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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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Life, Times, and Tragic Demise of a Supermarket Cat: Brutus of Morrisons, 2009-2017

Long Suffering and Sorely Neglected Brutus Had a Hard and Lonely Life

"Each time I go to Morrisons my heart sinks when I think that I'll never see him laid on the bench, sleeping in the flower pots or curled up camouflaged in the bark outside again. Now his bronze is finished, we can all look forward to seeing him again every time we do our shopping."
-- absentee owner Claire Owens

From womb to tomb, Brutus' ultra-short and troubled life followed an all-too-familiar pattern of multiple abandonments, abject neglect, naked economical exploitation, and violence. Cementing it all together was a steady stream of outrageous lies that even to this very day continue to enjoy a robust existence. Mark Twain perhaps said it best in his 1894 novel Pudd'nhead Wilson when he astutely observed that "the principal difference between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives."

To begin at the beginning, Brutus entered this world in early 2009 but exactly where it all began for him is anyone's guess. In fact, it is not even known if he was born in a house to a family who soon thereafter cruelly abandoned him or if he began his sojourn upon this earth as a homeless waif. As if either of those two dreadful scenarios would not have been daunting enough in their own right, he soon became separated from his mother and littermates and found himself all alone in a world that even on its most halcyonian days can only be described as being extremely hostile to all members of his species.

It accordingly was anything but surprising that by the time that he had reached the tender age of six months that his existence and vulnerability had come to the attention of a group of juvenile monsters who, upon laying eyes upon him, decided on the spot that he would make a jim-dandy football. Given the prodigiousness of the crimes that they not only commit against kittens and cats but, every bit as importantly, with impunity, it was something of a minor miracle that he had been able to elude their clutches for so long.

Although the human race is largely comprised of cutthroats and evildoers there are nevertheless a tiny handful of halfway decent individuals who still recognize a substantial difference between right and wrong and one of them magnanimously intervened on Brutus' behalf and not only rescued him from the thugs but transported him to an unidentified surgery in Knutsford, sixty kilometers southeast of Saltney in Cheshire, for treatment.

Neither the extent of his injuries nor what, if any, lasting effect that they may have had on his health have been disclosed. Suffice it to say that he was held at the surgery for seven days and after no one came forward in order to reclaim him he was adopted by veterinary nurse Claire Owens who took him home to live with her and her husband, Adam, on High Street in Saltney.

Regrettably, not much changed in Brutus' life in that it did not take Owens long in order to demonstrate that she was the epitome of an absentee owner. She did so by cruelly and irresponsibly condemning him to spend the remainder of his days living on the mean streets of Saltney.

He almost immediately took up residence across the street although what initially attracted him to that particular spot is not known. On August 30, 2010, however, Morrisons opened a supermarket there and that became Brutus' de facto home from that day forward.

It Once Was Feared That a Motorist Had Killed Mango 

In particular, since the store is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays he would show up well before the doors were unlocked and remain there until after closing. He, presumably, followed an abbreviated regimen on Sundays when the store is only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Aside from occasionally returning home for an odd meal during the daytime, Brutus only saw Owens on those occasions when he came home to sleep and it has not been divulged how often that he did even that. As far as it is known, the only proactive measure that she undertook in order to provide for his safety and security was to outfit him with a collar and a tag that was linked up to a recorded telephone message.

"Thanks for calling about Brutus. I assume you found him in Morrisons' car park and are concerned that he may be lost. He actually goes to Morrisons every day as I only live across the road and he goes under the bridge and across the stream, so he's unlikely to cross the road," the telephone message declared. "He will make his own way back home later. I really do appreciate your call and the fact that you care so thanks."

It thus would seem fair to conclude that if she had cared even the tiniest bit about his welfare that the least she could have done would have been to have answered her telephone. As any fool knows only too well, time is of the essence when it comes to saving the life of a cat in extremis and owners who selfishly insist upon living their lives in incommunicado are of absolutely no use under such circumstances.

For example in January of 2015, it was reported that a gray cat with black stripes known as Mango had been run down and killed by a motorist in the parking lot of a Tesco's in Tiverton, Dover. That allegedly transpired after staffers at the supermarket giant abruptly reversed course after having allowed him to come inside for four years and brusquely threw him out in the cold rain.

"I'm literally running around the streets looking for him crying my eyes out," his thirty-one-year owner, Kimberly Sheppard, told the Daily Mail on January 20, 2015. (See "Is Mango the Cat Dead?") "It isn't unusual for him to go for a day or two but he ain't come home so (I) am getting really worried. I just (have) seen two coppers (and) they are getting a look out."

