubbs' only concern was, not for himself, but rather his subjects. "I only hope that I have served them (the residents of Talkeetna) with as much love and respect as you (sic) all have shown me," he continued. "I love you all -- meeow!"

Although the dog's owner was belatedly identified and Stec did file a formal complaint against him with the Animal Control officers at the Matanuska-Susitna Animal Shelter, as far as it is known no action ever was taken against either him or his dog. (See Cat Defender post of October 28, 2013 entitled "Slow to Recuperate from Life-Threatening Injuries Sustained in a Savage Mauling by an Unleashed Dog, Stubbs Announces His Intention to Step Down as Mayor of Talkeetna.")

Although that unquestionably was the worst thing that ever happened to him, it was far from being the only calamity to have befallen him during his lifetime. For example, in 2008 teenage hooligans armed with air guns shot him in the rear.

In 2012, he became soaked in oil when he accidentally tumbled into a fryer at a local restaurant. Luckily for him, the pan was turned off and the oil cold.

Stubbs and Some of the Visible Injuries That a Dog Inflicted Upon Him

Earlier, he unwittingly had climbed aboard a garbage truck and was transported out of town. He nevertheless was able to have kept his wits about him and subsequently jumped off at the first opportunity that presented itself to him. He was not harmed but he did have a long walk back to town.

Stubbs pretty much stayed out of the media's spotlight during 2014 and that in turn served only to intensify the jolt that the cat world received in January of 2015 when Stec not only sold Nagley's and West Rib Pub and Grill to Enders and Spone but, inexplicably, ran out on the cat that she had sheltered and cared for over the course of the past eighteen years. "Really, without having him, the deal would have gone a lot differently," was all that Enders was willing to divulge about what transpired to KTVA-TV of Anchorage on January 14, 2015. (See "Talkeetna Store Gets New Owner; Mayor Stubbs the Cat Sticks Around.") "He's a big part of Talkeetna in general."

It simply defies all logic, morality, and common sense that Stec could have given up custody of Stubbs. Although it is often said that dogs belong to people whereas cats belong to places, the latter are far more malleable and adaptable than they are generally given credit for and Stubbs accordingly easily could have adjusted to a new abode with Stec as his caretaker.

Not a great deal is known about the psychological makeup of cats but it would be absurd not to assume that Stec's desertion of him did not adversely affect him. While she possibly could have stayed on in Talkeetna and therefore occasionally put in brief cameo appearances in his life, that somehow does not seem to have been very likely.

From the tidbits of information to be found online, it would appear that it was solely her decision to have abandoned Stubbs. "We knew Stubbs before he really knew us," Enders pointed out in the online posting announcing his death. "Never did we imagine that the mayor of Talkeetna would become our new pet and best friend."

In spite of Stec's simply outrageous and unconscionable act of betrayal, Enders and her family would appear to have done all right by him. "Just over two and one-half years ago, we purchased Nagley's Store and West Rib Pub and Grill and part of the contract was that Stubbs would stay with the store," she related in her online posting. "We couldn't have been happier. The girls were ecstatic that they finally got a friend that could sleep in their beds and romp around the house with."

Even more importantly, the family's commitment to Stubbs was not limited solely to palaver. Rather, Enders started him on a regimen of regular veterinary visits and gave him special foods, medicines, vitamins, and saline. She even improvised a kitty walk so as to help him getting up and down the stairs at their house.

As 2015 played out, he could still be found at Nagley's but not on a regular basis. Instead, he started spending considerably more time at Enders' house located, it is believed, directly in back of the store.

In 2016, his appearances at Nagley's became even less frequent but he still could be occasionally found at the West Rib Pub and Grill enjoying his customary wine glass filled to the brim with water and catnip. It also was along about then that Enders' daughters took to carrying him across the road to a public park so that he could get some fresh air and exercise.

On May 16th of that same year, a posting on Martin McCullough's Facebook page entitled "Stubbs Mayor Cat," which is to be distinguished from the mayor's own page, declared that he had died. Enders, however, quickly refuted that claim.

A Very Old Stubbs During His Twilight Days

"He's alive and well, and we can't get all of the fake pages off Facebook," she told KTVA-TV on May 16th. (See "Mayor Stubbs Is 'Alive and Well' Despite Facebook Rumors of His Death.") "You post on social media about Stubbs, and within minutes there's thousands of people who have commented or shared or liked. So this kind of thing gets out so fast you can't even screech the brakes enough to stop it."

So, as he had done so many times in the past, Stubbs survived in order to live another day. The false report nevertheless served as a harbinger of what was to come. "He's getting older and inevitably (it) will probably happen someday, (sic) but today is not that day and he is super-fine," Enders summed up.

In preparation for that eventuality, she adopted two kittens, a brother and a sister named Denali and Aurora, in August. Their presence also helped somewhat to bolster Stubbs' flagging energy and spirits.

Following the summer of 2016, he rarely left the house. As a consequence, whenever visitors to Nagley's requested an audience with him the girls, if they were about, would fetch him from home and carry him over for a brief interview and photo opportunity.

