.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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

Monday, July 29, 2019

Repeatedly Shunned, Maligned, and Bandied About from One Place to Another, Harvey Is Now Fighting the Most Important Battle of His Life

Harvey Shortly after His Initial Arrival at Yorkshire Cat Rescue

"...without her (his fosterer), I couldn't spend the rest of the time I have let feeling loved and safe."
-- Harvey

To say that Harvey has been put through the wringer would be a decidedly gross understatement. His seemingly endless string of miseries began in December of 2016 when his longtime owner died unexpectedly.

Since none of that unidentified individual's surviving relatives wanted any part of either him or his continued care, that left him all alone, homeless, and bereft of any visible means of support.

While none of those deprivations, whether taken singularly or cumulatively, would have been sufficient to constitute an automatic death sentence under most circumstances, the same most definitely cannot be said for the machinations of those individuals and organizations who, with flagrant disregard for every known moral and juridical precept, have outrageously appropriated for themselves a carte blanche authority to determine which cats live and which ones die.

Considering that he already was twelve years old, just about every shelter in the so-called civilized world would have taken one look at him and dismissed all notions of attempting so much as a half-hearted effort to rehome him. Rather, a jab of sodium pentobarbital administered tout de suite, encasement in an airtight trash bag, and a hurried trip to the city dump in the back of a smelly garbage truck would have been all that he would have received from the entire lot of them.

As the Chinese are fond of saying, however, even a blind cat occasionally stumbles over a dead rat and Harvey's Glück im Unglück came when he, one way or the other, wound up at Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley, West Yorkshire. "We never give up on any cat who needs us," the charity proudly proclaims on its web site but it did not take long for a desire to do right by the brown, gray, and white tom to morph into a test of both its mettle and resources that continues to this very day.

Initially, that task looked to be deceptively easy in that a new home was secured for him shortly after his arrival at YCR. Unfortunately, Harvey did not hit it off with the cats who already were in residence there and he accordingly was unceremoniously given the bum's rush. The specifics have not been spelled out but that dénouement would tend to indicate that he had spent the vast majority, if not indeed all, of his earlier days in a one-cat household.

After another brief stay at the shelter he was adopted in early 2017 by an unidentified woman in Leeds, thirty-three kilometers southeast of Keighley, but that arrangement also ended in failure when she reportedly became ill and could no longer care for him. "But he really is completely lovely -- just so desperately unlucky," Samantha Davies of YCR lamented afterwards. (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.")

Harvey's streak of horrendously bad luck continued in earnest once he was returned to YCR for the third time in that he was forced to languish there in utter misery until he was placed in foster care in November of 2017. Whenever it rains it pours and that ad hoc arrangement did not work out either so it was back to YCR in February of 2018 for his fourth impoundment within the brief span of fifteen months.

The only tidbit of information that has been revealed concerning that debacle is that he did not get along with the woman's "other pets." Even YCR's willingness to pick up the tab for his food and veterinary care was an insufficient inducement for her to reconsider her hastiness. (See Cat Defender post of March 12, 2018 entitled "Much Like a Nightmare That Stubbornly Refuses to End, Harvey Continues to Be Shuttled from One Home to Another at the Expense of His Health and Well-Being.")

Every bit as poignantly, the callous and uncaring manner in which residents in and around Keighley have treated Harvey does not reflect highly upon them. Most damning of all, those who pulled the welcome mat from underneath him knew bloody damned well that in doing so they not only were inflicting tremendous psychological grief upon him but very well could have been initialing his death warrant at the same time.

Not Surprisingly, Harvey Found Conditions at the Shelter Unbearable

That is especially the case considering that YCR's meager resources would appear to be already stretched to the breaking point. For example, on its web site it states that it rescued eight-hundred-seventy-seven cats last year of which it subsequently found homes for, amazingly, eight-hundred-forty of them.

Additional cats arrive every day and the shelter accordingly surely must operate at near capacity just about all the time. On top of the cost of sheltering, feeding, and placing the homeless in new abodes, it additionally spent £106,862 last year on their veterinary care.

Despite two failed adoptions and a fostering arrangement that did not pan out, YCR to its eternal credit in both this and the world to come refused to throw in the towel on Harvey. "He is one of a kind and utterly lovely," the charity wrote February 16, 2018 on Facebook. "He is just quite specific about his demands -- no other pets, no noisy kids, all attention and love on him. That's not a bad deal, is it?"

Fortunately for long-suffering, weary, an beleaguered Harvey, his fourth internment at YCR proved, mercifully, to have been a brief one "We are so happy to say that he has found a permanent fosterer and a retirement home," the charity announced February 26, 2018 on Facebook.

Following that bit of welcomed good news nothing further was heard of him for a very long time. "Hello! I'm Harvey! Some of you may remember me," YCR stunned the world by announcing like a coup du ciel February 19th of this year on Facebook. "I'm an old boy who had to go into long-term foster care due to a benign brain tumor and yesterday was the one-year mark when I went to stay with my new mommy."

As it just so happened, he and his fosterer had another reason for celebrating. "Not only is it one year since being in my new home, but it's also my mommy's birthday today!" the posting on Facebook continued. "Please join me in meowing a huge happy birthday to her and say thank you, as without her, I couldn't spend the rest of the time I have left feeling loved and safe."

To commemorate both milestones, Harvey's foster mother reportedly quaffed a glass of Merlot while he settled for chicken. "Pure bliss," the article concludes with him exulting.

Since the posting of that brief update, nothing further has appeared online concerning him. It accordingly can only be hoped that he is still alive and in good health.

Several key issues nonetheless remain unresolved. Although it is highly commendable that the unidentified fosterer was willing to have taken in Harvey it nevertheless is troubling that she has not seen fit to make a firm commitment to him.

She could easily do so by formally adopting him and taking over the financial responsibility from YCR for his food and veterinary care.  It is, after all, a real pleasure to be able to pay for the care of a cat that one dearly loves.

