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Cat Defender

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ernest Hemingway's Beloved Cats Made It Through the Rain, Wind, and Destruction that Hurricane Irma Brought With Her and Are Still Very Much Alive and Well in Key West

Ernest Hemingway's Old Abode Has Stood the Test of Time

"The cats seemed to be more aware sooner of the storm coming in, and in fact when we started to round up the cats to take them inside, some of them actually ran inside, knowing it was time to take shelter. Sometimes I think they're smarter than the human beings."
-- Dave Gonzales

When Hurricane Irma roared through Key West during the early morning hours of Sunday, September 10th she brought with her two-hundred-nine kilometer winds and drenching rain. As a consequence, a good part of the world famous resort was either heavily damaged or flooded.

At 907 Whitehead Street, however, the intrepid feline residents of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and their ten caretakers were not only dry but, best of all, safe and sound. In electing to attempt and ride out the category four storm, staffers at the museum openly defied a dire warning issued earlier by none other than the great novelist's granddaughter, actress Mariel Hemingway.

"I think you're wonderful and an admirable person for trying to stay there and save the cats and the house," she told the museum's seventy-two-year-old general manager, Jacqui Sands, via The Mercury News of San Jose on September 8th. (See "Mariel Hemingway to Manager at Ernest Hemingway's Key West Home: Take the Cats and Go!") "This is frightening. This hurricane is a big deal. Get in the car with the cats and take off."

Although sans doute well intended, that bit of unsolicited advice was hardly practical given that the museum is home to fifty-four cats, many of whom are polydactyls. Evacuating them therefore would have required a corresponding number of cages and at least eight to ten passenger cars.

Besides, by that time U.S. 1, the only road in and out of the Keys, was already clogged with evacuees and petrol was in short supply. Greyhound, even if it was still operating, does not allow cats on its motor coaches and there is not any train service in the Florida Keys.

Even some staffers of the museum were forced into remaining behind because they either did not have cars of their own or were unable to get seats on flights out of Key West International Airport. As catastrophic storms such as Katrina, Irene, Sandy, and Harvey have more than abundantly demonstrated, the United States has become so crowded that individuals who wish to flee them must make up their minds to do so almost immediately upon learning of them or otherwise hunker down and do the best that they can in order to survive.

All things considered, what the staffers decided to do was actually the wisest course of action that they could have taken not only for the sake of the cats but themselves as well. In particular, by remaining behind they were able to take full advantage of the museum's elevation at sixteen feet above sea level, the highest point on the island, and its impregnable construction.

Grace Kelly Calls the Roll of Her Fellow Felines

"I have been watching the news, and people keep talking about how low-lying the Keys are. We are not in the flood zone," the museum's curator, Dave Gonzales, afterwards pointed out to The Washington Post on September 11th. (See "Hemingway's Six-Toed Cats Survive Irma, Still Have Nine Lives.") "This is an eighteen-inch block-limestone building that has been here since 1851 and is still standing."

It therefore is safe to conclude that the old mansion has weathered quite a few hurricanes over the years. The historical record is not easily unearthed but on September 10, 1960 Hurricane Donna made landfall near Marathon, eighty-one kilometers north of Key West, where it killed one individual and injured seventy-one others. The storm also demolished five-hundred-sixty-four houses and damaged another one-thousand-three-hundred-eighty-two of them.

More recently, Hurricane Georges came shore as a category two storm in September of 1998 and Wilma roared through town on October 24, 2005. Staffers at the museum therefore knew not only what to expect but how to prepare for it.

"I think we are going to be fine," Sands confidently predicted to The Mercury News.

There also is an awful lot of truth in Gonzales' observation that houses, commercial enterprises, and public buildings constructed in the nineteenth century and the early part of the succeeding one were intended to endure throughout the ages. The fact that they even were built in the first place is all the more remarkable given that the limestone and other minerals that their construction required had to be not only mined but transported long distances as well. Plus, just about all of the actual work was done, not by heavy equipment and modern machines, but rather manually.

Most of them have long since succumbed to the wrecking ball and as a consequence there are not all that many of them left standing, but that does not alter the fact that old, decrepit-looking hotels and other properties that were constructed out of bricks, mortar, and other durable materials are often still far safer than their contemporary rivals which, in most cases, have been built using synthetic and highly inflammable materials. Old buildings therefore cannot be blown down by hurricanes and any conflagrations that erupt are easily contained at their points of origin. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2017 entitled "Paucho Somehow Made It Out Alive of Grenfell Tower but the Fate of the Dozens of Other Cats That Resided at the High-Rise Firetrap Remains Shrouded in Secrecy.")

"This isn't our first hurricane," Gonzales defiantly added to The Mercury News. "We're here to stay."

The Museum's Dedicated Staffers

None of his reassurances, however, impressed Hemingway in the least. "It's just a house," she retorted to The Mercury News. "None of us likes to lose things we treasure (but) ultimately you've got to protect your life."

In spite of Gonzales' and Sands' public bravado, once push finally came to shove they were not quite willing to completely entrust their hides to either limestone or the museum's stellar track record. On September 7th they accordingly had the Reverend John C. Baker of the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea at 1010 Windsor Lane to come by and bless the cats, staff, and house itself.

"We answer to a higher authority and we feel very confident the outcome for us is going to be very good," Gonzales predicted to The Washington Post.

That was good thinking on his part because it never hurts to try and appease the gods. Besides, Baker likely gave the museum a generous discount considering the circumstances.