Fortunately, that particular rumor ultimately proved to have been unfounded but, despite her protestations of love, it did not prompt Sheppard to mend her callous and irresponsible ways. For instance, Mango has gone AWOL several times since then including once in February of 2017. (See Radio Exe of Exeter, March 7, 2017, "Tiverton Tesco Cat Makes a Return.")

Fudge of Tesco's in Dumfries Was Once Kidnapped

He did not stay out of harm's way for very long, however, in that he was reported missing again in August of that same year. "Hi all. I have returned safe and sound...Hopefully this is the last time I go on my wanders," he announced August 29, 2017 on the Facebook page entitled "Mango the Tiverton Tesco Cat."

Later in October of that same year a painting of him by artist Rob Martin was unveiled by Tiverton Mayor Wally Burke. (See YouTube video, October 6, 2017, "Mango the Tiverton Tesco Cat Painting Unveiled.")

By April of 2018 Mango reportedly was back at Tesco's. (See The Mirror of London, April 21, 2018, "Man Spots Cat 'For Sale' in Tesco -- Turns Out to Be Famous Moggie.")

In addition to the perils posed by motorists, Brutus easily could have been kidnapped. That is precisely what happened to a nine-year-old gray female with black stripes named Fudge in 2014 while she was hanging out at Tesco's in Dumfries, one-hundred-twenty-seven kilometers south of Edinburgh in the Southern Uplands.

She later was found in a garden and her abductor was banned from the store. (See Deadline News of Edinburgh, November 18, 2016, "Facebook Fight Erupts over Fudge the Celebrity Cat.")

Even though she was fully cognizant of the fact that stealing a cat as starved for attention, gregarious, and inquisitive as Brutus would have been a piece of cake, Owens nonetheless was still unwilling to have taken any concrete measures in order to have safeguarded his life. "He delighted children and adults alike with his cheeky 'cattitude,' investigating shopping in peoples' trolleys as they left the store (and) jumping into cars to investigate," she freely acknowledged to The Telegraph of London on January 27, 2017. (See "Beloved Cat Brutus to Be Immortalized in Morrisons' Supermarket Statue.")

Footloose cats in England are additionally at the mercy of the RSPCA which has a long and sordid history of stealing and killing them with impunity. For example on July 30, 2016, the charity abducted a dapper eighteen-year-old tuxedo named Jack and snuffed out his life in less than twenty-four hours.

Even more alarmingly as far as Brutus was concerned, Jack's owners, Michael and Michelle Carpenter, resided on St. David's Terrace which is only .48 kilometers southwest of Morrisons. (See the Chester Chronicle, August 11, 2016, "Distraught Saltney Family Blast (sic) RSPCA after Their Cat Was Put Down.")

Brutus Risked Being Stolen by Climbing into Trolleys

While it is true that Brutus, unlike Jack, was microchipped and always wore a collar and a tag, it is far from certain that either of those identification devices would have been sufficient to have stilled the killing hand of the RSPCA if it ever had gotten him within its deadly grasp. (See the Daily Mail, November 6, 2014, "RSPCA Forced to Apologize for Wrongly Putting Down Cat Belonging to Family It Accused of Cruelty in Bungled Prosecution," Kent Online, August 13, 2016, "Heartbreak for Larkfield Family after Cat Is Put to Sleep Without Their Knowledge," and Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007 and October 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "The RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated" and "The RSPCA Steals and Executes Nighshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband.")

Besides the perils posed by motorists, kidnappers, and the RSPCA, Brutus apparently got lost from time to time. "If you find him somewhere other than Morrisons, please leave a message so I know where to find him," is how that Owens concluded her recorded message.

Then there was the disturbing reality that Tony's Camo and Airgun (sic) Centre is located across the street from Morrisons and everyone is fully cognizant of the simply horrific crimes that both juveniles and adults alike commit against cats with those types of weapons. (See the Aachener Zeitung, August 11, 2014, "Mit Luftgewehr gezielt auf Katze geschossen," the Augsburger Allgemeine, June 25, 2015, "Schuss aus Luftgewehr verletzt Katze, Klärchen," KTRK-TV of Houston, May 18, 2017, "Six Cats Shot with Pellets in Spring Neighborhood," the Bournemouth Echo, February 16, 2017, "Cat Which Survived Three Air Gun Attacks Is Killed after Fourth Shooting," the Aachener Zeitung, June 26, 2017, "Mit Luftgewehr auf Kater geschossen," WJAC-TV of Johnstown, July 11, 2017, "Pennsylvania Family Devastated after Cat Found Shot to Death in Moxham," RSPCA Press Release of July 12, 2017, "Airgun (sic) Attacks Reported to Us Set to Reach Five-Year High," and Cat Defender posts of May 7, 2007, September 27, 2010, March 13, 2012, and April 2, 2015 entitled, respectively, "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way," "Caged, Shot Thirty Times with an Air Gun, and Then Tossed into a Bay to Drown, Lovey Is Rescued in the Middle of the Night by a Good Samaritan," "The Sick Wife Defense Works Like a Charm for Cunning Patrick Doyle after He Traps a Cat and Then Shoots It with an Air Rifle While Still in Its Cage," and "A 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.")