Harvey Resting Up for the Battle Ahead of Him

Apparently even YCR is taking things a day at a time in that its original adoption notice is still to be found on its web site. (See "Twice Returned Cat Seeks Loving Home.")

Of additional concern is the petit fait that no details have been disclosed concerning what type and quality of life that he has with his new guardian. "We feel he might be a little too vulnerable to be roaming the street or fields on his own," Davies stated in 2017. "So we'd love to find him a home with a safe and enclosed garden, because he does love the outdoors and a cat at his age should be able to enjoy life -- even if he sometimes forgets where he is."

Aside from not knowing whether he has access to a garden, it would be good to know how much time that his guardian spends with him. Considering his advanced years and health woes, it is disquieting to think of him as being left alone in an empty apartment all day long while is guardian is either at work or play.

His forgetfulness is believed to be caused by a small, benign brain tumor although at last word the veterinarians had been unable to locate any such growth. Other than that, he is said to be unsteady on his feet and to easily become agitated and confused.

With him now being fifteen years old, it would not appear that he has too much longer to live but that realization should serve only to make his remaining days all the more precious and sacred. With human nature being what it is, however, it is doubtful that his fosterer and YCR are going to allow him to complete his journey on this earth. Most disturbing of all, YCR has been hinting at having him killed off for some time.

With shelters and sanctuaries not being viable alternatives for him since he does not get along with other cats, that pretty much narrows down his options to fosterers and would-be adopters who do not have any other pets. With decision day rapidly approaching, it is going to be interesting to see if YCR honors its creed and remains steadfast by Harvey's side regardless of the time, effort, and cost that is going to entail or does it, like all other shelters surely would do, sell him down the road of convenience and expediency.

In his case, the solution to that moral conundrum should be a no-brainer. The tumor, if it does in fact exist, should not impact all that much on his life expectancy and his mental lapses can best be dealt with through patience and forbearance.

Being otherwise healthy, he still has much in the way of love and companionship to offer. Plus, he sans doute has much in the way of unfinished business to complete as well as dreams of his own to chase down.

"The value of old age depends upon the person who reaches it," novelist Thomas Hardy once astutely observed. "To some men of early performance it is useless. To others, who are late to develop, it just enables them to finish the job."

So, too, is it with cats. It accordingly is Harvey, and most definitely not YCR, who should be allowed to determine when and under what circumstances to ring down the final curtain.

Photos: Yorkshire Cat Rescue.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Susi is Knowingly Left All Alone in an Empty Apartment to Slowly Die of Starvation and Untreated Hyperthyroidism after Her Owner Is Confined to an Old Folks' Home

Susi on an IV Drip Shortly Before Her Death

"Es ist schrecklich und absolut unbegreiflich, was passiert ist."
-- Nicole Rudin of Tierhilfe Regio Basel

Susi is destined to for ever be a mystery cat. Aside from the fact that she had a home and a guardian, almost nothing is known about her. Since she had made it to age eleven, which is old for most members of her species, it might not be all that unreasonable to conclude that she had lived a fairly decent life.

At the very least, she was a survivor. However, no living creature, whether it be a cat or a man, is ever fully equipped to successfully deal with all the coups du sort that life can throw at them and that, sadly, proved to have been the case with Susi.

The elegant black female's downward slide into oblivion began in either January or February, press reports differ, when her guardian, Lucy F., left her all alone in the apartment that they shared on Bärenfelserstraße in Basel to enter a local hospital for the treatment of an undisclosed ailment. What, if any, provisions that she had made for Susi's continued care in her absence have not been made public.

Although she was scheduled to have been away from home for only two days, that turned out to have been the very last time that Susi ever laid eyes on her in that shortly after her hospitalization she was immediately transferred to an old folks' home. Although that turn of events pretty much sealed Susi's fate, it is doubtful that she had any earthly inkling of the pain and sorrow that lay ahead of her.

Even though she was now incapacitated to some unknown extent, Lucy F. had not forgotten about her beloved companion and she accordingly endeavored to do what she could for her. She also apparently had a guardian of her own by this time but that individual's identity has not been divulged to the public. He or she could be a relative, a lawyer, or even perhaps an individual appointed by the Amt für Beistandschaften und Erwachsenenschutz (ABES) at Rheinsprung 18, less than three kilometers south of where she used to live.

"Es war der ausdrückliche Wunsch der Klientin, dass ihre Katze nicht ins Tierheim kommt," Sarah Thönen of ABES (Office of Aid and Adult Protection) related to Basel Television (Tele Basel) on June 8th. (See "Für Katze Susi kam jede Hilfe zu spät.") "Sie wünschte eine private Platzierung. Unsere Mitarbeitenden haben über längere Zeit versucht, einen neuen Platz für die Katze zu finden."

Although Lucy F. was completely justified in seeking such a dénouement for Susi, she, her guardian and everyone else involved in deciding her fate erred egregiously in settling upon a public welfare office as the vehicle in order to transform her desires into a lasting reality. In that regard it should hardly be necessary to point out that gratte-papiers most assuredly do not possess either the expertise or the persistence required in order to rehome a cat.

Au contraire, procuring a new home for an elderly cat is a herculean task for even seasoned professionals. Quite often the very best that even they are able to do is to either allow such cats to live out their remaining days at the shelters that they operate or to pay a sanctuary to accept them. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2018 and May 27, 2016 entitled, respectively, "Jeany Finally Finds the Lasting Home and Compassionate Care Denied Her by Her Irresponsible and Grossly Negligent Owner at -- of All Places -- a Shelter in Hemmingen" and "Snubbed by an Ignorant, Tasteless, and Uncaring Public for the Past Twenty-One Years, Tilly Has Forged an Alternative Existence of Relative Contentment at a Sanctuary in the Black Country.")