So, after stocking up on food, water, and medicine, all that remained for staffers to do was to bring the cats inside and that proved to be a far easier task than initially expected. It also disproved the age-old notion that cats cannot be herded.

"The cats seemed to be more aware sooner of the storm coming in, and in fact when we started to round up the cats to take them inside, some of them actually ran inside, knowing it was time to take shelter," Gonzales later told the Los Angeles Times on September 11th. (See "Hemingway House and Cats Spared by Hurricane Irma.") "Sometimes I think they're smarter than the human beings."

In some ways they actually are superior beings and that is especially the case when it comes to their sense of smell. In particular, they can smell a rainstorm approaching long before their human counterparts have so much as an inkling as to what is about to occur.

An Anti-Looting Sign on Duval Street

Their excellent sense of hearing likewise allows them to detect thunder and great gusts of wind long before the sound of either reaches their owners' ears. That particular ability of theirs can be a bit uncanny, however, in that the very same cat who is capable of hearing the lid being pried off of a can of tuna from as far away as a block also can be as deaf as an adder to the entreaties of an owner sitting only a few feet across the room.

They also are capable of picking up on rumblings underground that presage the arrival of earthquakes and they can sense abrupt changes in the atmospheric pressure. (See www.pethelpful.com, April 2, 2017, "Can Your Cat Predict the Weather?")

Not surprisingly, they usually are the first members of any household to detect conflagrations and gas leaks. (See Cat Defender posts of October 31, 2007, November 30, 2007, and April 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bacon Shows His Appreciation and Love for His Rescuer by Awakening Her from a Burning Apartment," "Cuddles Saves a Saskatchewan Family from a Blaze in a Faulty Fireplace That Destroys Their Home," and "Winnie Saves an Indiana Family of Three from Dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.")

In more recent times, cats have proven themselves to be adept at detecting the presence of diseases such as cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of April 11, 2009, March 27, 2010, and April 20, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Tiger Saves His Owner's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung," "Taken In Off the Street by a Compassionate Woman, Sumo Returns the Favor by Alerting Her to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom," and "Grateful for Being Provided with a Loving Home, Fidge in Turn Saves Her Mistress's Life by Alerting Her to a Malignant Growth on Her Breast.")

They additionally have demonstrated themselves to be capable of anticipating both emphysema attacks and diabetic seizures. (See Cat Defender posts of April 18, 2009, May 18, 2009, and April 21, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Blackie Stays Up Nights Monitoring His Guardian's Breathing for Emphysema Attacks," "Elijah Teaches Himself How to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardians and Others," and "Adopted from a Shelter Only Hours Previously, Pudding Saves His Rescuer's Life by Awakening Her from a Diabetic Seizure.")

Most amazing of all, at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a cat named Oscar is able to predict the arrival of the Grim Reaper with far greater accuracy than the trained physicians 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.")

As if all of that were not sufficient in order to establish them as savants, cats know a good deal more about a variety of topics that are totally beyond the grasp of humans. For instance, they are able to find their way home from great distances without the assistance of either maps and GPS or stopping along the way in order to ask directions. (See Cat Defender post of April 27, 2007 entitled "A French Chat Named Mimine Walks Eight-Hundred Kilometers in Order to Track Down the Family That Abandoned Her.")

Hairy Truman Contemplates Writing His Memoirs...

Cats additionally can tell the time of day far more accurately than either Breitling or Tag Heuer and they are especially good judges of character. For example, if a cat should develop a dislike for either a lover, roommate, or visitor, it would be a good idea to get rid of that offending individual as quickly as possible.

Members of the species also are blessed with many admirable character traits that mankind never has seen fit to emulate. "There intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends -- who are without prejudice, without hate, without greed -- may someday teach us something," is how that celebrated author Lilian Jackson Braun once summed up the matter.

Once all the cats had been brought inside and accounted for, staffers boarded up the windows and doors and settled in for the long haul. "The cats are also accustomed to our voices and our care. We're comfortable with them; they're comfortable with us," Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times in the article cited supra. "We love them. They love us. We all hung out last night together."

Although the staffers had done all that they knew to do in order to prepare for what was to come, it would be only natural if they had not become more than a little bit anxious when Irma rattled the rafters and shook the foundation of the stately old mansion with her powerful gusts and biblical downpours. At least they had the cats for comfort.

In that respect, their plight and reliance upon something other than their own resources is reminiscent of how that a pair of men of god behaved during an earthquake that shook the Bay Area in the late 1800's. In chapter fifty-eight of his semi-autobiographical work, Roughing It, Mark Twain describes the following scene:

"The first shock brought down two or three huge organ-pipes in one of the churches. The minister, with uplifted hands, was just closing the services. He glanced up, hesitated, and said:

'However, we will omit the benediction!' -- and the next instance there was a vacancy in the atmosphere where he had stood.

After the first shock, an Oakland minister said:

'Keep your seats! There is no better place to die than this...'

And added, after the third:

'But outside is good enough!' He then skipped out at the back door."

...while an Orange Cat Has Found a More Mundane Use for the Printed Word

If it should have been the karma of the staffers to have perished, they could not have picked better company to have exited this vale of tears with than their loyal and loving cats. Besides, unlike the minister in Oakland, turning tail and running was no longer a viable option for them once Irma had begun to bear down upon them.

As things eventually turned out, she quickly moved on up the Florida Keys and in her wake not only was the museum still standing tall and proud but the cats and their minders had come through the terrifying ordeal without so much as a scratch. The only known casualties were running water, electricity, and Internet service.