Like every other locale around the globe, Saltney sans doute also has its fair share of cat-hating ornithologists, both professionals and amateurs, who frequent establishments such as Tony's in order to purchase air guns and air rifles to use against cats. (See the Augsburger Allgemeine, June 25, 2015, "Prozess in Dilligen. Rentner schieß mit Luftgewehr auf Katzen" and Cat Defender post of March 9, 2012 entitled "An Amateur Ornithologist Guns Down Hartley with an Air Rifle, Feigns Remorse, and Then Cheats Justice by Begging and Lying.")

Another huge concern centered around what Brutus was eating and drinking while he was away from home. In addition to the constant fear that he easily could have ingested antifreeze and other toxins, Owens did not have any earthly way of knowing what patrons and employees of Morrisons were feeding him.

For example, a brown cat of undetermined age with black stripes named George attracted quite a bit of notoriety back in 2016 and 2017 when he began visiting Wilkos, a household goods store that also sells groceries, in the Kings Chase Shopping Centre (KCSC) in the Kingswood section of Bristol, one-hundred-seventy-one kilometers west of London. (See the Bristol Post, February 13, 2017, " 'Celebrity' Cat George Is Internet Famous Because He Spends All Day in Wilkos and Refuses to Leave.")

As it shortly was revealed, his derelict owner even allowed him to visit all by his lonesome, inter alia, electronics retailer Brighthouse, the Carphone Warehouse, Parson's Bakery, and Halifax Bank, all located in the mall. He was even spotted at the nearby Chasers nightclub at 63-65 Regent Street where partyers even have been murdered in the past. (See the Bristol Post, February 14, 2017, "Where Else in Kingswood Are You Likely to See 'Celebrity' Cat George?")

Jack Was Stolen and Murdered by the RSPCA

Nothing further was heard of him until a "Don't feed me. You are making me poorly" admonition turned up sometime later on his Facebook page. It was a long time in coming but his owner apparently had finally seen the light.

"George is fine and well and loving life at home with his family," an April 16, 2018 notice on his Facebook page proclaimed.

Some owners are so thick skulled, however that they never wise up to the dangers that they are exposing their peripatetic cats to on a daily basis. For example, thirty-six-year-old Nadine Biewer for years fobbed off the care of her cat, King Loui I, onto the shoulders of the students, teachers, and administrators at Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) in Aachen.

Not even the petit fait that he had been sickened many times by the garbage that they fed him could persuade her to alter her thinking. It accordingly was not surprising that after he came down with throat cancer that she paid a veterinarian to whack him on August 22, 2017. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2017 and September 15, 2017 entitled, respectively, "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" and "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.")

Professional hoofer Fee Jeanes of West Street in Bridport, Dorset, likewise condemned her fifteen-year-old, ginger and white tom, Dodger, to an early grave by abandoning him to divide his days and nights between riding the buses and hanging out at the local bus station. It is by no means a foregone conclusion, but it nonetheless could be argued with some persuasion that it was precisely the pork pies and other assorted junk food that he was fed by commuters that ultimately led to the development of a stomach tumor that provided the rationale for her decision to have him killed off. (See Cat Defender posts January 25, 2013 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.")

As if all of those dangers were not sufficient in themselves to have caused any halfway conscientious owner to have turned prematurely gray with worry, Brutus constantly was left to the mercy of individuals, dogs, and other animals intent upon doing him harm. Plus, even so much as contracting an upper respiratory infection as the result of being left out in the elements all the time could have felled him at almost any moment if it had been allowed to go untreated.

Despite that plethora of perils Brutus, as far as it has been revealed, came through his early years with Owens without any major incidents. Other than having gotten lost on several occasions, the most severe injury that he sustained appears to have been an injured right front paw. Even so he must have had many narrow escapes.

George Was Sickened by the Food Fed Him at Wilkos

For its part, Morrisons treated Brutus far worse than did Owens. Although the store at first had allowed him to come inside, by 2012 he had worn out his welcome and therefore was declared to be persona non grata.

"He's not allowed in the store and if he creeps in we immediately usher him back outside," manager Les Williams explained to the Chester Chronicle in an undated January 2012 PDF article. (See "Store War Averted as Cat Lovers Told: Brutus Can Stay" at the Chester Chronicle, January 6, 2017, "Brutus the Morrisons Cat -- a Celebration of His Life.")