Despite her expressed wishes, it did not take long for Lucy F.'s worst fears to materialize. "Es wurde auch erwogen, die Katze einzuschläfern," Thönen continued in her next breath. "Aber man wollte die Suche nicht aufgeben."

A private nursing service, Betreuungs und Pflegeservice (BPS Basel) of Güterstraße 96, approximately 3.4 kilometers south of Bärenfelserstraße, was eventually retained by either Lucy's F.'s guardian or ABES in order to care for Susi on an interim basis until a more permanent solution could be found for her housing dilemma. Practically nothing is known about this agency other than that it is headed by Frau Gülli Enhas and that highfalutin quotations culled from the prolific scribblings of Mahatma Gandhi, Columbian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Márguez, and others concerning society's obligations to the aged litter its web site much like confetti shot out of a cannon. No mention whatsoever is made about society's responsibilities to elderly cats that have been abandoned by their owners.

As far as it has been reported by the local media, the only service that BPS Basel provided Susi was to have one of its employees drop by once a day and feed her. What kind, quality, and quantity of food that it fed her has not been divulged. Presumably, the agency did possess the bon sens to additionally supply her with fresh clean water to drink.

Conspicuously omitted from press reports has been any mention whatsoever concerning hygienic conditions in the apartment. For instance, did BPS Basel regularly empty the litter boxes and clean up spills and accidents?

Secondly, was the apartment heated? Thirdly, were the premises regularly scoured for loose electrical wires, gas leaks, falling objects, mold, mildew, harmful chemicals, toxins, and other mortal dangers?

Although Lucy F. was footing the bill for Susi's care, it is not known if she was either cognizant of what was going on or still possessed the ability to intervene. Also, someone had to be paying the rent, water, electricity, and telephone bills as well as collecting the mail, newspapers, and magazines that accumulated.

BPS Basel took over the feeding of Susi in either January or February but it did not take long for it to tire of that chore. "Bereits im Februar (am 28) haben wir dem zuständigen Amt (ABES) gemeldet, dass unsere Aufgabe die Pflege von Menschen, nicht die von Tieren sei," an unidentified official from the agency later told Tele Basel. "Mehrere Mitarbeiterinnen haben sich irgendwann geweigert, diese Aufgabe der Katzenfütterung weiterhin zu übernehmen, bis es irgendwann nicht mehr ging."

ABES turned a deaf ear to that warning as it did likewise to a similar appeal made by BPS Basel on March 22nd. The issue is anything but clear but the agency apparently continued to feed Susi at least through March if not indeed for a lengthier period. How much and how often that it did so are not known.

Not getting anywhere with ABES, BPS Basel reached out in either late April or early May to Tierschutz bieder Basel (TbB) at Birsfelderstraße 45, approximately 3.9 kilometers southeast of Bärenfelserstraße, about taking in Susi but once again it got stiffed. "Vorerst ist eine Abgabe in unserem Tierheim nicht möglich," Roger Bösch, a bookkeeper with the shelter, told the Basler Zeitung on June 17th. (See "Das langsame und einsame Sterben des Büsi Susi.")

The shelter was so callous in fact that it would not even dispatch a veterinarian to Lucy F.'s apartment in order to take so much as a cursory look at Susi even though it knew by then that she was in bad shape. "Aufgrund des Zustandes hätte die Katze zum Tierarzt oder in das Tierspital gehört," Bösch told the Basler Zeitung.

Besides suffering from an ingrained lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life, TbB also had three additional excuses for turning its back on Susi. First of all, it has claimed that neither BPS Basel nor ABES were willing (or able?) to supply it with Susi's immunization records.

Secondly, neither party would agree to pay for her care and housing. Thirdly, by that time Susi had become gravely ill and very few shelters are willing to take on the burden and financial cost of medicating a sick cat.

Although BPS Basel had known from as early as February that Susi had stopped communicating, by either April or May she also had become incontinent. Not a great deal is written on the subject but it nevertheless is truly astonishing the negative impact that a little errant piss can have on the behavior of those, primarily shelters and veterinarians, whose job it is to care for sickly and obdachlos Katzen.

Susi's Death Left Nicole Rudin of TRB Visibly Shaken

For instance, Béatrice Kirn of TbB cavalierly dismssed Susi's sickness as an old age malady. "Da Inkontinenz auch eine reine Alterserscheinung sein kann, hatten wir aufgrund dieser Information keine Kenntnis davon, dass das Tier schwer krank ist," she told bzBasel on June 20th. (See "Monatelong vernachlässigt, jetzt tot: Das Sterben und das Erbe der Basler Katze Susi.")

The refusal by TbB in mid-May to admit Susi proved to have been the final nail in her coffin. Nevertheless, she valiantly soldiered on in that wretched and unsanitary apartment until June 4th when BPS Basel belatedly took her to Tierhilfe Regio Basel (TRB) in Allschwil, 4.3 kilometers southwest of Basel.

Immediately recognizing that Susi was near death, the charity's Nicole Rudin rushed her to veterinarian Daniel Stauffer of Kleintierpraxis at Gstaltenrainweg 67 in Reihen, 7.5 kilometers northeast of Basel, where the full extent of the months of abject neglect that she had been subjected to came sharply into focus. "Die Katze war auf 2,5 Kilo (less than six pounds) abgemagert, stark ausgetrocknet und konnte sich nicht auf den Beinen halten, sondern lag stark hechelnd in Seitenlage," he informed the Basler Zeitung. "Die Körpertemperatur war massiv erhöht."

Besides being starved damned near to death, dehydrated, barely able to get her breath, unable to stand on her own feet, and running a high temperature, Susi was suffering from an even worse ailment. "Der Schilddrüsenwert war um das mindestens Vierfache des normalen Werts erhölt," he continued.

As if all of that were not enough miseries for any cat to endure, Susi also had contracted an undisclosed infection and her level of white blood corpuscles was greatly elevated. "Offenbar hatte sich infolge des schlechten Zustandes und der mangelnden Immunität ein schwerer Infekt gebildet," he concluded. "Die weissen Blutkörperchen waren neunzehn-tausend angestiegen."