Thanks to a backup generator, the museum's air conditioning system continued to hum along as usual. Moreover, even if it had given up the ghost the house's thick, limestone walls would have insulated it from the heat.

The remainder of Key West was not nearly so fortunate. For example, the water was said to have been hip-deep at Mallory Square, boats were overturned at Galleon Marina, and downed trees and footloose coconuts were scattered all across the city. (See the Miami Herald, September 16, 2017, "Fears Mount in Florida Keys over Damage, Possible Deaths from Hurricane Irma.")

Electrical lines also lay on the ground, traffic signs, propane tanks, and Dumpsters littered the landscape, roofs had been blown off of houses, and numerous trailers and RV had been overturned. Generally speaking, however, those structures that had been made of concrete and wood fared considerably better than their mobile counterparts.

"The good thing is everything can be repaired," fifty-three-year-old Alex Rivero told USA Today on September 13th. (See "Damage Heavy on Key West, but Booze Still Flows.") "But it's going to take months to put back together."

As it is always the case in times of natural disasters, it was the poor throughout Key West and the remainder of the one-hundred-seventy-seven kilometer chain of islands that make up the Florida Keys that bore the brunt of Irma's rage. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 17, 2017, "Irma's Toll on Dreams," The Press of Atlantic City, September 15, 2017, "Irma Pushed Poor Closer to Ruin," and the Philadelphia Daily News, September 12, 2017, "Irma Leaving Big Messes Behind.")

Irma Tried Her Best but She Was Unable to Add to This Hallowed Ground

Evacuees were allowed to return to Key West on September 17th but they were told beforehand to bring with them food, water, medicine, and insect repellents. In addition to those spartan circumstances, some of them have been reduced to living in either their cars or sleeping in tents because of the extensive damage that was done to their houses.

Key West and Marathon high schools as well as Island Christian School and Sugarloaf School have been transformed into makeshift homeless shelters until at least September 28th when classes are scheduled to resume. At last report, curfews were in effect throughout the Keys and there was a heavy police presence in order to deter would-be looters. (See the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, September 16, 2017, "Marathon Reopens to Residents; Key West to Reopen Sunday.")

Regrettably, it has not proven possible to ascertain the fate of all the cats that were cruelly and irresponsibly left behind in Key West and throughout the Keys in order to fend for themselves. The same likewise is true for both those that are homeless as well as those that were incarcerated at shelters operated by the Florida Keys SPCA in Key West and Marathon. The city's large contingent of homeless chickens sans doute also were left to their own devices.

As far as Hemingway's cats are concerned, they are accustomed to dodging bullets. For instance, they recently survived, albeit bloodied and bruised, an almost decade long battle with the feds. (See Cat Defender posts of January 24, 2013, July 23, 2007, January 9, 2007, and August 3, 2006 entitled, respectively, "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West," "A Cat Behaviorist Is Summoned to Key West in Order to Help Determine the Fate of Hemingway's Polydactyls," "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers," and "The USDA Fines the Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for Exhibiting Papa's Polydactyl Cats Without a License.")

Last year Martha Gellhorn was jailed after she became involved in a physical altercation with a visitor to the museum. (See Cat Defender post of June 5, 2017 entitled "Martha Gellhorn Is Locked Up for Ten Days after Biting a Tourist in the Latest Calamity to Befall Ernest Hemingway's Star-Crossed Polydactyls.")

As of yesterday, the museum was still closed to the public but, according to its Facebook page, it hopes to reopen soon. In the meantime the cats are enjoying a well deserved respite from the throngs of grasping tourists who invade their cherished home every day of the week much like a horde of hungry locusts in search of a good feed.

As they have demonstrated through their ability to withstand whatever Mother Nature, the feds, and other enemies of the species are able to throw at them, the cats are true survivors in every sense of that word. If against all odds the spirit does in fact endure, Papa Hemingway surely must be extremely proud of them.

Photos: Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (house and Hairy Truman), Facebook (Grace Kelly and staffers), Trevor Hughes of USA Today (anti-looting sign), and Trip Advisor (orange cat and the museum's cemetery).

Friday, September 15, 2017

King Loui I's Days of Roaming the Perilous Streets of Aachen Come to a Sad End Shortly after He Is Diagnosed with Inoperable Throat Cancer

The Ill-Fated King Loui I with His Tracking Collar

"Er fühlt sich gerade auch gut und ist entspannt, aber das wird sich leider wieder ändern und dann werde ich ihn seine letzte Reise antreten lassen müssen, bevor er Schmerzen bekommt."
-- Nadine Biewer on August 13th

It is all over for King Loui I. The end came for the gray and brown cat on August 22nd when his owner, thirty-six-year-old Nadine Biewer, took him to an unidentified veterinarian and paid that individual to end his life.

"Manchmal muss ein König seine Krone ablegen, damit ihm Flügel wachsen konnen,!" is how that she informed the world of that heartbreaking news in an untitled article posted that same day on the Facebook site, Aachener Campuskatze. "Gute Reise, kleiner Schatz. Ich werde dich immer lieben!!!"

Over the course of the past several years, Loui had become famous around Aachen through his almost daily visits to the sprawling urban campus of Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH), the Aachener Cathedral (the Dom), its museum, Domschatzkammer, and Burgerservices am Katschhof as well as numerous businesses and cafes in the Innenstadt. He additionally had attracted a large international following online that included more than six-thousand friends on Facebook as well as hundreds of others on Instagram, Twitter, and Jodel.