Not surprisingly, that hard-hearted decision went over like a lead brick with many of Brutus's supporters and as a result more than one-hundred of them signed a petition declaring that they would boycott the store if he were not allowed to return. They also established a Facebook page entitled "The Morrisons' Cat" and his notoriety soon spread as far afield as Australia and Taiwan. He was even once mentioned on the BBC's Radio 2.

That in turn forced the martinet Williams to back down ever so slightly. "Brutus the cat has become a store mascot," he told the Chester Chronicle in the January 2012 article. "He gives a lot of joy to our shoppers -- particularly our younger and older customers -- and he will always be welcome."

What the weasel Williams meant by that was that while Brutus would still be allowed to hang out in the unheated and drafty recycling bin in the foyer, he never again would be allowed to venture inside the store's warm and cozy confines. "We've got a metal grill. It's an air curtain, and he never, ever goes over that," he elaborated to the Chester Chronicle in another undated PDF article from 2012 that also can be found alongside the other one cited supra. (See "Morrisons' Moggie Is the Cat's Whiskers.") "Obviously legally I cannot allow him to."

What, if any, measures Morrisons undertook in order to provide for his safety and well-being are unknown. For instance, did the store endeavor to protect him from motorists?

Did it watch over him so as to prevent him from ending up like Fudge of Tesco's in Dunfries? Also, did the store provide him with food and water as well as to endeavor to protect him from ingesting toxins?

Brutus with an Injured Paw

Employee Keith Davies did sometimes drop by the store on his days off in order to check on him but other than that it would appear that Morrisons merely exploited him as a convenient and cheap marketing tool while caring less if he lived or died. Williams sans doute was a rotter through and through but he also was astute enough to have recognized a cash cow and that is why that he allowed Brutus to continue to visit the store's foyer.

"Even if I wanted to move him I couldn't because the customers love him," he conceded to the Chester Chronicle in the second undated article cited supra. "He's certainly a local resident and a very popular one."

Some of Morrisons' patrons also were guilty of abusing Brutus. "It is nice to know that so many people enjoy seeing him there," Owens told the Chester Chronicle in the January 2012 article. "I would urge parents to supervise their children and encourage them to be gentle if they stroke him."

Other than that cryptic reference, it remains a mystery as to the extent or the types of abuse that Brutus was forced to endure while Williams and his minions stood idly by counting their precious shekels. Even more reprehensibly was Owens' decision to have left Brutus in harm's way when what she should have done was to have collected him and kept him at home with her as soon as she was made cognizant of the fact that some shoppers were abusing him.

The same shabby treatment that Morrisons meted out to Brutus also was visited upon a gray and white tom named Cecil in late November of 2015 by the Safeway store at Cesar Chavez and Powell boulevards in southeast Portland. Specifically, after having allowed him to roam the aisles for seven years and to recline upon stacks of soda cans the store abruptly reversed course and banned him.

His supporters circulated a petition demanding that he be allowed to return and although it garnered more than eight-hundred signatures, the store categorically refused to back down. Actually, the final eviction notice from Safeway, which for a time was owned by Morrisons, was merely the culmination of a long-term effort designed to get rid of Cecil in that he had been given the bum's rush on many previous occasions. (See The Oregonian of Portland, December 3, 2015, "Portland Rallies Around Cecil, Beloved Safeway Cat.")

Cecil thereafter disappeared from the public's radar screen until an anonymous note turned up December 30, 2018 on Reddit, Portland. "I met Cecil the Safeway Cat," it declared. "He lives out in the country now. He is doing very well."

Brutus Originally Was Allowed Inside the Store

If true, that would tend to indicate that his absentee and derelict owner has had a change of heart and is now behaving a good deal more responsibly. By contrast, during Cecil's seven-year stint away from home the only provision that individual undertook in order to provide for his safety and well-being was to follow in Owens' shoes by linking up the telephone number contained on his tag to a telephone answering machine.

In 2010 Safeway's parent company, Albertsons of Boise, mistreated a ten-year-old Snowshoe Siamese named Ally even worse than Cecil. Her downward spiral began on March 3rd when she arrived in Billings in the back of one of its delivery trucks that had originated in Salt Lake City.

She soon thereafter was handed over to the staff at the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter (YVAS) where she was diagnosed to be dehydrated, emaciated, and suffering from parasites. Even more disturbingly, she had sustained unspecified injuries to her back as well as a broken hip.

The latter injuries were consistent with having had a heavy object, such as either a box or a pallet, dropped on top of her. Instead of making a clean chin of what had happened, Albertsons ordered its employees not to publicly discuss the matter.

