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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

Monday, March 12, 2018

Much Like a Nightmare That Stubbornly Refuses to End, Harvey Continues to Be Shuttled from One Home to Another at the Expense of His Health and Well-Being

Harvey Has Had Five Homes Within the Past Fifteen Months

"He is one of a kind and utterly lovely. He is just quite specific about his demands -- no other pets, no noisy kids, all attention and love on him. That's not a bad deal, is it?"
-- Yorkshire Cat Rescue

As far as it is known, no cat possesses the power to divine the future. With that being the case, even having the good fortune to have entered this world in perfect health, a happy kittenhood, and a good life as a mature adult cat are not preventatives against the vicissitudes of old age.

In particular, the infirmities that accompany growing old are themselves difficult enough for any cat to deal with but for one to suddenly find itself uprooted from its home and abandoned to either the streets or unjustly incarcerated at some hellhole shelter is, quite often, entirely too much for it to overcome at such a late stage in its life. About the only thing positive that can be said about such tragic dénouements is that they are still preferable to being whacked by unscrupulous veterinarians at the behest of their perfidious owners.

Although he was only concerned with man's lot, Sophocles knew that in order to have had a good life an individual had to be not only happy throughout his days but also to drag his happiness down into the crypt with him. He makes that clear in the concluding lines of Oedipus Rex where he argues as follows:

"Let every man in mankind's frailty
consider the last day; and let none
Presume on his good fortune until he find
Life, at his death, a memory without pain."

So, too, is it doubtlessly the case with cats and at an undisclosed location in, presumably, West Yorkshire, a fourteen-year-old brown, gray, and white tom named Harvey is currently struggling to come to grips with that eternal dilemma. Although practically nothing has been publicly disclosed about his first twelve years upon this earth, his fortunes took a downward tumble in December of 2016 when his guardian died.

As a result, he was unceremoniously dumped at Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley and that was destined to be only the first of four lengthy stays for him at that facility over the course of the following fifteen months. His first incarceration was, mercifully, a brief one in that the charity was able to place him in a new home shortly after his arrival.

Unfortunately, he did not hit it off with his owners' other resident feline and they quickly threw in the towel on him and returned him to YCR. The next time around he was adopted by an unidentified woman in Leeds, thirty-three kilometers southeast of Keighley, but she soon thereafter allegedly became ill and likewise dumped him back into YCR's lap.

So, within a period of less than six months he had been bandied about between no fewer than three homes on top of three separate stays at YCR. "But he really is completely lovely -- just so desperately unlucky," is how that the charity's Sam Davies summed up his cruel fate.

Despite those devastating setbacks, the shelter to its credit vowed not to give up on him. "This poor lad has spent the summer with us, and still no luck in finding him a home," its Sara Atkinson lamented last year. (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.")

The long hot summer dragged into a chilly autumn and Harvey still found himself firmly encased behind bars at YCR. In fact, it was not until early November that he was given a new lease on life and even that positive break did not materialize until after the charity had come up with a novel and experimental stratagem in order to get him into another home.

"As you know Harvey has been with us for quite some time but he has now found a loving permanent fosterer and it looks like he has decided to stay there and let her look after him and his wonkiness," YCR announced November 7th on its Facebook page.

Under that unusual arrangement, YCR took it upon itself to foot the bill for his food and veterinary care with the fosterer providing only a place for him to live and, supposedly, pledging to take good care of him. It nevertheless is unclear who actually had legal custody of him and, much more importantly, which party would have been liable if he had been abused or mistreated in any fashion.

The positive aspect of such arrangements is that they do get cats like Harvey out of cages at shelters and into homes. On the negative side of the equation, fosterers are not required to make any moral, legal, or financial commitments to those that they bring into their lives and they accordingly are free to return them to YCR at any time.

The situation is analogous to the adoption fees that shelters charge. One theory maintains that there is a causal link between the size of those fees and the sincerity of the adopter. For instance, the higher the fee, the greater the degree of commitment.

Another theory holds that lowering them actually saves lives by making it possible to place more cats in homes. It is difficult to know which theory is closest to the truth owing to, inter alia, the paucity of research conducted on this subject and the multitude of variables and value judgments that would need to be sorted out before any firm conclusions could be reached.

In Harvey's case, however, YCR's experiment turned out to have been an unmitigated disaster. "I then had the most amazing foster mum but I of course had to be trouble and make sure she knew that I do not share my human with other pets," the charity, speaking on behalf of him, announced February 10th on Facebook. "So I am back here looking for a new home!"

There are at least four things that can be said about that debacle. First of all, any woman who would give up on an elderly cat after only three months was not a fit guardian for him in the first place.

Secondly, YCR once again dropped the ball by placing Harvey in such an untenable situation. Thirdly, it needs to seriously rethink this entire business of placing him with so-called permanent fosterers or, at the very least, to be forthright enough to call them what they really are and that is nothing more than short-term guardians who do not have any firm commitments to the Harveys of this world.

Fourthly, it is not only outrageous but totally unforgivable that YCR has fobbed off all the blame for the failure of this half-baked expedient onto the tiny shoulders of Harvey. Au contraire, it is the charity and the fosterer who have failed him and not vice-versa.

For its part, YCR is culpable for failing to realize that all cats are individuals with different personalities, histories, and experiences in life. C'est-à-dire, one size does not fit all.

Most egregious of all, it does not have any earthly way of knowing what types and amounts of verbal and physical abuse that he may have been subjected to at the hands of the fosterer and her other pets. After all, the woman is free to badmouth him until the cows come home but he is unable to speak up for himself.

Based upon the deleterious effect that his latest foray into the adoption thicket has had upon his health, the miseries, torments, and possible abuse that he may have suffered were anything but insubstantial. "When I came back here I was all shouty and confused," YCR stated for him February 10th on Facebook. "I was a bit all over the place and not at all the cuddly Harvey they remembered from all those months ago."

In its defense, YCR insists that Harvey is suffering from a benign brain tumor and that is what is causing his agitation, wobbly gait, and forgetfulness. Yet at the same time it insists that its veterinarians cannot find any presence of such a growth.

Harvey Desperately Needs a Home Before Time Runs Out on Him

Given that there are various diagnostic tests which are fairly accurate in detecting such growths, YCR should not be allowed to have it both ways. If Harvey does have a tumor, it needs to be closely monitored and, if conditions so merit, treated and possibly even removed.

If that is not the case, the charity should stop blaming his health for its own incompetence. In that light, it certainly is odd that he was said to have been in excellent health when he first arrived at the shelter and it was not until after he had returned from YCR's first failed attempt to adopt him out that a noticeable decline in it was detected.

It accordingly very well could be the case that the changes in both his personality and physical health could be at least in part attributable to his being bandied about like a Flying Dutchman between the shelter and various homes. If, on the other hand, the right home environment could be secured for him both his mental and physical health might very well improve almost overnight.

It is almost superfluous to point out, but the absolute last thing on earth that this fourteen-year-old cat needs and deserves is additional time in either a cage or foster care. "...I can get a bit confused, lost and agitated," YCR said for him February 10th on Facebook. "...I wondered why every cat else was finding it easier here (at the shelter) than me!"

Because of his advanced years and health concerns, YCR next issued a call to find him a home with a guardian who would be willing to overlook his forgetfulness and personality quirks. If one could be found with an enclosed garden that would be all the better considering his love for the great outdoors.

"As you know Harvey is back with us and we are struggling to find him a suitable home due to him being an old boy with...hmmm...lots of character," it stated February 16th on Facebook. "Everyone at the centre love him dearly but this is not the best place for a wobbly oldie who does not like other cats."

It then went on to elaborate on just how difficult a job that it had on its hands. "Yes, he is demanding. Yes, he is on the older side. Yes, he is loud. Yes, he is wonky. But he is also a charmer. A cuddler," it added. "He is one of a kind and utterly lovely. He is just quite specific about his demands -- no other pets, no noisy kids, all attention and love on him. That's not a bad deal, is it?"

Certainly not in that Harvey would make a simply fantastic addition to some lucky individual's life. Above all, that person could love him completely and without reservations knowing that those sentiments were fully reciprocated.