The first observation to be made concerning her condition is that the mere fact that she was still alive is a testament to her indomitable will to live. Secondly, given that the normal body weight of most adult cats is ten or so pounds, it certainly would appear that Susi had been forced to go without food for at least a month.

That estimate is based upon the weight and condition of cats that have survived grueling sea voyages of up to eight weeks without food and water. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2005, May 17, 2007, August 11, 2008, and September 8, 2010 entitled, respectively, "An Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes an Unscheduled Trip to France in the Hold of a Cargo Ship," "A North Carolina Shelter Is Plotting to Kill a Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in the Hold of a Ship from China," "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire," and "Mandarin Survives a Long and Harrowing Sea Voyage from China to Canada Only to Wind Up in Hock to the Calgary Humane Society.")

Other cats have survived even lengthier periods without sustenance. For instance, Monika Huppert's black Persian, Bonny, was forced to spend seven weeks trapped underneath a bathtub in Stadthagen, Niedersachsen.  (See Cat Defender post of September 8, 2008 entitled "Bonny Is Rescued at the Last Minute after Spending Seven Weeks Entombed Underneath a Bathtub.")

Emmy toughed it out for nine weeks in an outdoor storage shed. (See Cat Defender post of January 23, 2008 entitled "Emmy Survives Being Locked in an Outdoor Storage Shed for Nine Weeks Without Either Food or Water.")

Perhaps most amazing of all, Mario survived on his own for seventy-nine days back in 2013 after he became trapped inside an abandoned building when an oil train exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2014 entitled "Mario Is Brought Back from Death's Door When His Silhouette Is Accidentally Spotted in a Window of Fire-Ravaged Lac-Mégantic.")

Numerous factors, however, influence a cat's chances of surviving such ordeals and not the least of which are its age, overall health, and genetics. The availability of condensation for continued hydration as well as a steady supply of insects, mice, and other morsels of food is of paramount importance.

Even those cats that are fortunate enough to make it through such hellish misadventures often are left with liver and kidney damage. Even so they are the lucky ones in that for every one that survives countless others do not. (See Cat Defender post of April 25, 2008 entitled "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")

Although Susi was not really all that old, some cats do have a tendency to lose weight as they age and she accordingly could have been already underweight even before Lucy F. deserted her. Additionally, a cat that suffers from Feline Hyperthyroidism (FH) has a difficult time of maintaining a normal body weight and staying hydrated.

"Vermutlich war das (FH) schon länger so und erklärt, da unbehandelt, die starke Abmagerung und Austrocknung," Stauffer theorized to the Basler Zeitung.

Whereas that certainly is entirely possible, it nonetheless is odd that Lucy F. apparently did not notice Susi's precipitate weight loss and frequent urination; if she had, she surely would have taken steps in order to have had her treated. Furthermore, it is difficult to believe that she would not have alerted both her guardian and ABES that Susi was seriously ill.

Since the Basler media has so conveniently tapped danced around the all-important issue of when Susi was last fed and watered, it is not possible to say whether her extreme malnutrition and dehydration were due exclusively to starvation, FH, or a combination of the two. Regardless of where the truth may ultimately lie, it seems beyond dispute that she was not receiving anywhere near an adequate amount of sustenance.

It additionally is beyond debate that her thyroid condition, whether it was present before Lucy F. abandoned her or the byproduct of BPS Basel's and ABES' abject neglect of her, required prompt medical treatment. In the Vereingten Staaten, for example, elderly cats suffering from FH are usually treated with a single application of radioactive iodine.

Such treatments cost in the neighborhood of US$500 to US$800 and usually require up to fourteen days of hospitalization at around US$30 per night. All of that is on top of sky-high emergency examination fees, various diagnostic tests, and other assorted bill-padding extras. Considering the exorbitant fees that they charge, veterinarians ought to be wearing stockings over their ugly mugs and holding loaded revolvers on cat owners.

It therefore is entirely possible that Kirn of TbB suspected what was amiss with Susi and did not want any part of either her or, more importantly, the cost of treating her. Sooner or later everything with cats comes down to money and care and there are not all that many shelter operators who are willing to spend money on a cat and to clean up a little piss unless they are fairly confident that they are going to be able to eventually sell it back to the public for a handsome profit.

Everything to the contrary that escapes from their maws is a blatant lie. Man is a lazy-ass bastard who spends his life in search of the biggest payoffs for the least amount of effort and that abominable character trait is most readily observable in veterinarians, physicians, lawyers and, above all, professors.

Susi's health problems also serve as yet still another poignant reminder of just how lethal exclusively indoor environments can be for cats. In particular, the introduction of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the 1970's has been blamed for a sharp increase in the incidences of FH.

Sarah Thönen Blames Susi's Death on Lucy F.

Used as flame retardants in electronics, carpeting, furniture, mattresses, and other such items, these deadly chemicals are not only ubiquitous to indoor environments but a cat's fastidiousness serves only to compound the perils that they present. (See Cat Defender post of August 22, 2007 entitled "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")

More recently, researchers have uncovered a possible link between FH and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS). These chemicals are found in, inter alia, nonstick cookware, stain-repellent sprays, carpeting, furniture, grease-resistant packaging such as pizza boxes and containers that hold French fries, and waxed dental floss. (See Miaomiao Wang, et alii, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, volume 37, issue number 10, September 19, 2018, "Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Northern California Cats: Temporal Comparison and Possible Link to Cat Hyperthyroidism.")

Of even greater concern, cats that are confined to apartments, as opposed to those that reside in houses with door flaps, do not have any conceivable means of escaping should their owners either die or desert them in times of emergencies. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2017 entitled "Paucho Somehow Made It Out of Grenfell Tower Alive but the Fate of the Dozens of Other Cats That Resided in the High-Rise Firetrap Remains Shrouded in Secrecy.")