Although all of that is now a thing of the past, he is destined to live on in Biewer's recently published e-book, Die Fellnasenbande. Hinter dem Gartenzaun. A print edition also is in the works and that should help even more in keeping his memory alive.

The first inkling that anything had gone awry with the intrepid moggy came out of the blue on July 20th in the form of a startling and worrying article posted on Facebook. "Loui ist sehr Krank!" Biewer wrote. "Gestern Abend mussten wir als Notfalls in die Klinik nach Brand (south Aachen), weil er ununterbrochen und sehr stark aus dem Maul geblutet hat."

While he was there the attending veterinarian, tragically, discovered a growth underneath his tongue. "Er ist aber immer noch sehr schwach und wir können noch nicht sagen, was genau dahinter steck, ob bösartig oder behandelbar," Biewer revealed in a July 24th posting on Facebook. "Das er frisst und wesentlich 'lebendiger' wirkt, lässt mich allerdings hoffen."

In addition to being very weak and bleeding from the mouth, Loui was running a temperature and had lost five pounds. The anesthesia that the veterinarian had given him prior to examining him also caused him to stop eating and that necessitated in Biewer having to hand-feed him.

In an effort to help defray some of the costs of his escalating veterinary care, an appeal was quickly established at Crowdfunding-Aktion with the goal of raising €2000. Of that total, €1940 was soon amassed and additional funds likely came in later.

Since he had so loved his freedom, Biewer some days granted Loui supervised time outside. "Wenn er möchte, darf er auch unter Aufsicht ein paar Stunden nach draußen," she disclosed in a July 28th posting. "Alles was ihm Freude macht, ist erlaubt."

Loui and Nadine Biewer

On August 1st, Loui observed his seventh and last birthday but the occasion far more resembled a wake than it did a celebration. Although by that time his strength had all but dissipated, Biewer nonetheless took him over to RWTH for one last, brief visit.

"Aber der Seele hat es gutgetan und Loui hat die Sonne genossen," she later told the Aachener Zeitung on August 14th. (See "Der RWTH-Campus leidet mit 'seinem' Kater King Loui I.")

The worst was still yet to come, however, and it did not take it long to arrive. "Ich würde so gerne etwas positives berichten können, aber das kann ich leider nicht," Biewer mournfully acknowledged in an August 7th posting. "Louis Blutwerte sind so katastrophal, dass es schon an ein Wunder grenzt dass er überhaupt noch lebt."

Although weak and steadily losing ground, he bravely soldiered on as best he could until at last a visit to yet still another veterinarian, this one located in Mönchengladbach, sixty-five kilometers north of Aachen, confirmed what Biewer and his legions of fans around the world had long suspected and feared. "Trotz all der Bemühungen in den latzten Wochen wird es keine Heilung für Loui geben," Biewer revealed in an August 13th posting on Facebook. "Krebs ist einfach ein Arschloch!!"

Loui was administered a painkiller and then sent home to spend some time with Biewer and her other resident feline, Mia. "Er hat jetzt nochmal ein Cortison gespritzt bekommen, damit er sich gut fühlt und seine letzten Tage zuhause ohne Schmerzen verbringen kann," Biewer continued in the August 13th posting.

She did not, however, have any intention of allowing him to die a natural death. "Er fühlt sich gerade auch gut und ist entspannt, aber das wird sich leider wieder ändern und dann werde ich ihn seine letzte Reise antreten lassen müssen, bevor er Schmerzen bekommt," she vowed.

Even though her palaver about a "letzte Reise" sounds much more like something that would have come out of the maw of a gangster than that of a devoted cat owner, she nevertheless insisted that she was going to find it difficult to go on without him. "Ich weiß gar nicht was ich noch schreiben soll, es zerreißt mir einfach das Herz und ich kann mir ein Leben ohne ihn einfach nicht vorstellen," she concluded on August 13th.

Nothing has been disclosed concerning Loui's last days so it is impossible to speculate upon either how much discomfort he was in or how much longer he could have held out had be been treated and made comfortable. It has not even been revealed which of the many veterinarians that treated him actually committed the foul deed.

The only thing that is known for certain is that his corpse was afterwards burned to ashes. What ultimately became of them is anyone's guess.

Loui Spent Most of His Life All Alone on the Street

Despite hiring an unscrupulous veterinarian to kill off her cat, Biewer to this day is still professing her undying love for him. "Loui hat sein Leben, auch wenn es viel zu kurz war, in vollen Zügen genossen und werde von der ersten bis zur letzten Sekunde geliebt," she wrote September 2nd on Facebook. "Dieses Glück sollte jedem Tier gewährt werden!"

In addition to the patented immorality of robbing a cat of so much as one second of its all-too-brief life, Biewer's guardianship of Loui left much to be desired and that is putting the case rather mildly to say the least. In particular, each day she would carry him downstairs from her upstairs apartment at 20 Annuntiaten and transport him three-hundred-eighty-two yards or so to RWTH where she would dump him.

He therefore was left to his own devices until she picked him up again in the evening and brought him home. In order to facilitate relocating him, she forced him to wear a bulky tracking collar but even in doing so she had difficulty keeping batteries in it.

