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Cat Defender

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace Kelly Calls the Roll of Her Fellow Felines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Museum's Dedicated Staffers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Anti-Looting Sign on Duval Street

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

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

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

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

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

Most amazing of all, at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a cat named Oscar is able to predict the arrival of the Grim Reaper with far greater accuracy than the trained physicians on staff. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2007 and May 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Visit from Oscar Means That the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at a Rhode Island Nursing Home" and "When Lovers, Friends, Health, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left.")

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

Hairy Truman Contemplates Writing His Memoirs...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the first shock, an Oakland minister said:

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

And added, after the third:

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

...while an Orange Cat Is Content to Soak Up Knowledge the Easy Way

If it should have been the karma of the staffers to have perished, they could not have picked better company to have exited this vale of tears with than their loyal and loving cats. Besides, unlike the minister in Oakland, turning tail and running was hardly a viable option for them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

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

The Ill-Fated King Loui I with His Tracking Collar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loui and Nadine Biewer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loui Spent Most of His Life All Alone on the Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loui Sick and Not Eating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Will Be Mia's Schicksal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loui Was Always the Deer in the Headlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

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

Frank Contemplates Doing a Little Web Surfing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Relaxing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Through its work in saving cats like Frank and Harvey, YCR is demonstrating conclusively that not only old cats but even those with medical problems are worth saving. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2017 entitled "With His Previous Owner Long Dead and Nobody Seemingly Willing to Give Him a Second Chance at Life, Old and Ailing Harvey Has Been Sentenced to Rot at a Shelter in Yorkshire.")

Frank in His New Home Back in April

Half a world away in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Tiny Kittens is likewise demonstrating through its rescue of Grandpa Mason and countless other felines that the only morally acceptable way of treating old and sickly cats is to provide them with shelter, food, veterinary care and, above all, to allow them to finish out their terribly brief stays upon this earth. (See Cat Defender post of July 24, 2017 entitled "A Rescue Group in British Columbia Compassionately Elects to Spare Grandpa Mason's Life and in Return for Doing So It Receives an Unexpected Reward Worth More Than Gold Itself.")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Yorkshire Cat Rescue.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The other one concerned a female cruelly misnomered as Pops who eventually was taken in by an unidentified family in Bath, Somerset. (See Cat Defender posts of August 6, 2015 and September 12, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Elderly, Frail, and on Death Row, Lovely Pops Desperately Needs a New Home Before Time Finally Runs Out on Her" and "Pops Finally Secures a Permanent Home but Pressing Concerns about Both Her Continued Care and Right to Live Remain Unaddressed.")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example, a cat named Tilly has spent just about all of her long life at such a facility in the West Midlands. (See Cat Defender post of May 27, 2016 entitled "Snubbed by an Ignorant, Tasteless, and Uncaring Public for the Past Twenty-One Years, Tilly Has Forged an Alternative Existence of Relative Contentment at a Sanctuary in the Black Country.")

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

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

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

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

Photo: Yorkshire Cat Rescue.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

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

Suspect Number One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suspect Number Two

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

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

That is precisely what Neil Tregarthen of Truro in Cornwall was forced into doing after both the Devon and Cornwall Police as well as the RSPCA categorically refused to investigate the murder of his daughter's beloved fourteen-month-old black cat, Farah, by an assailant wielding an air gun. The peepers did their job in that they were able to locate and identify a suspect but even that proved to be insufficient in order to get any movement out of the authorities. (See Cat Defender post of April 2, 2015 entitled "Cornishman Shells Out £10,000 on Private Peepers in Order to Track Down Farah's Killer but Once Again Gets Stiffed by Both the Police and the RSPCA.")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suspect Number Three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Volunteers Have Cared for the Cats Since 2000

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

All of that came to light in 2006 when it was caught disposing of the bodies of its victims in Dumpsters. Reprehensibly, the morons who dispense justice in the Tar Heel State let off the murderers scot-free. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killings Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Resident Peers Out from the Desolate and Dangerous Underwood Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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