It did not take long for that plaintive appeal to bear fruit but whether it is of the edible or the poisonous variety remains to be determined. "We are so happy to say that he has found a permanent fosterer and a retirement home," a much relieved YCR proudly announced February 26th on Facebook.

Although the charity is deserving of the highest praise possible for standing by Harvey, its decision to once again pay someone to take him in on a temporary basis is extremely troubling. That is especially the case given that it has omitted any mention whatsoever of whether or not the fosterer meets all of the requirements that it outlined on February 16th.

Even more outrageously, it once again has placed the onus of making this arrangement work upon Harvey. "All he has to do now is play nice and make sure this stays his forever home!" it cautioned February 26th on Facebook.

That certainly does not sound like it is expecting this arrangement to work out. Whereas the charity's position is completely understandable given that being behind bars is having a debilitating effect upon his health, bandying him about from home to home under who knows what conditions is not good for him either. In fact, the stress could very well eventually kill him.

The most logical solution from the outset would have been for a staffer at YCR to have adopted him but since that has not occurred it is most likely attributable to all of them already caring for multiple felines. Much like the Epicurean gods who were said to have resided in the intermundia, Harvey thus seems to be beyond the help of all but a few genuine cat-lovers and that in turn has whittled down the pool of potential adopters to those that have little or no experience in caring for cats in general and especially those with his pressing needs.

Although the organization has not commented one way or the other on this subject, Harvey's disdain for other cats is most likely attributable to his either being weaned too early or the product of his having spent his entire adult life with a one-cat guardian. In some instances, issues of this type can be resolved over time with work, patience, and a certain amount of savoir-faire but owing to his age, personality, and background that may not be feasible in this instance. Besides, he has been put through enough experimentation already and it would not be conducive to his well-being to subject him to any more stress and turmoil.

That does not appear to leave YCR with all that many alternatives but the most promising of which would be to attempt to place him with an elderly woman who recently had lost a cat. The difficulty with that would be to first identify such individuals and then to convince one of them to take on the care of Harvey. That is admittedly a long shot but it may be his only hope.

If it has not done so already, YCR ought to at least consider broadening its appeal beyond West Yorkshire. Advertising is sans doute an expensive proposition but both England and Scotland are chock-full of cat-lovers and there is at least some small measure of hope that such an appeal might very well produce positive results.

Every individual and organization involved in this process has failed Harvey to one extent or the other. First of all, his late guardian neglected to make any provisions for his continued care and that person's survivors likewise wanted no part of him and could have cared less what became of him.

Secondly, the three caretakers who subsequently invited him into their homes quickly gave up on him and thereby established beyond a doubt their unworthiness to be cat owners. Thirdly, the charity has put him through pure hell by subjecting him to three badly botched adoptions while during the interims sentencing him to languish in a cage for months on end.

Seemingly unwilling to have profited from its past mistakes, it now has fobbed him off on another suspect guardian with, from all outward appearances, little hope of success. It is, however, the charity's maligning of Harvey and blaming him for its own mistakes that galls the most. With this world being so jam-packed with despisers of the species, cats such as Harvey certainly do not need and deserve to be publicly excoriated and maliciously libeled by an organization that claims to be in their corner.

As any halfway sensible individual can easily comprehend, Harvey is the victim not the victimizer that YCR would have the naîve to believe. Furthermore, denigrating cats who have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune is so repulsive and outrageous that it is deserving of being proscribed by law.

As troubling as some of YCR's comments and actions have been the sad truth of the matter is that it is all that is standing between him and a date with the hangman. Even so its patience and resources are not limitless and that makes it imperative that some conscientious member of the public comes forward soon and offers him a permanent and loving home.

Plus, time is fast running out on him and it is questionable just how much more of this senseless bandying about that he is capable of withstanding. Fiddling around as Nero was said to have done while Rome burned is not an option in his case.

To have put any cat through what Harvey has been subjected to over the course of the past fifteen months is totally unacceptable and it accordingly is high time that YCR found him a permanent home. Most importantly of all, it never must be forgotten that he is not asking for anything more than what he so richly deserves.

Photos: Facebook.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Hunt for Runa's Sadistic Killer Takes an Unexpected and Bizarre Turn but, Owing to the Polizei's Refusal to Take the Case Seriously, an Arrest Remains a Long Shot

Runa and Jordana Rebmann in Happier Days

"Die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist aber klein, dass der Fall aufgeklärt wird."
-- Bernhard Graser von die Kantonspolizei Aargau

Even under the very best of circumstances the wheels of justice grind agonizingly slowly. When it comes to cats that have been victimized by abusers, however, it is almost impossible for their owners and supporters to attract even the tiniest bit of attention from those who are charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty statutes and what was done to a beautiful three-year-old gray Norwegian Forest Cat-British Shorthair-mix named Runa from Oberrohrdorf, thirty kilometers north of Zurich, last November 17th is an infuriating example of such gross malfeasance and indifference.

On that date, she was abducted, savagely beaten to death, and then decapitated. Even that outrageous atrocity was not sufficient in order to assuage her killer's hatred; on the contrary, as soon as he had finished with Runa he immediately went after her owners as well.

He did so by transporting, most likely by foot, Runa's still warm and bleeding torso to Buacherstraße 6 where he dumped it in the garden of fifty-nine-year-old Jordana Rebmann. Her husband, Jörg, made the grisly discovery some time later when he ventured out of doors.

Brazen beyond belief, the killer returned to the Rebmanns' Grundstück a day later in order to deposit Runa's collar in the hedge. Given that the Halsband was the type that can only be removed by cutting it in two, the fact that it was still intact demonstrated that it either had fallen off or been removed after her head had been severed.

Press reports are not specific, but at about that same time a next-door neighbor of the Rebmanns also found Runa's name tag. It is far from clear but presumably it was retrieved from somewhere near the boundary line that separates the two residences.

The rather obvious conclusion to be drawn from those twin discoveries is that Runa's killer made at least two and possibly three trips to the Rebmanns' house. He quite obviously wanted to make them fully aware of not only what he had done to their cat but also that he knew their names and address as well.

In the aftermath of the killing, Frau Rebmann took Runa's remains to an unidentified veterinarian for a necropsy which revealed that she had sustained multiple injuries and internal bleeding before she was decapitated. What else, if anything, that the attending veterinarian learned from his examination of her remains has not been released to the public.

Rebmann also wasted no time in notifying the Kantonspolizei Aargau but that utterly worthless authority apparently did absolutely nothing beyond letting fly with a few perfunctory statements. For instance, it is highly doubtful that it even bothered to collect forensic evidence from Runa's fur, teeth, and claws.

It likewise is highly improbable that her collar and name tag were dusted for fingerprints. Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing in the public record to indicate that the Rebmanns' garden was treated as a crime scene and gone over thoroughly for blood, footprints, and other forensic evidence.

Longtime Gemeindeammann Kurt Scherer issued a statement condemning the killing but since then there has not been anything from him that would tend to indicate that either he or his fellow politicians have lifted so much as a lousy finger in order to bring Runa's killer to justice. Developments in this tragic case are difficult to follow from afar, but as best as it could be determined not a single animal protection group in the entire canton of Aargau has either opened an investigation into this matter or offered a reward for information that might lead to the apprehension of the perpetrator.

The Rebmanns and their two children accordingly have been abandoned by the authorities to their shock, grief, and unallayed fears. As a result, Frau Rebmann suffered a nervous breakdown at work shortly after Runa was killed and had to be driven home by a co-worker. Her children likewise have been left traumatized.

With the police and animal protection groups in Aargua being the worthless and uncaring sods that they are everywhere else in this world, this story appeared to be at an end. Runa's killer never was going to be caught and the Rebmanns had been left to persevere as best they could under simply horrible circumstances.

The criminal investigation into Runa's killing, which never actually became open and active in the first place, now was permanently closed, filed away, and forgotten by the authorities. The holidays came and went and almost three months had been crossed off the calendar when, during either the first or second week of February, the long dead and all but forgotten case once again sprang to life in a totally unexpected and bizarre fashion.