It has been argued before but it must never be forgotten that technology does not protect cats. In fact, a reliance upon implanted microchips, tracking collars, and surveillance cameras can be detrimental to their welfare. (See Cat Defender posts of January 24, 2017, June 11, 2017, and February 22, 2017 entitled, respectively, "Tigger Is Finally Reunited with His Family Despite the Best Efforts of the Administrators of a Microchip Database to Keep Them Apart," "Katzen-Kameras Are Not Only Cruel and Inhumane but Represent an Assault Upon Cats' Liberties and Privacy," and "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.")

Loui accordingly was left to the mercy of motorists, dogs, thieves, and all sorts of abusers. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2017 entitled "A Death Watch Has Begun for King Loui I Who Has Been Abandoned to Wander the Dangerous Streets of Aachen by His Derelict Owner and the Ingrates at RWTH.")

Biewer deliberately chose that heartless course of action so that she could gather material in order to both augment her presence online as well as to write her book. For whatever it is worth, she nonetheless would have the world to believe that her abject neglect of Loui was all his idea.

"Ich habe die ganze Aufmerksamkeit nie beabsichtigt oder geplant," she averred to the Aachener Zeiting on May 27th. (See "Campuskater King Loui I stellt die Stadt auf den Kopf.") "Loui liebt einfach die Menschen, und die Menschen lieben ihn."

Even though she had collected enough material for several more books, even that did not tempt her to bring Loui home. "Stoff für viele weitere Abenteuer der Fellnasenbande habe ich jedenfalls mehr als genug," she candidly admitted to the Aachener Zeitung on May 27th.

A good case therefore could be made that the type of love that Biewer harbored in her bosom for Loui was of the distant and frosty kind that would have given any cat a bad case of the shivers even on a hot summer's day. Moreover, the picture of her that emerges from her online presence is that of an ambitious young woman who cares considerably more about gassing on social media and taking in Aachen's vibrant club scene than she ever did about Loui.

Loui Attends Class at RWTH but Doing So Was a Waste of His Time

Although the likes of PETA, shelter operators, and veterinarians would sans doute wholeheartedly endorse her killing off of Loui, it is an abuse of language to label such a heinous act as an expression of love. Im Gegenteil, what members of the species so direly need are responsible and attentive owners who are knowledgeable about the perils that they face in this world and, above, possess an abiding respect for their right to life.

The utterly worthless sods at RWTH were likewise willing participants in her abject neglect and naked exploitation of Loui. Most revealing of all, their slightly premature eulogy of him demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are so self-absorbed and egotistical as to be thoroughly incapable of having any genuine regard for another living being.

"Für den Campuskater und seine Besitzerin tun uns die gesundheitlichen Entwicklungen sehr leid," Julie Goths of the Allgemeine Studierendenausschuss (AStA), a student organization, told the Aachener Zeitung in the August 14th article cited supra. "Vor allem die Fachschaften rund um das Kármán-Auditorium hatten mit King Loui einen treuen Begleiter, der immer wieder für Freude gesorgt hat. In den letzten Jahres ist er zu einer kleinen Ikone des Aachener Studi-Lebens geworden."

Earlier this summer the former president of Penn State University in College Station, Graham Spanier, was sentenced to two months in jail for turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of minors on campus. "He was a complete and utter failure as a leader when it mattered most," prosecuting attorney Laura Ditka told The Washington Post on June 2nd. (See "Former Penn State President Graham Spanier Sentenced to Jail for Child Endangerment in Jerry Sandusky Abuse Case.")

The abject failure of RWTH's almost forty-five-thousand students, nearly six-thousand professors, and more than thirty-three-hundred administrators to have taken concrete steps in order to have safeguarded Loui's fragile life was a far worse offense and yet none of them have been held accountable under the law. Perhaps if rector Ernst M. Schmachtenberg were given a year in jail for malfeasance that might in the future serve to make him a little bit more cognizant of animal welfare issues.

The school also likes to think of itself as being on the cutting edge of technology and even has adopted Zukunft denken as its high-falutin motto, but when it comes to its mistreatment and naked exploitation of Loui, and presumably other cats as well, its thinking is strictly a product of the Stone Age.

In Deutschland verstehe man Hochschulbildung als "ein öffentliches Gut, eine Ausbildung von Fachkräften, vor der auch die öffentlichkeit profitiert," Brigitte Göbbels-Dreyling of Hochschulrektorenkonferez of Bonn bragged to Deutsche Welle of Köln on February 24th. (See "Ranking bestimmt Attraktivität deutscher Unis.") Im angelsächsischen Raum sehe man dagegen "eher die Vorteile, die der Einzelne daraus zieht, etwa bessere Berufsaussichten und ein höheres Einkommen."

Whereas it is readily conceded that American universities are thoroughly incapable of churning out anything other than capitalists, militarists, propagandists, crooked politicians, and other assorted low-life, their German counterparts are not necessarily any great shakes. In particular, when it comes to how that they defame, abuse, and exploit cats their ranks are comprised almost entirely of moral and intellectual retards.

Loui Sick and Not Eating

The cause of chrondrosarcoma in cats is unknown although some veterinarians suspect that there could be a connection between it and the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), the Feline Immunosuppressant Virus (FIV), and long-term exposure to cigarette smoke. (See Pet MD, undated article entitled "Throat Cancer (Chrondrosarcoma) in Cats" and Vetary.com, undated article entitled "Throat Cancer in Cats.")

Presumably, Loui was vaccinated against both FeLV and FIV so that would tend to eliminate them as the culprits. Since it is not known if Biewer is a smoker or if such activity is permitted in the classrooms at RWTH that Loui used to frequent, it is impossible to pass judgement on tobacco as the possible cause of Loui's cancer.