At Stauffer's clinic, Susi was placed on an intravenous drip and administered antibiotics and other undisclosed drugs but even so her prospects never looked particularly promising. "Die Chance auf Heilung ist sehr gering," he told Tele Basel.

In videos posted on both der Sender's and the Basler Zeitung's web sites, her eyes are clear and bright and her fur is shiny but she apparently never did regain sufficient strength in order to get to her feet. TRB has not disclosed if she ever regained the capacity to eat and drink on her own and to use a litter box.

Appearances are deceiving, however, and it is anything but uncommon for deathly ill cats to mount last-ditch rallies before relapsing and breaking their owners' hearts to bits by suddenly dying. On the other hand, cats that look like death warmed over sometimes astound their owners by actually besting the Grim Reaper at his own macabre game. An owner never really knows what The Fates have in store unless he is willing to pull out all the stops, empty his wallet, and go to the mat for an ailing cat.

What transpired next is far from clear but it would appear that Susi was returned to TRB where she died all alone at some point during the night of June 7th. The exact cause of her death has not been announced and it is even doubtful that a necropsy was performed.

Considering her grave condition, she never should have been bandied about quite as much and left unmonitored. Rather, she should have been left at the surgery with an attendant by her side around the clock. If she had gone into distress, oxygen and other emergency medications could have been applied at once. At least she would not have been all alone.

It is a miserable state of affairs but about the only emergency assistance that veterinarians are willing to provide dying cats is supportive care that consists of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, painkillers, oxygen, and heating pads. They then wash their hands of them and whether they live or die is left up exclusively to them.

Perhaps Susi was largely beyond the help of veterinary medicine by that time but there cannot be any disputing that she richly deserved to have been given every chance in the world to have gone on living. Based upon the meager amount of information that has been made public, however, it is not possible to conclude that she ever received that from either Stauffer or TRB. There is nothing more precious in this world than the life of a cat and anyone unwilling to move both heaven and earth in order to save its life is a colossal phony and that goes double in the case of those that have been subjected to horrific and prolonged neglect.

The scum-of-the-earth Australians and New Zealanders are currently improvising every diabolical and inhumane means known to mankind in order to systematically exterminate millions of them and yet few individuals and groups around the world even care. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That He Has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages.")

With hatred of the species and its defenders being so widespread and vitriolic, it is difficult to imagine how that the death of any one cat could cause much more of a stir than does Mother's Day at an orphanage but that indeed has proven to be the case in the wake of Susi's passing. In particular, Rudin has called upon the local prosecutor to file charges of severe neglect against unnamed parties under article twenty-six of the Tierschutzgesetz.

In doing so she first called attention to the unconscionable neglect that Susi had experienced. "Seit Februar war die Katze allein in der Wohnung an der Bärenfelserstraße," she told the Basler Zeitung. "Niemand wolle die Verantwortung übernehmen."

She went on to recount the incalculable psychological damage that had been inflicted upon her. "Sicher hat Susi die alte Dame vermisst," she told the Basler Zeitung. "Vermutlich war sie nie viel allein vorher, und plötzlich wurde ihr nur einmal pro Tag Futter hingestellt."

While she had the wind up, she took a well-deserved backhanded swipe at French philosopher Réne Descartes who, in his 1637 magnus opus, Discours de la méthode, argued that animals are no more than machines (bêtes machine). From that ludicrous starting point he went on to declare that since only humans possess minds, souls, language, and can be edified that they therefore are the only beings worthy of compassion.

Just as Pythagoras and Aristotle certainly knew better, so does Rudin. "Tiere haben wie wir Gefühle," she continued to the Basler Zeitung. "Eine solche Einsamkeit ist schrecklich."

She was seconded in her call for a public inquiry into Susi's death by Stauffer. "Das ganze stellt meines Erachtens einen schweren Verstoß gegen das Tierschutzgesetz dar," he declared to Tele Basel.

Even so it would be surprising if anyone within Basel's legal and political establishment can be prevailed upon to open so much as a cursory examination into Susi's death. Moreover, it also would be almost unprecedented if charges were laid against any of the individuals and groups that were supposed to have been caring for her.

For example, no one in Oberrohrdorf, sixty-nine kilometers southeast of Basel via the A3 in Kanton Aargau, could be persuaded to look into the theft and beheading of Jordana Rebmann's beautiful cat, Runa.  (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2017 and February 28, 2018 entitled, respectively, "The Abduction, Brutal Slaying, and Diabolical Mutilation of Runa Leaves Her Owner Devastated and Strikes Fear into the Hearts of All Cat Lovers in a Small Town in Switzerland" and "The Hunt for Runa's Sadistic Killer Takes an Unexpected and Bizarre Turn but, Owing to the Polizei's Refusal to Take This Case Seriously, an Arrest Remains a Long Shot.")

The Swiss additionally kill cats for their flesh and pelts. Also, in 2009 a black cat named Bingo from the Maihofquartier in Luzern was placed under house arrest on trumped up charges. (See Cat Defender post of October 17, 2009 entitled "Bingo Is Placed Under House Arrest for Defending Himself Against a Neighbor Who Foolishly Intervened in a Cat Fight.")

Although in asking for an investigation into Susi's death Rudin did not publicly call out any particular individual or organization, TbB nonetheless felt an acute need to defend its refusal to intervene. "Leider war der publizierte Artikel (in the Basler Zeitung) unvollständig," the shelter declared in a June 18th press release that was posted on its web site. (See "Stellungnahme zum Fall der Katze Susi.") "Durch fehlende Informationen ist ein verzerrtes Bild des Falles der Katze Susi entstanden."

Béatrice Kirn Might Work "Herz und Seele" for Dogs but Not Cats

It began its defense by following the well-trodden path blazed by Thönen of ABES by blaming Lucy F. for not wanting to surrender Susi to a shelter. Secondly, it reiterated that it had not received the data that it had demanded concerning Susi's health and vaccination history.