YVAS also inexcusably dropped the ball by immediately placing Ally in foster care when what she actually required was around-the-clock veterinary monitoring. As a result, she suffered a relapse and was returned to YVAS on March 5th.

Having failed to learn a blessed thing as the result of its past mistakes, YVAS returned this rare and truly beautiful female to foster care where she died on March 9th. (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2010 entitled "Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter.")

Earlier in January and February of the same year, the operators of a frozen food concern in Northamptonshire, the East Midlands, callously condemned a one-year-old tuxedo named Frosty to spend five weeks in one of its -28° Fahrenheit warehouses. He amazingly survived by eating frozen peas and licking the condensation off of packages.

Brutus Liked to Stay on Top of His Press Reports

Even so, frostbite cost him both of his ears as well as his tail. Always willing to cover up the heinous crimes of their fellow capitalists, the English media categorically refused to divulge even the name of the frozen food company. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2010 entitled "A Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its -28° Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water.")

Finally in that regard, restaurateurs, bar owners, and hotels are infamous for exploiting cats as both mascots and mousers only to turn around and get rid of them once local health departments start threatening and fining them. (See Cat Defender posts of May 21, 2007, October 23, 2008, February 17, 2009, and December 5, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Salem, Massachusetts, Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During the 1692 Witch Trials," "The Pecksniffian Management at a Swindon Pub Plies Ember with Food and Then Gives Her the Bum's Rush," "The Health Department Banishes Smallcat from a Popular Carson City Restaurant but Her Feisty Owner Is Putting Up Quite a Fight," and "The Algonquin Cruelly Responds to Threats Made by New York City by Trussing Up Matilda and Bombarding Her with Shock Therapy.")

Following his expulsion from Morrisons in 2012, it was all downhill for Brutus. As far as it has been revealed in print, he continued to hang out in the foyer but in 2013 he was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

That is an hereditary disease characterized by the development of pockets of fluid in the kidneys known as cysts. As best it could be determined, it is not yet feasible to surgically remove them although they can be drained via needles.

Both the number of cysts and the rate of their growth vary from cat to cat but a substantial percentage of those cats that are diagnosed with PKD are able to hang on for several years provided that they receive prompt treatment. There is considerable disagreement as to the specifics but even so all such afflicted cats require specialized diets, intravenous fluids, and medications designed to reduce nausea and vomiting as well as to block the absorption of phosphorous. (See Ernest Ward of VCA Animal Hospitals of Los Angeles, an undated article entitled "Kidney Disease -- Polycystic Kidney Disease in Cats" at www.vcahospitals.com).

Kidney disease used to be considered a death sentence for all feline sufferers but Miami practitioner Patty Khuly begs to differ. "Nausea is a big problem in these cats, and a lot of people focus too much on the fluids and don't take on issues like the appetite," she told the San Francisco Chronicle on August 18, 2009. (See "Caring for a Cat Whose Kidneys Have Failed.") "There are many drugs that can treat nausea, control vomiting and stimulate the appetite."

Other drugs are now available to regulate the levels of calcium, phosphorous, and potassium in the blood and to help control blood pressure and a low number of red blood cells. Perhaps just as importantly as far as cash-strapped owners are concerned, these drugs and fluids can be administered at home.

Morrisons Exiled Brutus to Its Drafty Foyer

"I've seen even very sick cats, cats who needed hospitalization in the beginning, do really well on home care with an owner who was willing to give it a try," Khuly continued. 'What makes the difference in how well a cat with kidney failure does is not how sick they are, or how bad their kidney values are on a blood test. It's the attitude of the owner."

She also is of the opinion that supportive care at home can produce results that amount to far more than just being a flash in the pan. "Many of these cats who are on the brink of death can be brought back with supportive care at home," she concluded. "Not only brought back for days or weeks, but years. You just don't know unless you try." (See Cat Defender posts of October 11, 2013, September 26, 2013, and January 16, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Heroic Hermione Is Holding Her Own Despite Tragically Losing a Kidney to a Botched Sterilization Two Years Ago," "Former Halifax Mayoral Hopeful Tuxedo Stan Is Killed Off by His Owner after Chemotherapy Fails to Halt the Onslaught of Renal Lymphoma," and "Dying of Kidney Failure, Nine-Year-Old Sammy Is Shown Compassion by an Unexpected Friend.")

Even so there can be little doubt that caring for a cat with kidney disease is not for the faint of heart. In Owens' case she, as a veterinary nurse, would have had access to not only all the veterinary expertise and drugs that she needed in order to have taken care of Brutus but also at a huge discount if not indeed gratis.