Acting upon a tip, presumably anonymous, the Kantonspolizei Aargau returned unexpectedly to the Rebmanns' Grundstück where they, reportedly, found the murder weapon. The nature of the Tatwaffe, where it was found, and how that the Polizei determined that it was indeed the instrument that had been used in order to put an end to Runa's short life have not been publicly disclosed.

"Vor wenigen Tagen haben wir einen entscheidenden Hinweis erhalten und in der Folge die mutmassliche Tatwaffe sicherstellen können," was all that Bernhard Graser of the force was willing to divulge to the Aargauer Zeitung on February 15th. (See "Fall der geköpften Katze Runa: Polizei findet die Tatwaffe.")

Far from being an unqualified good, that startling development raises far more questions than it answers. First of all, if the Polizei had been willing to have done their due diligence they surely would have found the weapon at the outset. Secondly, how did its presence escape the attention of the Rebmanns and their next-door neighbors for so long?

Those considerations segue into the third question of who it was that actually found it and under what circumstances. It possibly could have been that a kid retrieving an errant ball had accidentally stumbled upon it but that somehow does not seem all that plausible under the circumstances.

Fourthly, the identity of the tipster also is problematic. In the United States, and presumably Switzerland as well, the police allow all incoming telephone calls to ring for a long time so that they can trace them. By the time that they finally do pick up they already know the location of the caller and whether he is using a landline or a mobile device.

Letters likewise can be traced via their postmarks, the type of stationery used, the sender's handwriting, fingerprints, and other forensic clues. It is not always possible to make an arrest based solely upon such meager data but they do provide officers with numerous leads to pursue.

Fifthly and perhaps most perplexing of all, how did the Polizei determine that the weapon found either on or near the Rebmanns' property was the one that had been used in order to kill Runa? Since it presumably had been lying out in the cold, rain, snow, and ice for so many months, it is difficult to believe that it still could have had even trace amounts of blood and fur left on it that the Polizei could have used in order to have made a DNA comparison.

"If a body is left out in the sun and rain, its DNA will be useful for testing for only a few weeks," Slate reported on February 5, 2013. (See "What's the Shelf-Life of DNA?")

While it is certainly possible that DNA found on steel and metal objects could be considerably more durable, especially if it had been shielded somewhat from the elements by, say, lying in a culvert, that constitutes only half of the equation. In order to be of any use to investigators, that DNA would still need to be compared with some that had been taken from Runa's remains and there is absolutely nothing in the public record to even suggest that any was taken by either the Polizei or the veterinarian who performed the necropsy.

Sixthly, there is the grisly issue of exactly how that Runa was killed and how many weapons that her killer used in the commission of that heinous crime. The most logical starting point is that he trapped her and that usually requires a cage.

Given that Runa was said to have been a very friendly cat, it is remotely conceivable that she knew her killer and thus unwittingly walked into his lair but that is considerably less likely. It likewise goes almost without saying that it is almost impossible for a stranger to capture a cat with his bare hands.

The only other possibility that readily comes to mind is that she could have been killed by either a bullet or an arrow fired directly into her head and the decapitated afterwards. That possibility also could help to explain why that her killer did not return her severed head with her torso.

Jordana Rebmann at the Spot Where Runa's Torso Was Found

After the perpetrator had successfully lured Runa into a cage, he likely next took her into either his house or garage so that he could carry out his cleverly hatched plan in privacy and far removed from the prying eyes and ears of his neighbors. His next move likely involved opening her cage and then clubbing her over the head one or more times with either a hammer or some other blunt object.

Even in confined quarters a cat is still capable of putting up quite a spirited struggle and that possibly could account for the multiple external injuries and internal bleeding that Runa sustained. While fighting for her life, she also may have been able to have sunk her claws and teeth into her attacker and that is why it is simply unpardonable that DNA evidence was not collected from them.

It also is conceivable that he tortured her with pepper spray, pressurized hot water, or some other diabolical substance while she was still caged as amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. of München did with Andreas O's cat, Rocco, in December of 2010. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "A Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")

Such diabolical treatment could have been meted out to her for hours on end until she finally lost consciousness. Once she had lapsed into that state it would have been an easy matter for her killer to have removed her from the cage and then used a knife, ax, or power tool in order to have dismembered her.

It thus would appear that her assailant employed multiple weapons in order to snuff out her life. That in turn calls into question the significance of the Polizei's recent discovery.

Looking at this matter from an entirely different angle, it also is conceivable that the story put out by the Polizei is a red herring designed to blunt criticism of its disgraceful failure to have solved this troubling case months ago. A far likelier scenario is that the killer once again returned to the Rebmanns' property and planted a weapon,  but not necessarily the one that he had used in the commission of this crime.

If there should be any credence to that line of reasoning, the next shoe to drop very well could be the depositing of Runa's head in or near the Rebmanns' garden at some future date. In that respect, it is regrettable that they have publicly disclosed that they have installed an alarm system and surveillance cameras.

If the weapon that recently came to light had been planted on their property, hidden and unpublicized cameras might very well have captured an image of the culprit. The same scenario would have held true if the killer had attempted to return Runa's head without knowing of the existence of the newly installed cameras.

As for why that he would choose to behave in such a fashion, there are at least two plausible explanations. First of all, he undoubtedly wants to inflict as much pain and sorrow as it is humanly possible upon the Rebmanns and, above all, to instill a sense of fear in them.

Secondly, he is a very emboldened individual who fervently believes that he is operating beyond the reach of the law and, given the shameful conduct of the Polizei, he is richly entitled to his feelings of invincibility. It accordingly would not be the least bit surprising if he were not laughing off his evil ass at this very moment at both the Polizei and the Rebmanns.

From the very beginning, the Polizei has lamely attempted to shirk its responsibility to fully and thoroughly investigate this matter by ludicrously floating the disingenuous theory that Runa could have been attacked by a wild animal and if this latest development has accomplished nothing else it finally has laid to rest such mindless and dishonest speculation. "Damit lagen wir richtig in der Annahme, dass der Kopf mutwillig abgetrennt wurde," Graser finally conceded to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Die Katze wurde also nicht von einem Wildtier oder durch einen Unfall getötet."

Even this latest development has not proven sufficient in order to get the Polizei to take this matter seriously. "Unsere Hoffnung ist nun, über die sichergestellte, mutmassliche Tatwaffe weiterzukommen," Graser pledged to the Aargauer Zeitung.

As any halfway knowledgeable individual knows only too well, hope does not solve criminal cases; on the contrary, doing so requires a commitment to do so and significant expenditures of both manpower and dollars. Since the Polizei is unwilling to do any of that, nothing has really changed as far as this investigation is concerned.

"Die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist aber klein, dass der Fall aufgeklärt wird," Graser acknowledged in his next breath to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Wenn dann bei solch aussergewöhnlichen Delikten kein Motiv erkennbar ist, sind Rückschlüsse auf die Täterschaft umso schwieriger."

On that last point he is completely wrong. For instance, the individual who killed and mutilated Runa and then dumped her torso in her owners' garden quite obviously not only hates cats with a passion but their caretakers as well.

Based upon an examination of prior crimes of this sort, the killer's modus operandi is easily recognizable as being that of a bird lover. Solving this case accordingly could have been as simple as identifying every ornithologist, both amateurs and professionals, who lives within easy walking distance of the Rebmanns' residence. (See Cat Defender post of December 8, 2017 entitled "The Abduction, Brutal Slaying, and Diabolical Mutilation of Runa Leaves Her Owner Devastated and Strikes Fear into the Hearts of All Cat Lovers Living in a Small Town in Switzerland.")

Graser additionally is guilty of ignoring the fact that a cat killer has been on the loose in Oberrohrdorf ever since 2014. For example, four cats belonging to twenty-eight-year-old Philomena Füglistaler mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace between 2014 and late last year.

She also lived near the Rebmanns until last October when she wisely moved out of the neighborhood. (See Blick of Zurich, November 21, 2017, "'Wir haben keine ruhige Minute mehr!'")