Thirdly, it flatly refuted Bösch's declarations in regard to its intake policies concerning sickly and impecunious animals. "Wir nehmen fast täglich kranke Tiere auf, für deren medizinische Betreuung wir sorgen," it declared. "Diese hohen Kosten werden regelmässig durch uns getragen, wenn die Besitzer nicht ausfindig gemacht werden können oder sie sich in finanziellen Nöten befinden."

Shelter director Kirn later made that point even more explicit. "Wir nehmen jedes kranke Tier auf, keine Frage," she swore to the Basler Zeitung.

Fourthly, TbB maintains that it did not even know where Lucy F. lived. "Angaben zur Adresse der Besitzerin langen uns nicht vor," the press release declares.

Fifthly, it averred that even if it had been in possession of that vital piece of information it still would not have intervened out of a fear of the legal consequences. "Grundsätzlich dürfen wir keine Tiere aus Wohnungen holen, wenn uns keine Verzichtserklärung der Besitzerin oder deren Vertreter vorliegen, was nicht der Fall war, " the shelter maintained. "Wenn wir unerlaubt in eine Wohnung eingebrochen wären, hätten wir uns strafbar gemacht."

That is about as hypocritical and dishonest a position as any animal welfare organization could possibly take in that there can be little doubt that the authorities would not hesitate to break into locked apartments and houses in order to rescue men and women in extremis. Besides, Lucy F.'s guardian and BPS Basel certainly knew the location of her apartment and they, along with her landlord, most assuredly had keys to it and gladly would have unlocked it for TbB.

The reason that the shelter did not mount a rescue in Susi's case is that it did not want any part of her and could have cared less whether she lived or died. In that respect TbB is far from being the only shelter that operates in such a callous manner.

For example, in 2010 black holy roller Prophetess Royal Poinciana Sprewell ran out of money and was unable to pay either her rent or electricity bill. As a result, she did a runner and left behind her nine-year-old white Persian, Tavia, to tough it out in an unheated house in Kissimmee, Florida.

For whatever it is worth, she later claimed that she did stop by every three days in order to feed and water Tavia. That was hardly sufficient, however, and she was found dead on December 6th by Osceola County Animal Control (OCAC) of St. Cloud. A necropsy later determined that she had succumbed to a combination of hepatitus and kidney failure.

Even though OCAC had known of Tavia's plight for some time, it not only ordered Sprewell's neighbor, Santiago Sandoval, not to feed her but categorically refused to intervene itself until it was way too late. "Our hands are tied in that there has to be probable cause to ask a judge for a warrant to go into a private dwelling or business," the organization's Lee Radevaugh later pontificated.

Like TbB with Susi, he also was too cheap to have spent so much as a lousy sou on saving Tavia's life. "We are in a very economic (sic) distressed time and our resources are limited," he declared. "We really limit our responses to truly emergency situations (such as) injured animals, bite cases, and car accidents."

Quite obviously, he does not consider an elderly cat dying of malnutrition, dehydration, kidney failure, and hepatitus to be an emergency situation. Instead, he concurred with Sprewell's conclusion that Tavia had died of loneliness and accordingly refused to charge her with animal cruelty. He did not say so in so many words but he surely also fully realizes that it also is far cheaper not to look into such matters.

The Kissimmee Police Department and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office also backed up OCAC all the way by threatening to arrest anyone who broke into Sprewell's house in order to rescue Tavia. (See Cat Defender post of December 23, 2010 entitled "Tavia's Desperate Pleas for Help Fall Upon the Deaf Ears of the Evangelical Who Abandoned Her and the Heartless Officials and Citizens of Kissimmee.")

In spite of how badly that it failed Susi and the myriad of outrageous lies that it has served up to the public in its defense, TbB nonetheless would like everyone to believe that it works "mit Herz und Seele" for the animals. "Wieder Tiere noch Menschen lassen wir als Tierschutz-Organisation im Stich und stehen dreihundert-sechzig-fünf Tage im Jahr im Einsatz für das Wohl der Tiere," it concludes in its June 18th press release. "Wir bedauern es, dass Susi dieses Ende nehmen musste."

In the final analysis, however, it was far preferable that all TbB did for Susi was to tell lies and count its shekels in that it is hard to imagine it doing anything other than killing her off on the spot if it had gotten its hands on her. Things ultimately did not work out for her at TRB but at least that organization made an effort to save her.

In addition to also blaming Lucy F. for Susi's death, ABES has pledged to act with alacrity in future such cases. "Selbstkritisch müssen wir aus heutiger Sicht sagen, dass wir zu lange den Wunsch der Besitzerin befolgt haben, ihre Katze nicht ins Tierheim zu geben," Thönen told Tele Basel. "Bei einem künftigen ähnlichen Fall werden wir schneller das Wohl des Tieres ins Zentrum stellen."

Both Thönen and Kirn are moral degenerates who never have learned anything from their past mistakes; rather, they fervently believe that their salvation lies, not in doing the right thing, but rather in telling more lies and committing additional atrocities against cats. In furtherance of that objective, they accordingly have committed themselves to seizing and killing more cats like Susi so as to prevent their suffering and abuse, not from occurring, but rather from becoming public knowledge.

As best it could be determined, BPS Basel has not so far publicly commented on Susi's death but it nevertheless has an awful lot of explaining to do. First of all, when did it stop feeding and watering her?

Secondly, since it knew that she had become both despondent and incontinent, why did it not take her to a veterinarian? Thirdly, did it ever clean the apartment or did it lazily allow her to continue to languish there under unhygienic conditions?

Fourthly and most importantly of all, why did it wait until she was knocking on heaven's door before taking her to TRB? If it had acted responsibly just a few days sooner, there is a good chance that Susi would still be alive today.