The far bigger question is whether she was willing to have devoted the time and attention to him that he so desperately needed. Specifically, she needed to have confined him indoors so that she not only could have controlled what he was eating and drinking but also to have medicated him and closely monitored all aspects of his health.

The online record is conspicuously spotty in regard to Brutus' activities from 2013 until his death. What precious little anecdotal evidence that exists, however, tends to suggest that Owens callously allowed him to continue to divide his time between the street and Morrisons. If so, that certainly would be in keeping with her past guardianship of him.

It is known, however, that in early 2016 he became gravely ill but miraculously recovered. On New Year's Day of 2017, he suffered another relapse and was rushed to Chestergates Veterinary Specialists on Chestergate Road in Chester where an ultrasound revealed the existence of large cysts in his kidneys.

Other diagnostic tests were performed, fluids administered in order to flush out his kidneys, and he was prescribed anti-sickness medication. He then was sent home.

 Cecil Was Given the Boot by Safeway's in Portland

"Not the best start to 2017, but maybe with all your prayers and wishes and all our love and fusses, he'll get through this again, but I won't let him suffer if he's not making any significant improvement," Owens forewarned the readers of the Chester Chronicle in a second article dated January 6, 2017. (See "Brutus the Morrisons' Cat Suffers Worrying Relapse.")

By that time she already had made up her mind to get rid of him. Although on that occasion she had admitted that he was "not one-hundred per cent but getting there," she also confirmed once again that she would be "making a tough decision in the not too distant future."

That "tough decision" came ten days later on January 16th. "Dreading this post, but it's with an extremely heavy heart that I have to tell you all that we had to have our gorgeous boy Brutus put to sleep around midday today," she confided to the Chester Chronicle on January 16, 2017. (See "Heartbreak as Brutus the Morrisons' Caty Passes Away.") "He went peacefully on a nice snuggly blanket in our kitchen. I cuddled him, gave him head scratches and talked to him so he knew he was loved right up to the very end."

All of that is outrageous balderdash! First of all, euthanasia is cold-blooded, premeditated murder and there simply is not any way of getting around that stubborn reality.

Secondly, there is seldom anything that is either painless or humane about lethal injections. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2018 entitled "A Rare Behind the Scenes Glimpse at the Ruthless Murders of Two Cats by an Indiana Veterinarian Exposes All Those Who Claim That Lethal Injections Are Humane to Be Barefaced Liars.")

Thirdly as a practicing veterinary nurse, Owens no doubt has whacked countless cats during her career. She accordingly has become so inured to committing these types of heinous crimes that she likely does not think anymore of killing a cat than she does of taking a piss. She may even glory in determining which ones live and which ones die.

Fourthly, just days before she had him killed off Owens forced Brutus to pose with her four-month-old son, Jamie, in a photograph taken by Dollimore Photography of Boundary Lane in Saltney. Even that exercise was not intended for his benefit but rather for that of her infant son.

Much more importantly, Brutus certainly looked to be well-fed in the snap and to be the very epitome of health. Unless his condition deteriorated precipitately, it would appear that Owens had him whacked so that she could concentrate all of her energies on raising Jamie without having to bother with caring for an ailing cat. Believe it or not, that is the way in which many warped gourds do their sums.

Ted Robbins at the Unveiling of Brutus' Statue

In the aftermath of his killing, Owens gassed about holding a memorial service for Brutus but no mention of such an event is to be found online. For whatever it is worth, she additionally claims that his remains were privately cremated but, even if that were so, she neglects to say what was done with his ashes.

For all practical purposes, Brutus' life and times ended with his murder at Owens' hands. Despite what many people in Saltney would like to believe, the flurry of post obitum activities, strutting, preening, and declarations of undying love have had precious little to do with Brutus and everything to do with excusing the heinous crimes of all those who so shamelessly neglected and exploited him.

That carefully choreographed exercise in deceiving the outside world by rewriting history began with an online crowdfunding appeal that netted nearly £5,000 for the purpose of creating and erecting a bronze bust of Brutus. Even the hard-hearted cheapskates at Morrisons felt compelled to chip in a little more than £1,000 to the cause.

The actual work itself was crafted by Jane Robbins Sculpture of Bollington, seventy kilometers northeast of Chester, and Castle Fine Arts Foundry of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, sixty-six kilometers southwest of Chester in County Powys, Wales. (Half of Saltney lies in Cheshire with the other half in Flintshire, Wales.) A gold plaque which accompanies the bronze bust was paid for by David Sadler.

"When I saw him just before he was due to have the finishing touches applied, it was as if he was actually sitting there and it made me feel quite emotional," Owens told the Chester Chronicle on July 27, 2017. (See "Memorial Statue of Brutus the Morissons' Cat Is Finally Finished.") "I miss him so much, we all do, and still can't believe he's not here anymore."