Earlier this year he appeared on a couple of television shows and did a handful of interviews but that was about the extent of his public appearances. He visited the store a few times this summer in order to say hello and to snuggle with some of the employees but that, in retrospect, turned out to be his swan song.

Despite Stec's cruel abandonment of him and his many injuries and brushes with disaster, it cannot be said by any stretch of the imagination that he had an unhappy life. Yet at the same time it also is indisputable that Nagley's in particular and Talkeetna in general got considerably more out of the relationship than did Stubbs.

He first of all was a cash cow who helped both Stec and Enders to line their pockets. "Over seventy-five per cent of visitors ask 'Where's the mayor?' or come in with this statement: 'I have an appointment with the mayor'," Enders acknowledged in her online article. "I think we heard those two statements over one-hundred times a day during our first year."

Secondly, he put the tiny Census Designated Place on the map. Now, people all over the world have heard of Talkeetna and that is all attributable to him, his personality, and exploits.

Thirdly, and most importantly, he was a faithful friend and companion to Stec, Enders and her family, and the workers at Nagley's. Talkeetna may very well be all about turning a fast and easy buck but it would be absurd to attempt to place a price tag on the fidelity, class, and loyalty that Stubbs dispensed so freely.

Even though his corpse is barely cold, Enders and her family already have moved on to the next chapter in their commercial lives and now it is Denali, not Stubbs, who is the focus of all their attentions and affections. "Amazingly, Denali has the exact personality as Stubbs. He loves the attention, he's like a little puppy when he's around people," she wrote in the online article. "We couldn't have asked for a better understudy than Denali. He really has followed in Stubbs' paw prints in just about everything."

By contrast, Aurora is said to be shy and standoffish. Whereas she may eventually warm to the public, for the present time it would appear that her role is going to be pretty much limited to serving as her brother's companion, that is unless Enders should elect to get rid of her altogether.

Last Call Has Sounded for Stubbs

By stepping into Stubbs' shoes, Denali is following a time-honored tradition at Nagley's that began in the 1970's with a longhaired gray and white cat named Gemini. She was succeeded in the late 1980's by a kitten named Holly who lived at the store until the early 1990's. For unexplained reasons, she was exiled to a ranch in Bend, Oregon, where she later died in 1999.

She was followed by a white and brown tom named Squeeker who was killed in a fire in 1997. A brown and white Persian named Charlie followed in his stead but he did not fare much better than his predecessor in that he succumbed to a sudden, undisclosed illness in 2004.

Nagley's track record in taking care of its resident felines is therefore underwhelming to say the least. Most glaringly, its getting rid of Holly, the death of Squeeker, and Stec's desertion of Stubbs are black marks against the establishment and its naked exploitation of cats.

Enders and her family accordingly have been presented with a golden opportunity not only to rake in some serious moola but, more importantly, to reverse the uncaring and exploitative policies of their predecessors. With human nature being what it is coupled with the talismanical effect that a love of shekels has been known to have on people, it would be naïve to expect very much in the way of improvement from any of them in that regard.

Looking ahead, the tourists are still going to continue to trek to Talkeetna and that in turn is going to make the cash registers at Nagley's hum. Denali is destined to do a good job as Stubbs' replacement and soon is going to have a following of his own.

It often is said that the dead live on both in their writings as well as in the memories of those whose lives that they have touched. In Stubbs' case, however, he not only never put down his thoughts on paper but even the days of those who were fortunate enough to have known him are likewise numbered.

Things change but time keeps marching on and after a while the petit fait that he even once so much as graced the face of the earth will gradually begin to recede from public consciousness. C'est la vie!

It nevertheless is difficult to get around the stubborn feeling that his life was not all that it could have been if only one of the many individuals who walked in and out of it had bestowed upon him the attentions, love, and appreciation that he so richly merited.  In that light, it would be especially interesting to know if on his last day Enders and her family indulged him in his desperate need for attention or were they too busy chasing shekels to have been bothered with honoring the last wishes of a dying cat?

Cats are cognizant of many things that are totally beyond the grasp of their human counterparts and one of them is death. For instance, it is common practice for some of them that are knocking on death's door to hold out against all odds until their owners return home before dying shortly thereafter. Mother cats likewise can readily recognize when something is deathly wrong with their newborns and accordingly will steadfastly refuse all entreaties to nurse them.

Perhaps most amazing of all, at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a cat named Oscar is able to predict whenever the Grim Reaper is about to strike with far greater accuracy than any of the highly-paid medical professionals on staff. (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, Health, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left.")

Stubbs likewise was far more than an inexpensive, four-legged prop that lured in the tourists and their coveted greenbacks. Au contraire, he was a true individual who carried around inside his beautiful soul far more gold than there is to be found in the pocketbooks of a million tourists. The tragedy therefore lies in the abject failure of all those who knew him to have realized that and now it is much, much too late for them to make amends.

Photos: KTUU-TV of Anchorage (Stubbs up close), Bailey Berg of the Alaska Dispatch News (Stubbs at the store), Jim Carlton of the Wall Street Journal (Stubbs and Stec), Laurie Stec (Stubbs and his injuries), KTVA-TV (Stubbs in his twilight days), and Facebook (Stubbs drinking catnip and water).