Tierarzt Daniel Stauffer Tried to Save Susi

It is not only the behavior of the big players in this tragedy that must be scrutinized but also that of the lesser lights as well. For instance, Lucy F.'s guardian needs to be publicly identified and called upon to explain either his or her gross dereliction of duty.

In particular, when that individual was retained in order to look after her affairs it surely was with the understanding that the job included providing for Susi. Most obviously overlooked by that individual is the petit fait that there are thousands of cat and animal sitters in and around Basel. For example, Pet Sitting-24 of Winkel, ninety-eight kilometers east of Basel, advertises the availability of no less than achthundert-achtzig-zwei Tierbetreuer.

Cat sanctuaries would have been another option for Susi. Specifically, Katzenhaus in Pratteln is conveniently located less than twelve kilometers southeast of Basel.

There also is not any valid reason why the old folks' home where Lucy F. is currently residing could not have accepted Susi as well. For example, when sixty-six-year-old Gladys Wray was on her deathbed at Queen's Hospital in Romford in the London borough of Havering the institution waived its rules and allowed her to see her beloved Patch one last time. (See Cat Defender post of May 10, 2016 entitled "A London Hospital Waives Its Draconian Anti-Cat Rules and Grants the Final Wish of a Cancer Victim by Allowing Her to See Her Beloved Patch One Last Time.")

Perhaps the day will dawn sometime in the future when the operators of nursing homes will come to the realization that the benefits of allowing the elderly to keep their cats far outweigh the disadvantages. Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence already has arrived at that conclusion and as a consequence it has its own resident feline. (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.")

Everyone even remotely connected to Lucy F.'s dwelling on Bärenfelserstraße is also complicit, to one degree or another, in Susi's death. At the top of that list are the owner of the building, the superintendent, doormen, and maintenance personnel. Other residents, visitors, and delivery personnel also surely must have had some idea that something was sorely amiss in her apartment.

Unless Susi had been declawed, passersby in the hallway likely overheard her scratching against the door in a last-ditch effort to have extricated herself from her would-be tomb. Someone likewise surely must have overheard her plaintive cries for help but, as was the case with Tavia, chose to cold-heartedly ignore them.

It furthermore is odd that no one complained about the odor left behind due to her weak bladder. Besides, tenants most assuredly must have encountered personnel from BPS Basel going in and coming out of Lucy F.'s apartment from time to time and accordingly queried them concerning what was afoot.

Without first knowing the particulars of her physical, mental, and financial health, it would be grossly unfair to blame Lucy F. for Susi's death. Perhaps she did the best that she could for her but was simply overwhelmed by events that were beyond her control.

Forgotten by their relatives, friends, society, and even time itself, many elderly individuals come to rely upon their cats as their lifelines to the living world. Although completely understandable, such situations do not bode well, as Susi discovered to her horror, for the long-term health and well-being of their devoted and faithful companions.

"Es ist schrecklich und absolut unbegreiflich, was passiert ist," Rudin of TRB declared to Tele Basel. Since she is so intimately involved in animal protection, she could not possibly be either that naïve or uninformed.

Im Gegenteil, cats are abandoned to die lonely and prolonged deaths inside locked apartments and houses every day of the week all around the world and with similar dénouements to that which happened to Susi. The only real difference between them and the Susis and Tavias of this world is that their plights never make the news; instead, they either starve to death or shelters kill them immediately after removing them from behind locked doors.

For example on June 22nd, firemen rescued five hungry and dehydrated kittens from an apartment in Köln. Along with them they also discovered the lifeless body of their owner who had been dead for a month. (See the Express of Köln, June 25, 2019, "Sie lebten neben einer Leiche Katzen nach Horror-Monat au Kölner Wohnung gerettet" and Bild of Berlin, June 25, 2019, "Katzen haarten wochenlang neben totem Herrchen aus.")

Three of them required hospitalization before they were able to rejoin their littermates at Tierheim Köln-Dellbrück in Köln. "Jetzt sind alle wieder bei uns und es geht ihnen 'den Umständen entsprechend' gut," the shelter announced June 26th on its Facebook page.

A handsome, ten-year-old tuxedo subsequently renamed Ian was put through an equally hellish experience in May of 2013 when his elderly guardian died unexpectedly. Alerted by neighbors who had not seen the pensioner out and about for some time, Police Community Support Officer Ian Concannon was summoned to her house on Knightwick Crescent in the Kingstanding section of north Birmingham where he discovered his future namesake curled up beside his owner's lifeless body.

Press reports at the time neglected to disclose either how long Ian's owner had been dead or how long that he had been forced to go without food, water, and companionship. It does not take much imagination, however, to realize that he was subjected to a simply dreadful ordeal.

"The circumstances were very sad and it must have been awful for the cat," Sheila Pennell of Cats Protection later said. "He was trapped indoors wondering why his owner wouldn't wake up, feed him or let him out."

Things did not improve all that much for him even after his deliverance in that none of his guardian's relatives wanted any part of him. They did not even know his name and that in turn necessitated in him being forced to borrow one from Concannon.

Pennell took him in for a while but it was not until after two failed adoptions that he finally found another home during the middle of June and that, sadly, was the last ever heard of him. (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.")

Even those cats that are rescued fairly soon after the deaths of their owners still have an uphill struggle ahead of them. For instance, when the unidentified owner of a twelve-year-old brown, gray, and white tom named Harvey died in December of 2016 he wound up at Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

In addition to the trauma of losing both his guardian and home, he was forced to accustom himself to living in a cage surrounded by countless other homeless cats and all sorts of strange smells. "Older cats who lose their owners sometimes find it harder than youngsters to come out of their shells at the center," Sara Atkinson of YCR said in an August 14, 2017 press release. (See "Twice Returned Cat Seeks Loving Home.") "They just don't feel at home in a pen, and really should be making themselves comfortable on a sofa, with someone who appreciates the benefits of adopting an older cat."