She proceeded to make a prediction. "He'll get a shiny head in no time after all the strokes he's going to get!" she told the Chester Chronicle. "If it wasn't for all the kind donations from not just his local fans, but fans from around the country and even some from around the world who I received money from toward the statue, this wouldn't have been possible."

The statue was unveiled to scores of Brutus' fans on Sunday, September 17, 2017 by comedian and television personality Ted Robbins who just happens to be not only the brother of sculptress Jane but also a second cousin of Paul McCartney. Having apparently exhausted its reservoir of generosity, the best that Morrisons could come up with was to have one of its underlings bake a giant cookie in Brutus' honor. Even a symbolic can of opened tuna, such as the ones that tourists leave at the bronze bust of Samuel Johnson's cat, Hodge, at 17 Gough Square in London, would have been more appropriate.

"We were all very taken aback by the number of people who attended the unveiling," Owens gushed to the Chester Chronicle on September 11, 2017. (See "Brutus the Morrisons' Cat Remembered with Special Unveiling of Statue.") "It was incredible to see so many who made the effort to come out to see it. I was a little overwhelmed."

 Morrisons Chipped In with a Commemorative Cookie

After all was said and done, £1,200 were left over to be divvied up between local rescue groups Chester Kitty Cat Rescue and Ark Angels. As late as May of 2017, some of Brutus' admirers were still gathering at Morrisons on a fortnightly basis in order to reminiscence about him but it is not known if Owens ever showed up at any of them or even if they are still being held. (See the Daily Post of Chester, May 8, 2017, "Bronze Statue of Brutus the Saltney Supermarket Cat Taking Shape.")

With the installation and unveiling of his bust, Brutus thus has joined a fifteen-year-old, longhaired, orange and white tom with watery-green eyes named Hamish McHamish who was honored with a bronze statue of his own in Church Square, St. Andrews, on April 5, 2014. He did not have long to enjoy it, however, because his absentee owner, retired BBC producer Marianne Baird, had him promptly killed off on September 11th of that same year after he came down with a common cold. (See Cat Defender posts of June 20, 2014 and October 18, 2014 entitled, respectively, "St. Andrews Honors Hamish McHamish with a Bronze Statue but Does Not Have the Decency, Love, and Compassion in Order to Provide Him with a Warm, Secure, and Permanent Home" and "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.")

A thirteen-year-old brown and white female named Missy from Havant, one-hundred-thirteen kilometers south of London in Hampshire, also has been honored with a statue that was fashioned out of sequoia. It can be found at the bus stop in front of the Leigh Park Housing Estate where she spent the last nine years of her life.

Because her seventy-three-year-old owner, Richard McCormick, refused to take any proactive measures in order to provide for her safety, a group of thugs kicked her to death in broad daylight on January 29, 2016. Specifically, they fractured her skull, broke her jaw, and knocked out all but two of her teeth.

When she was found, she was hemorrhaging from her mouth and one eye. Like Owens with Brutus and Baird with Hamish, McCormick elected to have her killed off rather than treated. (See Cat Defender post of July 14, 2016 entitled "Missy, Who Was Too Kindly Disposed Toward Humans for Her Own Good, Is Memorialized in Wood at the Bus Stop That She Called Her Home Away from Home for Almost a Decade.")

Compounding an already potentially disastrous situation for cats, some owners intentionally abandon their charges to the street so that they can later cash in on whatever notoriety that they achieve. For instance, Biewer not only established a popular web site but also published a book, Die Fellnasenbande Hinter dem Gartenzaun, about King Loui I.

Although there is not anything in the public record that even remotely suggests that Jeanes in any way cashed in on Dodger's acclaim, she nevertheless was the one who first contacted the media and urged them to publicize his exploits. So, at the very least, the idea did cross her mind.

Likewise, it is not known if the unidentified owners of Percy, a black tom from Green Howards Drive in the Peasholm Park section of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, ever profited from his exploits riding the miniature trains of the North Bay Railway, but author Joe Coates certainly did with the publication of his 2013 tome, Percy the Cat of the North Bay Railway. (See Cat Defender posts of November 14, 2009 and February 6, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Percy Takes the Train All by Himself in Order to Visit the Penguins at an Aquarium in Scarborough" and "Lovable and Adventurous Percy Is Still Very Much Alive and Riding the Miniature Trains in Scarborough.")

 Claire Owens Finally Has a Cat That She Can Handle

There can be little doubt, however, that Susan Finden of Plymouth in Devon milked Casper's celebrity status for all that she could get even if doing so ended up costing the handsome twelve-year-old, longhaired tuxedo his life. (See Cat Defender posts of August 27, 2009 and January 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Casper Treats Himself to an Unescorted Tour Around Plymouth Each Morning Courtesy of the Number Three Bus" and "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver While Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop.")