That is simply too much of a coincidence to ignore. What appears to have happened is that once the killer had polished off her cats he immediately trained his sights on Runa.

He therefore can be expected to strike again and not only against any new cats that the Rebmanns may acquire but at those belonging to their neighbors as well. Just as it failed to protect Runa and Füglistaler's cats, the Kantonspolizei Aargau is on course to do likewise with all other feline residents of Oberrohrdorf.

In spite of all of that and the taunting that the Rebmanns have been subjected to, Graser stubbornly insists that cat owners do not have anything to worry about. "Bei allem Verständnis für die Verunsicherung sehen wir keinen objektiven Grund, sich Sorgen zu machen," he testified to the Aargauer Zeitung.

He accordingly does not see any reason for owners to restrict the outdoor rambles of their cats. "Wer eine Katze hat, weiss, dass es kaum möglich ist, deren Gewohnheiten zu beeinflussen," he philosophized to the Aargauer Zeitung.

It is almost superfluous to point out, but that is simply asinine advice. With such a diabolical killer on the loose it would be nothing short of insane for any owner to allow a cat out of doors without supervision.

Much more pertinently, since this monster is suspected of having killed five cats, the actual number of his victims easily could be much higher. That is because some owners do not even bother to either search for or to report to the authorities whenever their cats go missing. On top of that, the toll that he has inflicted upon homeless cats, which few people care about in the first place, very well could be off the charts.

As far as Rebmann is concerned, she has yet to come to terms with what has been done to Runa and her family. "Wir haben schon viele Sachen gelesen, doch so etwas haben wir noch nie gehört, geschweige denn erlebt," she admitted to the Aargauer Zeitung.

Even more shockingly, she is still unwilling to even so much as to entertain the notion that Runa's killer was one of her seemingly respectable bourgeois neighbors. "Wir wohnen seit vielen Jahren in Oberrohrdorf und pflegen ein gutes Verhältnis zur Nachbarschaft," she repeated for the umpteenth time to the Aargauer Zeitung.

Philomena Füglistaler with Photographs of Her Four Missing Cats

Not surprisingly, she does not have the stomach to see this matter through to the finish but, im Gegenteil, she wants to put it all behind her as quickly as possible and to get on with her life. "Wir müssen das Ereignis abhaken," she declared to the Aargauer Zeitung.

In doing so, she already has dismissed Runa's coldblooded and calculated murder as a random act committed by a crazy man. "Wir reden uns ein, dass Runa von einem kranken Menschen enthauptet wurde," she told the Aargauer Zeitung.

In all fairness to her, there can be no denying that the last few months have taken the will to fight right out of her. "Wir konnten gar nicht richtig um Runa trauern," she acknowledged to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Das Drumherum hat uns zu sehr beschäftigt."

Nevertheless, it would appear that she is attempting to do the impossible. On the one hand, there is not any conceivable way that she and her family ever can have any measure of closure unless Runa's killer is identified and brought to justice.

On the other hand, she is totally unwilling to embark upon a course of action that will culminate in achieving that worthy objective. In the meantime, she is placing both herself and her family in danger and that goes doubly for any new cats that she may bring into her home.

At the very least, she ought to consider the deleterious effect that leaving this matter unresolved is having on her children. "Sie (die Kinder) können weniger gut mit dem Geschehenen umgehen," she acknowledged to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Ihr Vertrauen in die Menschen ist nun ein Stück weit geschwunden."

Whereas it certainly is true that nothing will ever bring back Runa, apprehending and punishing her killer would at least allow her children to believe that there is some, but not much, justice to be found in this wicked old world. Doing so also could serve to teach them that it is not always possible to turn the other cheek.

"Remember that now you can have confidence in yourself always," Hercule Poirot counseled Norma Restarik in Dame Agatha's 1966 novel, The Third Girl. "To have known, at close quarters, what absolute evil means is to be armored against what life can do to you."

Even if Rebmann should have a change of heart and decide to see this matter through, the road ahead is going to be quite difficult owing to the fact that the trail has gone cold and most of the evidence vanished long ago. Moreover, she cannot expect any worthwhile assistance from either the Kantonspolizei Aargau or local politicians.

The situation is not completely hopeless, however, in that at least three possibly fruitful avenues of inquiry remain open to her. The most promising of which would be for her to hire a private dick and since she is employed as a mechanical engineer she undoubtedly makes good money and therefore should be able to easily afford such a worthwhile expenditure.

The first order of business for any shamus that she might retain would be to locate and interview Füglistaler and, since Blick did not have any trouble in locating her, neither should he. Specifically, he should find out from her exactly where she used to reside and the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her four cats. She also undoubtedly has her own suspicions and insights which she surely would be more than willing to share with him.

From the information supplied by her, the gumshoe should be able to map out a search area. Following that, he should endeavor to identify and thoroughly investigate all individuals living within that area.

If possible, all cat owners should be identified and interviewed because they, if anyone, would be likely to know the identities of all cat-haters in the area. Above all, gardens should be peered into for the presence of bird houses and feeders.

If nothing worthwhile is learned from those exercises, the search area would need to be expanded. With only four-thousand residents, Oberrohrdorf is a small city and that makes if feasible, if necessary, to place the entire town under scrutiny.

Secondly, if Rebmann should perhaps still be in possession of some of Runa's bedding or, considerably less likely, the Polizei still has her remains on ice, it might be worthwhile to put a bloodhound on her scent and to walk it around the neighborhood. Given the amount of time that has ticked off the clock, that would be a real long shot unless a suspect could be identified ahead of time and he is still in possession of Runa's head or has failed to thoroughly remove all of her blood from his premises.

The notion itself is not quite as far-fetched as it may sound, however, in that a Cocker Spaniel named Molly is currently employed locating missing cats for Pet Detectives in Guildford, Surrey. (See the Mid Sussex Times of Horsham in West Sussex, April 7, 2017, "Lost Pet Is Tracked Down by United Kingdom's First Cat Detection Dog.")

Thirdly, Rebmann might want to consider retaining the services of a cat expert and to have that individual deploy an undercover cat in the neighborhood. The cat would need to be equipped with some type of miniature tracking device that could be hidden either underneath its collar or in its name tag and its handlers could not afford under any circumstances to allow it out of their sight.

That would be a time-consuming, painstaking, and very expensive undertaking. Nevertheless, it is possible that after a while the cat might lead investigators to the residence of Runa's killer.

Although she was killed during the overnight hours, it is suspected that it was Runa's daytime activities that led to her demise. This exercise accordingly would need to be tried only during the daytime.

The first objective of this undertaking would be to identify a likely suspect and that could be accomplished by monitoring homeowners for violent verbal and physical reactions to the cat whenever it ventured onto their properties. Secondly, the next step would be to place that individual under twenty-four-hour surveillance. Thirdly, it would be necessary to either trick this individual into exposing himself or to skillfully trap him in some type of sting operation.

Ruses of this kind have been successfully conducted in the past. For example, in early 2006 Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes employed a cat named Fred in order to trap and arrest Stephen Vassall who at that time was practicing veterinary medicine without a license. (See Cat Defender posts of February 14, 2006 and August 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Special Agent Fred the Cat Goes Undercover in Order to Help Nab a Quack Vet in a Brooklyn Sting Operation" and "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")

If such a ploy should be tried in Oberrohrdorf, it is paramount that the safety of the undercover cat take precedence over making an arrest. The very last thing that is needed in this case is another dead cat! In fact, a robotic one might suffice just as well as a real-life one.

Besides being revolting, what was done to Runa was heartbreaking. It also is utterly shameful that the Rebmanns have been left hung out to dry by the authorities.

As horrible as all of that is, it is not all that materially different from how shabbily cats and their owners are treated everywhere by both despisers of the species and the authorities. The message thus is clear: owners and those who care about cats must help themselves.

Was noch schlimmer ist, crimes against cats are increasing exponentially and in severity all over the world. A large part of that increase is attributable to the frustrations of ornithologists and wildlife biologist over their inability to convince a skeptical public to support their clarion call to kill all cats.

