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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, February 02, 2018

An Ailing and Cash-Strapped Widow Is Fighting a Lonely and Uphill Battle in Order to Save Not Only Herself but also Her Sixty-Five Cats

Hamide Boran with a Few of Her Cats

"I can starve, but my cats must have full stomachs."
-- Hamide Boran

In a detached two-story house in the city of Yalova, ninety-four kilometers south of Istanbul on the Sea of Marmora, a fifty-two-year-old widow by the name of Hamide Boran is waging a valiant and lonely battle against Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and diabetes. Should she ultimately lose that fight, it likely also is going to mean curtains for the sixty-five cats that live with her.

Even though her attending physician has advised her to get rid of them, that is something that she is totally unwilling to even so much as contemplate. "I sleep with my cats," she informed the Hürriyet Daily News on January 25th. (See "Kitty Kingdom: Woman in Northwest Turkey Keeps House with Dozens of Cats.") "I can starve, but my cats must have full stomachs."

As if her health woes were not enough of a burden for her to bear, she also is rather poor in that as a retired cleaning woman she is expected to scrimp by on a monthly pension of only three-hundred-fifty Turkish liras (US$93). Fortunately, her sons help her out with the rent as well as the food that both she and her cats require.

Six years ago, she lost her husband to a brain tumor and since then the cats have been pretty much her sole companions. Press reports have not disclosed how it was that she came to have so many of them, but it is known that she and her husband did care for at least one cat before he died.

"A cat was resting on his arm when he passed away," she told the Hürriyet Daily News. "We couldn't get it to move."

She furthermore avers that the unidentified feline subsequently died after refusing to eat and drink anything for three months. Quite obviously, something has been lost in the translation from Turkish into English because a cat that refuses to at least drink can die within as short a time span as two days.

Even so, that is not any reason to doubt that the cat was indeed grievously affected by the man's death. For example, after seventy-one-year-old Renzo Iozzelli of Montagnana in the Italian province of Padova passed away on September 22, 2011 his three-year-old gray and white resident feline, Toldo, categorically refused to accept the fact that he was gone for good.

As a consequence, after following Iozzelli's coffin to the cemetery on the day of his burial he afterwards began visiting his caretaker's grave on a daily basis. In addition to standing vigil over it, he also on those occasions would bring along with him small tokens of his enduring affection, such as sticks, leaves, twigs, plastic cups, and paper towels.

"Mio marito era molto affettuoso con lui. Renzo amava gli animali," Iozzelli's widow, Ada, said at that time. "È quasi come se Toldo volesse essergli riconoscente. È un gatto speciale, non si può che volergli bene." (See Cat Defender post of March 28, 2013 entitled "Even the Finality of the Grave Fails to Diminish Toldo's Abiding Love and Affection for His Long Dead Guardian.")

In May of 2013, a ten-year-old tuxedo named Ian from Birmingham was found curled up beside the lifeless body of his unidentified guardian in a house on Knightwick Crescent. It never was disclosed how long that the pensioner had been dead or for what length of time that Ian had been forced to go without food and water.

Like Toldo, he too had refused to leave the side of his deceased owner. "The circumstances were very sad and it must have been awful for the cat," Sheila Pennell of Cats Protection said after Ian's rescue and eventual rehoming. "He was trapped indoors wondering why his owner wouldn't wake up, feed him or let him out." (See Cat Defender post of July 27, 2013 entitled "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death.")

In Boran's case, there seems to be little doubt that she cares deeply about her cats. "They are my sweethearts, my everything," she declared to the Hürriyet Daily News. "I love them like my own children."

Even so, that is not necessarily the most important consideration. Rather, it is the health and well-being of the cats that should be paramount.

In particular, it often is difficult in cases of this sort to determine exactly where love leaves off and need takes over as the dominant motivation and that is especially the case with socially isolated and lonely individuals. As Paul McCartney so poignantly lamented in his composition, "Eleanor Rigby:"

"All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?"

Moreover, in those instances where need has been judged, correctly or incorrectly, to hold sway, individuals such as Boran have been accused of being hoarders and, sometimes, even arrested. (See Cat Defender posts of July 21, 2005, August 13, 2005, December 23, 2005, and March 29, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Northern Virginia Woman Caught Hoarding 575 Cats," "Virginia Woman Caught Hoarding 105 Cats; Montana Woman Discovered with 75 Cats and 14 Dogs," "Virginia Cat Hoarder Who Killed 221 Cats and Kept Another 354 in Abominable Conditions Gets Off with a $500 Fine," and "Famed Manhattan Cat Hoarder Marlene Kess Gets Off with a Fine and Community Service.")