The most obvious culprit is all the garbage that students and others at RWTH fed him. It is not known how long that Loui had been hanging out at RWTH but since the Aachener Campuskatze Facebook page has been up and running since 2010, the implication is that he spent a lion's share of his adult life on campus. Of course, it is entirely possible that Biewer has had other cats that she purposefully dumped at RWTH long before Loui ever arrived on the scene.

She most assuredly was well aware that the fare he was being fed at RWTH and elsewhere around town was injurious to his health. For example, she wrote in a May 29th post on Facebook that he had been sickened by eating Dönerkebab und Eis.

Later in a June 21st posting she disclosed that she had been forced to take him to a veterinarian in Kornelimünster-Walheim, located in the southern most district of the city, after he once again had been sickened after consuming an unidentified substance. Based upon those two bits of anecdotal evidence, it is entirely possible that he had been sickened numerous times over the years after consuming scraps and garbage tossed his way by the students at RWTH, the holy men at the Dom, and others.

Regardless of the exact number of times that Loui had suffered food poisoning, the failure of the attending veterinarians to have spotted the cancerous growth underneath his tongue following the poisonings in May and June is totally inexcusable and constitutes gross veterinary negligence. The most logical conclusion to be drawn from such incompetence is that the practice of veterinary medicine in Deutschland is every bit as much of a slipshod and mercenary affair as it is in both England and the Vereingten Staaten.

Given that a chrondrosarcoma can metastasize extremely rapidly, it may already have been too late in order to have saved Loui's life even if the malignancy had been found and diagnosed back in May. On the other hand, it still might have been possible at that time to have surgically removed the tumor and extended his life indefinitely.

As is the case with almost everything else in this world, it is extremely difficult to establish causality in medicine. For instance, in Loui's case his recent bouts of food poisoning could have been brought on by the presence of the tumor as opposed to vice versa.

What Will Be Mia's Schicksal?

Be that as it may, Lou's life, times, and death bear a striking resemblance to those of a fifteen-year-old ginger-colored tom named Dodger from Bridport in Dorset. Diagnosed to be suffering from a leiomyosarcoma in December of 2011, he was killed off by his owner, forty-six-year-old Fee Jeanes, in early February of the following year.

As Biewer later did with Loui, Jeanes had dumped Dodger in the street and that led to him being forced into spending the vast majority of his days and nights either at the bus station in Bridport or aboard one of First Bus's motor coaches. He accordingly was left to scrounge around for his daily bread.

"He loves it there (the bus station) because there are lots of people around and they all drop their sandwiches and pork pies," Jeanes disclosed in December of 2011. (See Cat Defender posts of January 25, 2012 and August 27, 2014 entitled, respectively, "The Innocence of the Lambs: Unaware of the Dangers That Threaten His Very Existence, Dodger Charms Commuters on the Bridport to Charmouth Line" and "After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner.")

Once again, there is not so much as an iota of proof that Dodger's poor diet led to the onset of stomach cancer but at the same time that does not preclude such a possibility. It nevertheless is irrefutable that cats should not be left to scavenge for their food and that is especially the case with those that reside in urban environments and are thus forced to rely upon garbage and scraps tossed their way in order to survive.

Even those that live in the wild and subsist upon whatever live prey that they are able to snare are still susceptible to either intentionally or accidentally ingesting d-CON, antifreeze, and other toxins. Plus, most of them sooner or later either starve or freeze to death during the wintertime.

It thus is axiomatic that anyone who gives so much as a hoot about the welfare of a cat is not about to entrust its sustenance to perfect strangers. That in turn leads to the supposition that both Biewer and Jeanes very well could have killed their cats through their unwillingness to take responsibility for what was fed to them.

There also is another rather revealing parallel between the two derelict owners in that it was precisely Jeanes who first contacted the media regarding Dodger's exploits. As far as it is known, however, he died long before she was able to capitalize upon his newfound notoriety.

Despite her declaration that she was going to find it difficult in order to go on without him, Biewer seems to not only have gotten over Loui's death rather quickly but is every bit as busy as bee these days. First of all, she immediately pledged to donate any funds left over from his care to the Aachener Tierheim und Tierschutzverein at Feldchen 26 and other unspecified charities devoted to the care and protection of animals.

As commendable as that was, she might have been better off holding on to those funds in that she almost immediately went back online begging for more money. The first object of her desires is to commission the chiseling out of a small bronze statue of Loui because he "vielen Menschen Hoffnung gegeben und ein Lächeln aufs Gesicht gezaubert hat," she told the Aachener Zeitung on August 23rd. (See "Treuer Begleiter: Studenten trauern um King Loui I.")

Loui Was Always the Deer in the Headlights

Her second project was to quickly establish the Vereingründung King Loui und Freunde which is designed to provide care and new homes for cats that need them as well as to sterilize those that are homeless. As of September 14th, the charity had collected €295 from fourteen donors and contributions can be made to it at www.leetchi.com/c/kingloui.

"Loui hat das geschafft, wovon korrupte Politiker nur reden können -- Menschen vereint. Menschen aller Nationalitäten und Religionen, weil er jedem unvoreingenommenen und voller Liebe entgegen getreten ist," she wrote September 2nd on Facebook. "Es wäre ihm nur gerecht, wenn man diese Liebe auch anderen Tieren zukommen lässt, die ein ähnliches Schicksal wie er und Mia hinter sich haben."