As they have become more and more frustrated in their evil designs, their crimes against cats not only have become more graphic but they simultaneously have embarked upon a campaign of fear and intimidation directed at their owners and supporters. It accordingly is not going to very long before they commence actually attacking their persons and property.

Hiding one's head in the sand, turning the other cheek, and making outrageous compromises, such as selling down the river homeless cats, is not the solution. Supporters of the species desperately need to make a stand and that includes at the very least insisting upon their right to equality under the law and that the anti-cruelty statutes be religiously enforced.

Photos: Carla Stumpfli of the Aargauer Zeitung (Runa with Rebmann and Rebmann in her garden) and Ralph Dongli of Blick (Füglistaler).

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Forget about Women! Adopting a Cat Is a Far More Rewarding Alternative for Some Guys Who Are Searching for Their Forever Valentines

 Cats Make the Perfect Valentines
"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell."
-- Joan Crawford

Valentine's Day has come and gone and, lamentably, many guys once again found themselves without anyone to buy chocolates and roses for or even for that matter to take out to a swanky restaurant for a sit-down meal. Instead, they were relegated to spending the entire day home alone staring at the four walls and pacing the floor.

Scarfing down warmed-up TV dinners and chug-a-lugging six-packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon® did not help much either to take the sting out of their empty and lonely existences. At the close of their seemingly interminable days their only consolation was watching reruns of Bonanza, The Saint, and The Beverly Hillbillies on YouTube.

Every bit as deplorable, their unhappiness was in vain in that it could have been so easily remedied if only they had known not to look to the tender gender for their deliverance but rather to their local animal shelter. There they surely would have found hundreds of adorable cats ready, willing, and able to have ventured into their unfinished lives and to gladly have made them complete.

"There is something about the presence of a cat...that seems to take the bite out of being alone," veterinarian Albert J. Camuti once observed.

For those who still require convincing, there are countless reasons why adopting a cat is a better option than waiting around for Miss Right to leisurely stroll into one's world and that which follows is an examination of just a few of them.

1.) Easier to Get in Bed.

Not wasting any time and immediately getting right down to the nitty-gritty, there can be little disputing that getting a cat in the sack is a far easier task to pull off than doing likewise with a woman. The payoff may not be in any way comparable but the getting is most assuredly a piece of cake.

In stark contrast to the situation with women, the problem with cats is not so much getting them in bed but rather getting them out of it. In particular, digging out each morning from underneath a blanket of five to ten slumbering felines can be quite a job and that is especially the case in that they do not recognize any such thing as a final eviction notice.

Rather, they seem to believe that all beds belong to them. "In my experience, cats and beds seem to be a natural combination," Camuti added.

Author Stephen L. Baker even has gone to the trouble of calculating just how many cats that an average size bed can accommodate. "Most beds sleep up to six cats," he has deduced. "Ten without the owner."

In that respect it is a good thing that geometry is not the species' strong suit otherwise an owner soon might very well find himself shivering all alone on the cold, hardwood flooring. Having a bed full of cats also furnishes a bloke with an apt rejoinder to all of those loudmouths in the pubs who are all the time bragging about their numerous conquests.

Getting a Cat Out of Bed Is Not an Easy Task

In particular a man could, if he should be so inclined, truthfully chime in by declaring that he, too, has a bed full of pussy every night. There is not any need for him to let on that his bedfellows are of the four-legged variety.

2.) Nothing to Fear from the Me Too Movement.

A man can smooch and goose a cat to his heart's content without fear of provoking a blizzard of reprisals and condemnations from the Me Too Movement. Even the sneaking of a fast feel might not be totally out of the question.

A man likewise need not worry about getting into the pickle that befell former president George Herbert Walker Bush. On the other hand, no sensible man ever would even so much as contemplate polluting the noble and pristine souls of cats with off-color jokes and dirty ditties.

3.) Health Benefits.

Substituting a cat for a woman as a bed partner furnishes a man with an opportunity to get a good night's rest as opposed to waking up knackered each morning as the result of having had to slug it out between the sheets with some insatiable woman all night long. There are, of course, some veterinarians who slanderously claim that cats are too dirty to sleep with but they quite obviously never have shared a pillow with some women. (See NBC-TV, January 25, 2011, "Out of the Sack, Cat! Sleeping with Pets Carries Disease Risk.")

Cats additionally teach men how to relax thereby reducing stress levels which in turn promotes cardiovascular health. (See U.S. News and World Report, February 21, 2008, "Cats Help Shield Owners from Heart Attack. Study Finds Thirty Per Cent Risk Reduction When Felines Are in the Home.")

4.) Excellent Listeners.

When it comes to having someone who is willing to listen to a man's troubles, cats simply cannot be beaten. They never interrupt, rudely commence gassing on their mobile telephones, or cleverly steer the conversation around to their own worries. (See moggies.co.uk, October 11, 2007, "Forget Therapists -- Pets Are the Listeners.")

5.) Good Providers.

When it comes to putting food on the table a woman is almost totally useless. For example, some of them are incapable of even possessing the savoir-faire to use a can opener. Others do not have so much as a clue as how to make cold water hot.

Even when they are supplied with enough Lebensmittel in order to feed an army, what they often end up preparing is inedible. At other times, it very well could be laced with poison so as to get an older man out of the way and thus to allow her to not only get her hands on his money but to run off with a young gallant.

A cat at least can be depended upon to occasionally bring home a dead mouse or two. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, some men douse the rodents with ketchup and try not to think about what they are eating.

For vegetarians, however, such an expedient is not an option. Instead, they are forced into acting out ridiculous pantomimes for the benefit of their cats whereby they pretend to devour their unfortunate victims before discreetly burying them in the garden.

Most Beds Will Comfortably Sleep Six Cats but Only Two Big Fat Women

On this issue it is admittedly a close call but at the end of the day the vote has to go to cats. Sometimes it is the thought that counts.

6.) Security.

Owing to their truly remarkable sense of hearing, cats make excellent sentries. For instance, they are capable of detecting the presence of intruders on foot from as far away as one-hundred yards. They also are capable of hearing nails lose from their moorings long before the pictures and photographs that they support coming crashing to the floor.

Even more impressive, countless individuals are alive today all because their cats detected gas leaks, fires, and the presence of burglars. (See Cat Defender posts of April 23, 2007 and October 31, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Winnie Saves an Indians Family of Three from Dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning" and "Bacon Shows His Appreciation and Love for His Rescuer by Awakening Her from a Burning Apartment.")

7.) Cleanliness.

When it comes to personal hygiene, it is no contest and cats win hands-down. "A cat is the only domestic animal I know who toilet trains itself and does a damned impressive job of it," author Joseph Epstein once marveled.

On the other hand, some women fanatically believe that soap and water are corrosives that will wear out their skins and they accordingly avoid them as if they were the plague. With such an attitude, it is not surprising that they are the repositories of contagious diseases, toxic chemicals, obnoxious smells, and all sorts of accumulated grime and dirt.

Before even permitting one of them indoors it often is necessary to strip them down in the backyard, douse them with a bucket of soap, and then turn a garden hose on them. Following that there is the painstaking and time-consuming job of scraping off all sorts of paint, glue, caked-on mascara, abhorrent smelling perfumes, and who knows what other contaminants.

In severe cases, it sometimes is even necessary to rake them across a scrubboard a time or two in order to get at stubborn grime and grease. Next, it is off to the barn in order to borrow Old Paint's comb for the purpose of giving them a good currying from head to toe. Untangling their long, unkempt, and unwashed manes is not any walk in the park either given that some of them have a tendency to scratch like a cat and to kick like a mule.

Provided that a fellow has not keeled over from exhaustion by that time, he next must transport them to the health clinic in order to have them vaccinated; the vets will not touch them with twenty-foot poles. After that it is back home and a trip to the smokehouse where, in some cases, it is necessary to hang them on  hooks for thirty days in order to allow them to cure properly and for any lingering bad smells to dissipate.

These precautions are necessary in order to, first of all, prevent the spread of diseases and germs. Those fellows who are tempted to try and get around this prickly problem by following in the footsteps of judge Roy Moore by robbing the cradle need to bear in mind that some girls of today, if press reports are to be believed, are old, worn-out, and diseased by the time that they reach the ripe old age of fourteen.