The End of the Line for Susi, the Cat No One Was Willing to Save

In Harvey's case, he was subjected to at least two failed adoptions and one fostering situation that did not work out during the first fifteen months following the death of his guardian. "We never give up on any cat who needs us," YCR proclaims on its web site and, at least in Harvey's case, it has been true to its creed.

So, at last report, he had been in foster care since February 26, 2018 with YCR picking up the tab for his food and veterinary care. (See Cat Defender posts of August 31, 2017 and March 12, 2018 entitled, respectively, "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" and "Much Like a Nightmare That Stubbornly Refuses to End, Harvey Continues to Be Shuttled from One Home to Another at the Expense of His Health and Well-Being.")

The easiest solution to the dilemma of what to do with the cats of the elderly would be for their children to adopt them. That is what Beverley Hume of Newcastle-upon-Tyne did with her parents' beloved fifteen-year-old cat, Ginger.

She lovingly cared for him for ten years until disaster struck on October 13, 2011 and put an abrupt end to all of her good work. That was when an unidentified local resident stole him from her garden and delivered him to the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter on Benton Road.

The shelter in turn handed him off to Blythman and Partners in the Gosforth section of town who promptly snuffed out his life on the pretext that he was ill and in pain. Needless to say, the veterinarians' criminality left Hume both brokenhearted and livid.

"Ginger was put down without our consent, without giving us a chance to find him," she later said. "We should have been given at least twenty-four hours to find him. We believe our rights have been taken away by the vets." (See Cat Defender post of January 11, 2012 entitled "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")

Other than giving a cat to a close relative in order to care for, the next best option in most circumstances is to place it in a sanctuary. Such arrangements can be expensive, however, and difficult to get out of should an owner have a change of heart.

For example, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer Sheila Beg voluntarily surrendered her three cats to Tabby's Place in East Amwell, twenty-one kilometers northwest of Princeton, on October 1, 2007. She also paid the sanctuary US$30,000 for their continued care.

Fortunately for her, the doctors were wrong and her health improved. She accordingly asked that her cats be returned to her.

Sadly, one of them had died during the interim while another one had been adopted by and employee of the facility. That left only eleven-year-old Onyx but Tabby's place refused to return him even though Berg not only graciously consented to pay an adoption fee but also agreed not to ask that her money be returned.

"I feel like I really goofed with them. It's not fair," she told The Times of Trenton on June 13, 2008. (See "Suing Shelter, All Woman Wants Is Her Cat Back.") "I don't understand. There's nothing I can do but fight for him."

Despite its less than stellar record in caring for her other two cats, the sanctuary nevertheless maintained that it was a fitter guardian for Onyx than Berg. "They say they don't think she can take care of the cat because of her fight against cancer," Berg's lawyer, Corey E. Aheart, explained to The Times. "We've provided them with a doctor's note saying she can take care of the cat and they said that's not good enough."

The custody battle was scheduled to have been argued before Judge Maria Sypek of Chancery Court in Mercer County but the outcome is not known. Besides, by this time Onyx would be twenty-two years old if he is still alive.

Neither of those two alternatives in any way profit those cats that belong to owners who do not have either living relatives, the money to utilize sanctuaries, or die unexpectedly. Technology, however, could be of enormous help.

For instance, feeding bowls could be equipped with alarms that would sound if they are not refilled, say, every twenty-four hours. The technology could be as simple as that contained in smoke alarms that emit loud, piercing sirens until someone shuts them off. On the other hand, food dishes could be programmed to send distress signals to either their manufacturers, emergency personnel, or feline rescue groups.

An even cheaper alternative would be for cat rescue groups to check in at least once a week via the telephone with elderly owners who reside alone. Such a service would cost almost nothing to operate and it would save countless feline lives. In fact, the savings in veterinary care alone would more than pay for it given that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

That would pretty much take care of one half of the equation but there is little value in using technology in order to save feline lives if their rescuers are going to turn around and kill them. Rather, the way in which all societies treat cats, especially elderly ones, needs to be radically changed.

In that respect, only the enactment of laws that outlaw the killing of all cats under all circumstances will suffice. In particular, shelters, veterinarians, and others must no longer be permitted to use a cat's age, sickness, injuries, and alleged lack of sociability as convenient excuses in order to justify their extermination schemes.

In conclusion, press reports have steered clear of informing the public as to what was done with Susi's remains but there can be little doubt that they were either tossed out in the trash or incinerated. Without a memorial service, a grave, and a tombstone, it is almost as if she never had so much as graced the face of the earth.

It likewise has not been revealed what has become of Lucy F. or if she even has been informed regarding what happened to Susi. For all that the outside world knows, those around her could have informed her that her beloved cat has been adopted by a loving family and is doing well.

All alone, forgotten, sickly, and possibly mentally impaired, Lucy F.'s burdens have only increased with the losses of both Susi and her home. She now has been sentenced to rot in an old folks' home and even on their best of days the vast majority of them are little more than hellholes for he damned. (See John Grisham's short-story "Quiet Haven" which is contained in his 2009 collection, the Ford County Stories and chapter sixteen of John D. MacDonald's 1977 novel, Condominium, for a vivid description of the deplorable conditions that prevailed at his fictional Crestwood Nursing Home.)

There is not very much in the way of justice to be found anywhere in this life but even so there is a saying on the street that "what goes around comes around" and it therefore is remotely conceivable that some of those individuals and groups who so miserably failed Susi will one day find themselves in analogous situations. That is indeed a dénouement not only to be hoped for but no less than what all of them so richly deserve. They are only humans after all and not very good representatives of their species at that.

Photos: the Basler Zeitung (Susi shortly before her death), Tele Basel (Susi with Rudin and dead), Amt für Beistandschaften und Erwachsenenschutz (Thönen), Tierschutz bieder Basel (Kirn), and Tierhilfe Regio Basel (Stauffer).