Even when money is not involved, turning a cat loose in the street is a bad idea. For example, Steph Keenan, a forty-two-year-old psychotherapist from Waterville Terrace in North Shields, thirteen kilometers east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northumberland, is so callous that she even resents concerned citizens telephoning her and requesting that she come and pick up her eighteen-month-old ginger-colored tom Jasper whom she has abandoned to ride the Tyne and Wear Metro.

"People have actually gone to great lengths to pick him up and take him to a vet or shelter which can be a real inconvenience," she groused back in 2014. "I was quite annoyed when I had to go pick him up the last time."

With such an owner, it would be a miracle if he were still alive today. (See Cat Defender post of January 31, 2014 entitled "A Northumberland Shrink Lays Claim to the Title of Being the World's Most Irresponsible Cat Owner by Turning Loose Jasper to Roam the Perilous Tyne and Wear Metro for Weeks on End.")

Even now that he is long gone and all that remains of his beautiful soul is a cold bronze replica, Owens is still totally unwilling to even begin to acknowledge just how miserably that she failed Brutus as his guardian. "I obviously had no control over what our beloved cat got up to but nevertheless people were telling me stories and thanking me for just having such a wonderful cat who made so many people happy," she told the Chester Chronicle in the September 11, 2017 article cited supra.

First of all, if she had endeavored to have fulfilled even the minimalist requirements of her filial obligations to Brutus, she would have known where he was and what he was doing all the time. As things stood, however, she seldom even knew if he were either dead or alive.

Secondly, cats that have owners who are willing to stay at home and entertain them actually do very little roaming. By contrast, the reason that Brutus took up residence at Morrisons was that he keenly felt unwanted and underappreciated at home.

Thirdly, Owens' rationals for adopting Brutus is rather odd to say the least. "The statue will never replace the real thing, and can't portray his cheeky personality that we all miss, but it's here to help people to remember him and his personality, and (to) bring back their own images of him in their minds," she confided to the Chester Chronicle on September 11, 2017.

Brutus as He Will Be Remembered: All Alone and On His Own

What she is claiming is akin to a fellow keeping a Porsche 911 that he never takes out of the garage. Or, alternatively, for a man to possess a voluptuous woman that he never touches but instead lends out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry in town.

Cats are to be enjoyed, their lives to be shared, and to grow old with and anyone who would rather be either chasing shekels or out on the town drinking, drugging, and whoring is hardly a fit owner. Anyone who likewise is unwilling to devote the time, attention, and money that they require should not even bother adopting one.

"Each time I go to Morrisons my heart sinks when I think that I'll never see him laid on the bench, sleeping in the flower pots or curled up camouflaged in the bark outside again," Owens amplified to the Chester Chronicle on July 27, 2017. "Now his bronze is finished, we can all look forward to seeing him again every time we do our shopping."

She now has exactly the type of cat that she always has desired in that she can visit the bronze Brutus whenever she pleases without encumbering any of the prerequisite moral and financial obligations that customarily accompany pet ownership. She surely must be ecstatically happy.

As thoroughly shameful and reprehensible as Owens mistreated Brutus, she is far from being the only rotter in Saltney's woodpile. The behavior of Morrisons, like that of Tesco's, Safeway's, Albertsons, and Wilkos, has left little doubt that shekel-chasing supermarket giants are anything but fitting guardians of footloose cats.

Nothing positive likewise can be said for the patrons of these establishments who merely take whatever they want from the Brutuses of this world without returning to them anything of tangible value. Above all, no lasting moral ties are ever established between them and the cats that befriend them.

Included in this roll call of shame also are every feline protection group in Cheshire who stood idly by and did absolutely nothing in order to ensure either Brutus' safety or that he received the topnotch veterinary care that he needed and deserved once he became ill. Finally, absolutely nothing salutary can be said for the Chester Chronicle and the other representatives of the Fourth Estate who stubbornly persist in championing the abandonment, abject neglect, and naked exploitation of cats such as Brutus.

The bronze bust that now stands out front of Morrisons is therefore a monument not to Brutus, but rather to all those who abused him. It also is a reaffirmation of Plato's assertion that the only individuals and groups that societies honor are criminals.

Photos: Facebook (Brutus by himself and in the parking lot), the Chester Chronicle (Brutus in a shopper's trolley, with an injured paw, in the cat food aisle, 'reading' his press clippings, and in the foyer, Ted Robbins, commemorative cookie, Owens, and Jack), the Daily Mail (Mango), Deadline News (Fudge), the Bristol Post (George), and The Oregonian (Cecil).