Secondly, a man likes to know what is underneath all of that paint and glue. In particular, it is imperative that he make sure in advance that he is getting one-hundred per cent woman without any undesirable subtractions and additions as is the case with those hybrids that are now on the market. Half & Half® may be all right in the java but not in a woman.

A Cat Is the Epitome of Cleanliness

In that respect, the Me Too Movement has been sorely remiss for failing to include a proviso in its manifesto whereby concerned members of the opposite sex could satisfy their legitimate concerns in this area. Such an initiative would need to be carefully crafted, however, so as to prevent all sorts of rotters from exploiting such a loophole in order to stock up on a year's supply of finger pie in one swoop.

Finally, after a man has invested all that time, trouble, and expense cleaning, scrubbing, delousing, currying, manicuring, pedicuring, and inoculating a woman he surely would be entitled to enjoy the fruits of his labors. Unfortunately, that hardly ever turns out to be the case because as soon as he takes his eyes off of her for so long as a solitary minute she is sure to abscond with the pizza delivery boy.

Such a disastrous dénouement hardly seems fair but, on second thought, perhaps turning that garden hose on her was carrying cleanliness a bit too far. Still, when it comes to a women a man likes a clean body; a dirty mind is all right. The latter never has been known to send a bloke trotting off to the health clinic.

That is just one example of how the best laid plans of any man can go awry whenever they happen to include a woman. For instance, in this case the man not only lost the woman but, even worse, the cats no longer have anyone to deliver their piping-hot pies! Women may be a dime a dozen but a good delivery boy is not quite so easily replaced.

Cleaning up and straightening out a woman accordingly requires a huge investment of time, energy, and money from which a man can only expect minimal, if any, dividends. It is far too arduous a job for most old goats to undertake and young bucks, who already have their pick of the litter, do not have any interest in taking on any reclamation projects. As a result, the majority of these women wind up at either the Old Spinsters' Society, the Lesbian League, or in even direr straits.

With a cat it is an entirely different matter in that even a down-at-the-heel denizen of the street can be taken in and successfully rehabilitated almost overnight and with very little cost and effort. Cats consequently are what the gurus on Wall Street would call low investment, high-yield stocks.

8.) No Need to Keep Up with the Joneses.

Keeping a cat is considerably easier on the wallet than having a woman. About all that it takes in order to satisfy the former are tuna, kibble, milk, and water whereas even expensive jewelry, exotic vacations, and a lavish lifestyle often are insufficient to keep the latter at home.

Consequently, with a cat a man does not have to worry about keeping pace with the Joneses. First of all, it is unlikely that any cat ever has so much as heard of them. Secondly, even if the reverse should turn out to be true, no cat gives so much as a non Gradus Anus Rodentum about keeping up with them.

Moreover, just the simple act of getting rid of a woman and replacing her with a cat has been known to transform beleaguered, cash-strapped working stiffs into relaxed spectators of this world with their pockets bulging with greenbacks. Perhaps most importantly of all, cats do not consider it to be either a federal offense or a sure sign of moral decay for a man to be a lazy bum who lies around the house all day doing absolutely nothing.

9.) Wardrobe Expenses Are Negligible.

Absolutely no one has ever heard any self-respecting cat to complain about not having anything to wear. Au contraire, they gladly wear the same old seven and six year in and year out.

Watch Out for Those Pizza Toters; They Deliver More Than Pies for the Cats

On the other hand, some women would not be satisfied with a man who owned a clothing factory. Compounding matters further, some men have been forced into adding entire wings to their houses just to have a place in order to store all the clothing and accessories that their wives never wear.

10.) Real Homebodies.

As is the case with clothing, no one ever has heard a cat complain that its owner never takes it anywhere. Being true homebodies, they never want to go anywhere and that nips that dilemma right in the bud.

By contrast, women have an annoying habit of dragging their male counterparts not only all over town but, sometimes, halfway around the world. Aside from the incredible expense involved in such excursions, all of that moving around is bound to sooner or later wear out a bloke.

11.)  Free Heat.

At this juncture some men may be prompted to object that they could not possibly make it through these long, cold winter nights without having one or two big fat women in order to prevent them from freezing to death. That certainly is a point well taken in that the invaluable contributions made by the beefy babes and chunky chicks of this world can in no way be underestimated.

If events had turned out differently and all that had been around at the dawning of time were those skinny young wigglers, jigglers, and gigglers of today, the human race surely never would have made it out of the starting gate. It therefore is not surprising that it is precisely at those times when the bottom has dropped out of the thermometer, there is a foot of snow on the ground, and the furnace has conked out that the Bertha Butts and Two-Ton Thelmas of this world shine the brightest.

Nestled up warm and snug between them, a man could not possibly feel any pain. The situation is entirely different with those short-sighted fellows who foolishly attempt to make it through these hellish winters with only bags of bones for comfort.

Having readily acknowledged all of that, it nevertheless must be pointed out that a man can fare every bit as well by curling up each night with four to five well-fed cats. Doing so also spares him the expense, labor in the kitchen, and subsequent clean-up that goes hand-in-hand with the preparation of a large pots of soup beans, seasoned to the nine with ramps and jalapeno peppers, a mess or two of turnip greens, half an acre of home fries, three or four cakes of corn dodger and, to wash it all down, a couple of liters of Ripple.®

Whereas a cat's rhythmic purring can be every bit as reassuring as it is soporific, Bertha's and Thelma's loud snoring, burping, belching, and backfiring all night can be a bit disconcerting. Plus, there is always the possibility that either one or both of them will pass out on top of a fellow one night and suffocate him to death.

With cats, however, a man seldom has to put up with any unpleasant smells, sounds, or other intrusions into his repose. "Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I have never heard of one who suffered from insomnia," writer Joseph Wood Krutsch once declared.

Then there is the added expense if the girls ever should want to go anywhere, such as to (who knows why?) the beauty parlor, to be factored into the equation. In that regard, the most efficient way to accommodate women of that size would be to rent a hoist in order to take them out through the roof so that they then could be loaded onto the back of a truck for a trip to the freight depot. There they in turn could be fastened onto a flat car and moved around as avoirdupois; it is cheaper that way as opposed to purchasing each of them three or four seats on a passenger train.

A Man Should Not Always Behave Like a Tomcat, Especially Toward Women

By switching to cats, however, a man can could avoid all of that bother and expense while at the same time still make it through these long and cold winter nights in relative comfort.

12.) No Obnoxious Relatives and Disagreeable Entanglements.

The best thing about cats is, arguably, that they are real loners. For an owner, that translates into him being free to forget about putting up with any obnoxious relatives and friends, which just about all women attract in droves.

Cats also do not have any use whatsoever for religion, politics, and flag-waving and that is truly a beautiful character trait. Furthermore, they never will pollute a man's life by having the faintest bit of interest whatsoever in boring, sleazy, and corrupt athletics.

13.) No Bad Habits.

Cats do not drink, smoke, use drugs, or gamble and the same most assuredly cannot be said for the vast majority of women. They also seldom either snore or refuse to bathe.

14.) A Lack of Malice.

One of the most endearing character traits enjoyed by members of the species is their total lack of malice. For example, whenever little squabbles ensue, such as over who is entitled to the last wedge of cheesecake or whose turn it is to sit in the rocking chair, they are soon patched up and forgotten with a loving pat on the head and the offer of a small treat.

"As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind," Cleveland Amory, author of the 1987 bestseller The Cat Who Came for Christmas, once noted.

It is an entirely different matter with a woman. Every affront, whether real or imagined, is immediately seized upon as an annuity to be nurtured and safeguarded until a propitious time arrives when it can be dredged up, thrown in a man's face, and milked for all that it is worth.

15.) A Total Lack of Jealousy.

Since cats are not the jealous types a man can have as many of them as he so desires. At the same time it goes almost without saying that few women would be amendable to such a laissez-faire arrangement.

16.) Honesty.

"A cat has absolute honesty," Ernest Hemingway once pointed out. "Humans beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."