Fortunately for her, officials in Turkey view matters of this sort rather differently than do their counterparts in the United States and as a consequence it does not appear that she is going to be subjected to any legal reprisals. That in no way alters the disturbing reality that she sorely lacks the prerequisite wherewithal in order to properly care for that many felines.

Specifically, she has publicly admitted that some of her charges are suffering from cancer whereas others are paralyzed and even some of them are blind. Whereas it undoubtedly would require a princely sum in order to alleviate the plight of those seriously ill felines, many more of them likely are afflicted with ailments that could be either warded off or remedied with a modest investment in the veterinary care that she, quite obviously, is unable to afford.

First of all, many if not all of them need to be sterilized so as to not only put an end to their uncontrolled breeding but also to forestall the birth of stillborn and sickly kittens. All of them additionally need to be vaccinated against at least the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

Press reports have not delved into what she feeds them, but they need good-quality cat food and clean water as opposed to a steady diet of table scraps and rain water. Although Boran reportedly cleans up after them whenever they foul her neighbors' yards, the sanitary conditions that prevail inside her house are a far more important consideration.

If she is physically able and willing to blanket the premises with dozens of litter boxes that she religiously empties each day, she just might be able to maintain a satisfactory level of sanitation. Even in adopting such an expedient it would still be mandatory for her to thoroughly clean up after those cats that eliminate outside their boxes.

Any way that the situation is analyzed, caring for that many cats would be a herculean job for even a healthy individual with moola to burn. That in turn segues into the much more pressing dilemma of what is going to happen to them once she is no longer capable of taking care of them or, worst still, follows in the footsteps of Iozzelli and Ian's guardian.

On the one hand it seems a bit much to expect a sickly and impoverished woman to put the welfare of her cats above her own but that nevertheless is something that she needs to at least consider. That is especially the case in that it is highly unlikely that her sons are going to be willing to take care of them after she is gone.

Without knowing what, if any, animal protection charities exist in Yalova, it is difficult to say what The Fates have in store for them but it is at least even odds that are going to be cast out into the street in order to either sink or swim on their own. As the highly acclaimed film Kedi has made plain, thousands of them have been cruelly abandoned to roam the streets of Istanbul and the same deplorable situation likely exists in Yalova and throughout the remainder of Turkey.

Those cats that survive Boran therefore may be able to occasionally find sympathetic souls who will be willing to toss them scraps of fish from time to time but that would appear to be about the extent of the succor that they can expect from the public.

To their credit, the Turks do not round up and systematically murder every homeless cat that they get their hands on like their American counterparts. Nevertheless, their policy of benign neglect whereby they deprive them of safety, homes, veterinary care, and proper diets is almost as abhorrent.

The manner in which cats are mistreated in both Turkey and the United States is all the more shameful in that the solution to this problem is so simple. Most pressing of all, Americans need to fire their Animal Control officers and to shutter their feline extermination camps.

Secondly, both nations need to implement an across-the-board TNR policy whereby all homeless cats are sterilized and supplied with veterinary care, outside shelters, and food and water. Even in doing that much, TNR still has two major shortcomings.

First of all, those cats that belong to managed colonies need to be provided with around-the-clock security. The United States in particular is too chock-full of criminal ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and other low-life scumbags to leave cats unattended and unprotected. (See Cat Defender post of August 24, 2017 entitled "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.")

Secondly, TNR never should be viewed as an end in itself. Rather, the caretakers of these colonies need to go the extra mile for their charges by securing permanent homes for them.

The game is afoot and those individuals and groups who care deeply about cats need to act with alacrity. That is due not only to the machinations of the species' sworn enemies but also because climate change is accelerating at a rapid pace and that in turn is imperiling the continued existence of such colonies.

Life is unquestionably the greatest of all gifts but even it requires a host of support systems and favorable circumstances that the Turkish people are totally unwilling to bestow upon their long suffering and hideously neglected cats. With that being the case, those that belong to Boran are, barring a miracle, living on borrowed time.

Photo: the Hürriyet Daily News.