Quite understandably, it is now Mia, as opposed to Loui, who is the main focus of her life these days and the shy, brown female appears to be reveling in the attentions that are being lavished upon her. "Die Prinzessin vermisst ihren großen Freund zwar schon, aber feiert in erster Linie ihre neu gewonnene Freiheit," Biewer wrote August 28th on Facebook. "Loui ist ihr gegenüber doch reicht dominant gewesen und jetzt ist sie halt der Chef im Haus."

That last statement is a little bit difficult to believe considering that Loui was so seldom home. It also is disturbing that Biewer has tried out a red collar on Mia because that could imply that she is contemplating turning her loose in the street as a replacement for Loui.

The recent arrival of a pet stroller from a friend in London hopefully has put those plans on hold. That is especially the case given that the streets of the Innenstadt are too clogged with vehicular traffic to make it healthy for any cat to roam without a chaperon. That is especially the case given that even bicyclists and pedestrians are being run down on an almost daily basis.

There is not any point in searching for heroes in this tragic tale because there are none to be found anywhere. If there had been any Loui, quite obviously, would still be alive today. Rather, the dramatis personae is comprised solely of a thoroughly reprehensible aggregate of naked exploiters of cats.

In following Loui's trials and tribulations over the course of the past few months he always has appeared to be much like a frightened deer in the headlights of an oncoming motorist, never knowing quite which way to turn. Regrettably, no knight in shining armor ever came to his rescue and, with the deck stacked so heavily against him, it was only a matter of time until he met his Waterloo in one form or another.

That is all water underneath the bridge now and there is absolutely nothing that can be done in order to either rectify the wrongs that were done to him or to bring him back. He is gone and it is forever.

This wicked and uncaring world keeps right on turning, however, and life goes on, at least for those who still have the stomach for it. The chief characteristic of any halfway intelligent individual is a willingness to learn from past mistakes but in this instance it most definitely cannot be said that either Biewer or RWTH have learned anything worthwile from what they did to Loui. It therefore is their destiny to continue to perpetrate the same outrageous offenses against other cats in the future just as they have done against Loui.

Photos: Katharina Menne of the Aachener Zeitung (Loui with a tracking collar and with Biewer),  Facebook (Loui in the street, in bed, and looking scared), and RWTH (Loui in class).

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Written Off More Than Once as Being All but Finished, Frank Is Living Proof That Old Cats Not Only Have Value but Considerably More Life Left in Them Than Most People Are Willing to Acknowledge

Frank Contemplates Doing a Little Web Surfing

"He isn't any inconvenience but a living, breathing creature."
-- Luke Turner

Frank was in sad shape and it showed. The fifteen-year-old ginger and white tom was so famished and exhausted that he had collapsed in a garden on Dewsbury Road in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

He also was bleeding from his head on that fateful day in late November of last year and that in turn led those who had found him to initially believe that he had been mowed down by a hit-and-run motorist. Mercifully, that turned out not to have been the case. As for the injury itself, it apparently was not too serious even if its nature and how that he sustained it remain mysteries.

Since he was neither wearing a collar nor microchipped, that made attempting to return him to his previous owner pretty much out of the question. Luckily for him, however, Barbara Brotherton of Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley, forty-seven kilometers northwest of Wakefield, compassionately consented to allow him to stay at her house for a few days.

"This old cat was completely exhausted and emaciated," she later told the Yorkshire Evening Post of Leeds on January 27th of this year. (See "Yorkshire Cat Rescue Rehome (sic) Stray Who's Suffering from Terminal Cancer.") "The vet suggested that I simply made him as comfortable as possible but I decided to go a bit further."

The reason that the practitioner had so precipitately thrown in the towel on Frank is attributable to the fact that while examining him inoperable tumors had been found on both of his ears. Even if that did mean that his days were numbered, Brotherton nonetheless was determined to make them a good deal more than just comfortable.

"Three mashed-up tins of cat food, a warm wash and a bed bath later, and this poor lad was all purrs," she testified to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Frank spent six days with her and her husband and their fourteen-year-old Alsatian, Mortimer, before he was transferred to YCR's shelter. "To say it was a pleasure to have known him is an understatement," she afterwards declared to the Yorkshire Evening Post. "He is a wonderful old gentleman who must once have been much loved by someone."

Like everyone else who eventually came to know him over the course of the days and weeks that followed she was perplexed as to how a cat of his caliber could have fallen upon such hard times. "How he ended up like this is anyone's guess," she threw up her hands in exasperation.

Although most any type of mischief, no matter how diabolical, is entirely possible when it comes to cats, the most likely explanation is that his former owner either died unexpectedly or deliberately abandoned him for some unknown reason. Usually incidents of this nature do not end well for elderly cats but in Frank's case he was blessed with the good fortune of having Brotherton to enter his life at his hour or greatest need.

At YCR, he immediately was placed on a regimen of antibiotics and painkillers as well as treated for worms and fleas. As it had been the case with Brotherton, it did not take the staff long to become impressed with Frank's perseverance.

"Poor old Frank had had a tough life," the charity's shelter manager Sam Davies averred to the Yorkshire Evening Post. "We don't know where it began, and for how long he has lived as a stray, but it's certain at his age he was finding it too tough living on the street."