Differences between the sexes only serve to compound that problem. "Woman's heart and mind are insoluble puzzles to the male," Sherlock Holmes observed in Arthur Conan Doyle's short-story, "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client."

What Man Could Ask for More?

17.)  Non-Judgmental.

So long as a man treats it well, a cat could care less about what the remainder of society thinks about him. Furthermore, it does not care one whit about the size of his house, the make and model of his old jalopy, or his social standing. He likewise could be a peripatetic hobo who is looked down upon by all of society and that would not matter to his cat.

18.) Heuristic Considerations.

"The intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends -- who are without prejudice, without hate, without greed -- may someday teach us something," celebrated novelist Lilian Jackson Brown once predicted.

Comedian and actor Bill Dana already has been the beneficiary of their tutelage. "I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult," he has acknowledged. "It's not. Mine had me trained in two days."

Gary Smith is another convert. "Everything I know I learned from my cat," he once candidly admitted. "When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet's, pee on your owner."

One of their chief contributions in this area is that since they live such terribly brief existences they instill in their caretakers an almost reverential respect for the present. C'est-à-dire, individuals should live for today, cherish the moment, and not leave important matters unfinished because tomorrow is not guaranteed to any man or cat.

"There is indeed no single quality of the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage," Carl Van Vechten proclaimed in his 1922 magnum opus, The Tiger in the House.

Whereas that is generally true, a man nevertheless should perhaps think twice about asking his resident tom to supply him with a few pointers on the ancient art of lovemaking. The problem is not that he would be unwilling to do so but rather that it would not be a good idea for any man to attempt to put into practice such advice.

For example, chasing a woman around the house in a prelude to pinning her to the floor with his teeth clinched around her neck and then porking her from behind is not a good idea. First of all, women do not appreciate such rough handling.

Secondly, jurists also take a dim view of such behavior to the tune of about thirty years in the state penitentiary. Thirdly, if the Me Too Movement ever got wind of such goings on it would be howling from now until Judgment Day.

Also, hanging out until the small hours underneath the window of the source of one's affliction all the while crying piteously like a lovesick tomcat is not recommended. Although the damsel in question might be flattered by such devotion, the neighbors are unlikely to feel quite as charitable.

What goes for them goes doubly for the local gendarmes. After all, they eagerly await their turns on the graveyard shift so that they can get in a full week's worth of kip on the public's dime and for that reason they are unlikely to take kindly to having their repose interrupted, especially by some fool of a man who thinks that he has been reincarnated as an overgrown tomcat.

Millions of Cats Are Waiting to Be Someone's Valentine

19.) Loyalty.

In a rapidly changing world, the fidelity of a cat is one of the few things in life that a man can count on through thick and thin. Unlike many women, a cat will not run off with the first man with money that comes strutting down the pike.

They care absolutely nothing about money and they never change. A man therefore does not have anything to fear on that score; it could be an entirely different matter, however, with a heaping helping of red salmon and bowl of thick cream.

Cats even remain loyal after death. (See Cat Defender posts of March 28, 2013 and July 27, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Even the Finality of the Grave Fails to Diminish Toldo's Abiding Love and Devotion for His Long Dead Guardian" and "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death.")

Women, however, are more often than not relieved once a bloke is gone. As a result, a complete stranger is soon thereafter sleeping in the deceased's bed, guzzling his port, and gambling away his hard-earned cash.

Only his cat remains loyal and after a while even it realizes that he is not coming back and gives up the vigil. C'est la vie!

20.)  No Regrets.

The best reason of all as to why a cat makes a far better valentine than a woman is that a man can love it with his whole heart, unreservedly, and never with any regrets. No amount of time and money ever spent on it is therefore wasted.

As Thomas Hardy reminded the world in his 1876 novel, The Hand of Ethelberta, "a lover without indiscretion is no lover at all."

It was perhaps Charles Dickens, however, who best summed up the situation with his declaration: "What greater gift than the love of a cat?"

Loving a cat does come with one huge negative and that is their shortened life expectancies. Moreover, once it is gone there simply is not any conceivable way of closing the rent that its passing leaves in a man's heart.


As it hopefully has been convincingly demonstrated, cats are clearly the better choice but that bit of gratuitous advice is bound to fall upon the deaf ears of those young bucks who simply must have the services of a woman every night. Ergo, the tender gender has little to fear from feline competition in that they are destined to remain what most men continue to covet the most and to pursue the most fervently.

A Cat's Love Is Eternal Like This 1909 Valentine

Furthermore, romantic love never has suffered from any lack of defenders. "The happiness of one man and one woman is the greatest thing in all the world," Hercule Poirot declared in Dame Agatha's 1920 novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Rather, this essay is directed at those chaps who have gotten above a certain age and, whether it be attributable to either medical or fiscal constraints, are no longer able to handle those all-night, every night scrimmages between the sheets that all lusty lasses so enjoy. In that light, a cat also is the perfect companion for those who suffer from ED.

"Someone asked Sophocles, 'How do you feel about sex? Are you still able to have a woman?'" Plato related in Book I, 329B of The Republic. "He replied, 'Hush, man; most gladly indeed am I rid of it all, as though I had escaped from a mad and savage master'."

For those unpersuaded blokes who still insist upon throwing caution to the wind and acquiring a wild and woolly woman, they need to fully realize that is a very reckless, not to say foolhardy, thing to attempt. "Love is a fire," actress Joan Crawford once declared. "But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell."

On top of that there is the nearly insurmountable obstacle of finding the right one. Also, there is little solace to be found in the old adage that there are more than one fish in the sea.

“There's lots of good fish in the sea...maybe...but the vast masses seem to be mackerel or herring, and if you're not mackerel or herring yourself, you are likely to find very few good fish in the sea,” D. H. Lawrence astutely pointed out in his 1928 novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover. From that it thus would appear that a man's long-term happiness needs to be built upon surer ground than that afforded by a woman's fleeting passion.

All is not lost, however, in that research has shown that having a cat helps couples to stay together. "Research on cohabiting couples show (sic) conclusively that getting a cat is a better indicator of staying together than having a baby," Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation of Cambridge told The Telegraph on February 15, 2013. (See "Couples Who Get a Kitten Before a Baby 'More Likely to Last'.")

Furthermore, it also is believed that having a cat is a good proving ground for men wanting to advance to getting a woman. For instance, caring for one accustoms him to, inter alia, taking orders, always speaking softly, and to being polite.

He additionally is able to learn from his feline companion a healthy toleration for a certain amount of unpredictable behavior, ill-timed interruptions, and stubbornness. Perhaps most importantly of all, he learns that in order to get the best out of a woman he must, as he does with his cat, spoil her rotten.

Even if all of his best laid plans and schemes should come to naught, his dutiful labors on behalf of the great god Eros need not necessarily to have been completely in vain. "Happiness is a good woman...or a bad woman," is how that comedian George Burns once summed up that eternal dilemma.

Photos: The Philly Voice (gray cat), YouTube (two cats in bed, a cat grooming itself, and one sitting on a fence), The Creative Cat (six cats in bed),  BuzzFeed (a cat eating pizza), Amazon (two cats inside a heart), Pinterest (a gray cat with a heart), and Chorboard of Wikipedia (1909 Valentine).

Disclaimer. No women were harmed during the researching and scratching out of this report although a few of them were discreetly observed, albeit at a safe distance to be sure. That exercise was undertaken not so much as an aid in the furtherance of knowledge but rather just to see what they were up to (nothing worthwhile) and for reasons of personal amusement.

Friday, February 02, 2018

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

Hamide Boran with a Few of Her Cats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First of all, those cats that belong to managed colonies need to be provided with around-the-clock security. The United States in particular is too chock-full of criminal ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and other low-life scumbags to leave cats unattended and unprotected. (See Cat Defender post of August 24, 2017 entitled "The Brutal Murders of a Trio of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Provide an Occasion for the Local Rag and PETA to Whoop It Up and to Break Open the Champagne.")