Frank Relaxing

That observation is certainly true enough in that if Brotherton had not taken him in his life very well could have ended in that garden in Wakefield. Regardless of all the deprivations and cruelties that he had been subjected to, Frank's kind and forgiving nature also was still very much apparent for one and all to behold.

"Despite it all, he is one of the most loving cats we have ever seen," Davies marveled to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

None of that, however, immediately translated into securing him a new home given that individuals who are willing to take on the awesome responsibility of caring for an elderly and ailing cat are about as rare as hens' teeth. Even YCR's generous offer to foot the bill for his continued veterinary care failed to attract any suitors.

As a consequence, Frank was forced into remaining at YCR until late January when magnanimous Luke Turner of Halifax, twenty kilometers south of Keighley, learned of his desperate plight and decided to do something about it. "When I heard Frank needed a home, I just had to volunteer," he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. "This is a cat who probably doesn't have long to live. How can you not step up and give him that final bit of comfort?"

Sadly, there are not too many individuals in this world who choose to look at the matter from that perspective. Besides, old and ailing cats do require specialized care but Turner, far from viewing that as an added burden, takes pleasure in attending to Frank's minimalist needs.

"Right now, he is very weak; an old man who has had one hell of a life," he conceded to the Yorkshire Evening Post. "So we carry him up and down the stairs and do our best to spoil him."

Perhaps it is attributable to all the months and, possibly, years of neglect but Frank particularly enjoys having someone to look after his skin and fur. "Frank loves a good scratch -- so much that the starts to dribble when he begins to purr," Turner added.

Best of all, Frank appears to finally have found not only a loving but a forever home. "We won't put him through another change of home; this is where he belongs now," Turner declared to the Yorkshire Evening Post. "He isn't any inconvenience but a living, breathing creature."

Such an enlightened and compassionate philosophy is refreshing and that is especially the case when viewed against the backdrop of the millions of cats that shelters, veterinarians, ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and PETA slaughter each year not only without so much as a second thought but with glee to boot.

The same can be said for the fine work that is being done by YCR. "I do admire YCR for stepping in and saving this old boy, even with limited funds and resources," Turner concluded.

Through its work in saving cats like Frank and Harvey, YCR is demonstrating conclusively that not only old cats but even those with medical problems are worth saving. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2017 entitled "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.")

Frank in His New Home Back in April

Half a world away in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Tiny Kittens is likewise demonstrating through its rescue of Grandpa Mason and countless other felines that the only morally acceptable way of treating old and sickly cats is to provide them with shelter, food, veterinary care and, above all, to allow them to finish out their terribly brief stays upon this earth. (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 Than Gold Itself.")

The emergence of YCR and Tiny Kittens into the vanguard of the feline right to life movement is an important step forward but much more work remains to be done. First of all, the cult of death that is being so profusely propagated by the cat thieves and killers at PETA, The Washington Post, and others must be strenuously opposed at every turn. (See Cat Defender posts of August 24, 2017 and September 30, 2005 entitled, respectively, "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 Out the Champagne" and "The Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Exterminate Cats and Dogs.")

Secondly, nothing short of an across the board ban on the killing of all cats by shelters and veterinarians will ever suffice. "If a child is in a situation where the parents can no longer care for that child whether the parents have financial issues, mental health issues, or they die, the government steps in and the state supports that child," Camille Labchuk of Animal Justice of Toronto explained the obvious to the CBC on May 22nd. (See "Advocates Calling to End Euthanasia of Healthy Pets for Owners' Convenience.") "Why we wouldn't do the same thing for vulnerable animals is beyond me."

Owners likewise need to realize that caring for a cat is a lifetime commitment and that most definitely entails during both sickness and old age. Yet, Compassion Understood of Rugby in Warwickshire and its allies within the veterinary medical establishment are laboring hard in order to try and convince the public that killing cats and other animals is of no more moral consequence than tossing a pair of worn-out shoes into the trash.

The goal of this morally bankrupt organization is to make the killing of "a pet as smooth and stress-free as possible" for both owners and veterinarians. Consequently, the organization has absolutely no regard for the rights, feelings, and desires of its legions of innocent victims.

Much more to the point, the snuffing out of any life should be anything but "smooth and stress-free;" au contraire, it should be deeply troubling even under those circumstances, such as in wartime, when it is, largely, unavoidable. (See Your Cat Magazine of Grantham in Lincolnshire, April 21, 2016, "Online End-of-Life Training for Vet Practices Launched.")

Every bit as difficult as convincing owners not to kill off their old, sickly, and simply no longer wanted cats, is the herculean task of persuading them to adopt cats like Frank, Harvey, and Grandpa Mason. In that respect, perhaps the best argument against such an ingrained prejudice is that individuals who turn up their long schnozes at such cats do not know what they are missing.

As far as Frank is concerned, for example, neither YCR nor Turner expected him to be around for much longer. Their goal accordingly was primarily to provide him with a place in which to die.

A warm and secure home, good quality food, topnotch veterinary care, and tons of love and attention can work wonders for cats who appear to have one paw in the grave and the other one on a banana peeling. In Frank's case, the tumors on his ears later were diagnosed to be benign and at last report he was still very much alive.

"Happy, relaxed and much loved in his new home!" is how that YCR described him in an untitled article posted April 5th on its Facebook page. "Again, this is what we want for all the cats in our care."

There accordingly are plenty of kudos to go all around. "Yay for Frank and yay for his new family that didn't hesitate to take in an older cat," the article concludes and no one ever could say it any better than that.

Photos: Yorkshire Cat Rescue.