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

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

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

Photo: the Hürriyet Daily News.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Steve Ecklund's Savage Killing of a Cougar and Vainglorious Gloating, Strutting, and Preening Are Resoundingly Applauded by Canada's Ever Obliging Media and Complicitous Universities

Killing the Cougar Gave Steve Ecklund Immense Joy

"What a creep. Chasing a cougar with dogs until they are exhausted then shooting a scared, cornered and tired animal. Must be compensating for something, small penis probably."

-- Laureen Ann Harper.

It often has been observed that man is the only animal that kills for the pleasure of doing so and confirmation of that disturbing characteristic was perhaps nowhere more vividly demonstrated than in the recent abhorrent conduct of Ontario native Steve Ecklund. The specifics have not been divulged, but in early December he and at least three other individuals used a pair of beagles in order to track down and kill a very large male cougar in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains somewhere between the small towns of Rocky Mountain House and Drayton Valley in southern Alberta.

Given that between one-hundred-twenty-five and one-hundred-eighty-five of these magnificent cats are killed in a similar fashion each year in Alberta alone, that hardly was news in itself. Rather, it was Ecklund's notoriety as a host of the popular television show, The Edge, that automatically transformed this all-too-common senseless killing into a newsworthy event.

Not contented with merely snuffing out the forever nameless cat's precious life, he then went on social media in order to gloat. In particular, he wasted no time in posting photographs of himself, delirious with joy and self-importance, parading before the camera all the while holding up the lifeless body of the cat.

In that respect, his bloodthirsty, egomaniacal behavior was reminiscent of that displayed by archers Zach "Shaggy" Slattery and Aaron Wilksch after they had gunned down innumerable domestic cats on Kangaroo Island in 2015. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That he Has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages," the Daily Mail, February 24, 2016, "Man Who Shoots Feral Cats with a Bow and Arrow Posts Pictures of His Kills Online Gets Death Threats for His 'Animal Cruelty'," and the Australian Broadcasting Company articles dated February 24, 2016 and March 13, 2016 and entitled, respectively, "Bow Hunter Targeted with Global Hate Campaign for Shooting Feral Cats in Australia" and "Bow Hunting of Feral Cats Is Cruel and 'Not Part of the Strategy,' Threatened Species Commissioner Says.")

Ecklund did not stop there, however, but instead he went on to even outdo Slattery and Wilksch by skinning the cougar and cooking at least some of its flesh. The implication to be drawn from that is that he was hungry but there is not any evidence that he actually consumed any of the cat. Besides, he has money to burn and there most assuredly is not any shortage of food in Canada.

What he did with its luxuriant pelt has not been disclosed but he could have sold it to someone connected to the fur industry. It also is entirely conceivable that he took it, along with the cat's head, to a taxidermist in order to be mounted. The latter expedient accordingly will allow him to not only bask in the glory of his gore until his own hide rots off of his malignant bones but to show off his trophy to his like-minded friends and colleagues.

Press reports have not broached the matter but more than likely the entire chase, kill, celebration, and feasting were filmed for future broadcast on Wild TV of Edmonton which hosts The Edge. After all, professional and monetary considerations usually go hand in hand with a lust for the shedding of innocent blood, the thrill of killing, and runaway egotism.

"...not only is hunting his passion, but a motivational life-saver," either he or, more likely, one of his subordinates, declares on his web site in reference to a trip that he made not too long ago to Alaska in order to kill a Dall's Sheep. He furthermore credits that totally inexcusable killing with enabling him to defeat cancer.

While there is not any known scientific connection between the killing of a sheep and the curing of cancer, some folks in Victorian England purportedly believed that having it off with a virgin was a sure-fire cure for venereal disease. It would be nothing short of stupefying if there were any causal connection in either case; rather, Ecklund simply gets a huge thrill out of slaughtering animals whereas some diseased men enjoy deflowering and infecting clean and healthy young girls.

Be that as it may, the good thing about cancer is that it has a long and checkered history of not only recurring but with a vengeance. Furthermore, when it does return it has been known to wipe the smirks off of maps uglier than Ecklund's and of humbling even those more full of themselves than him.

The second thing that has distinguished Ecklund's killing from the thousands of other cougars that are eradicated each year, for one reason or another, in Canada and the United States has been the unprecedented debate that it has spawned. Predictably, his boss at Wild TV, Ryan Kohler, was thrilled to his back teeth by his underling's actions.

"We fully support the ethical and legal kill that Steve Ecklund has presented to us," he gushed to CTV on December 21st. (See "TV Host's Cougar Hunt Was Legal 'as Far as We Know': Alberta Environment.") "Unfortunately he is getting some huge backlash, but that won't change the fact that we love our hunting heritage in Canada."

Paul Frame of Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) in Edmonton was quick to put his stamp of approval on the kill. "Did the hunter have a proper license? Was the quota still open in that specific management area? Was everything done legally?" he postured to CTV in a backhanded, exaggerated fashion. "As far as we know, that was a legal hunt."

Ecklund Finally Let Go of the Cat but There Was Not Any End to His Gloating

According to data supplied by CTV, Alberta residents are allowed to legally massacre one-hundred-fifty-five cougars each year whereas outsiders, such as Ecklund, are permitted to gun down another thirty of them. For example, during the 2016-2017 hunting season, one-thousand-twenty-five licenses were issued which resulted in the deaths of one-hundred-twenty-five cougars.

During this hunting season, which began on December 1st and extends through the end of February, seven-hundred-seventy-five licenses have been sold so far. CTV purposefully neglects, however, to reveal how many cats have been liquidated to date.

The Daily Mail claims in its December 20th edition, however, that under Alberta law it is illegal to use dogs, such as Ecklund did, in order to track big game animals during the winter hunting season and Frame has conveniently failed to address that important issue. (See "Grinning Canadian TV Presenter Bags a Huge Mountain Lion -- but Some Animal Rights Activists Are Not Happy.")

Ecklund also likes to pass himself off as a so-called fair chase hunter, as opposed to being a participant in the canned hunts staged by the likes of Ted Turner, Theodore Anthony Nugent, and others, but it is difficult to see so much as a speck of fairness in a gang of bloodthirsty men, armed with high-powered rifles and bows as well as dogs, going after a defenseless cougar. "The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of a gun," Anglo-American novelist P.G. Wodehouse once astutely pointed out.

If Ecklund were a real man instead of the cowardly impostor that he is he would leave his guns, bows, dogs, and buddies at home and hunt cougars by his lonesome and mano a mano. The petit fait that he is far too craven to do any of that just goes to show that his idea of a fair chase amounts to little more than an extended version of a canned hunt.

Frame furthermore agrees with Kohler that killing cougars is a fine old, time-honored Canadian way of life. "There's a long-standing tradition of hunting cougars in Alberta," he proudly declared to CTV. "It's been regulated since 1969, with a quota in place since 1990. We adjust quotas based on the environmental conditions of the time, so we review them annually or biannually."

Demonstrating writ large once again that no atrocity perpetrated against cats, no matter how heinous, will ever fail to receive the wholehearted endorsement of those utterly despicable moral degenerates who rule the roost in the world's temples of academic excellence was sixty-seven-year-old wildlife biology professor Mark Stephen Boyce of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "Cougar hunting is popular, especially with hounds," is how that he began his defense of Ecklund to CTV.

From that starting point he went on to ludicrously claim that dispatching cougars to the devil was a form of public service that would not adversely affect the health of the species. "There is considerable concern about rising numbers of cougars because they are dangerous...and occasionally they kill livestock," he pontificated. "Hunter harvests are low enough that they do not threaten our cougar populations and sustainable harvests are possible."

First of all, as a wildlife biologist Old Boyce Bird is surely aware that cougars were present in Alberta and elsewhere in North America long before he and the sportsmen, ranchers, and other economic interests that he stooges for ever arrived on the scene. He and his fellow murderers therefore are guilty of invading and trespassing upon their turf, not vice-versa.

Secondly, cougar attacks upon humans are extremely rare even in the densely populated areas that surround the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains near Los Angeles. They accordingly surely must be even less common in a remote and thinly-populated area such as Alberta.

Finally, after stooping about as low as an academician can without coming eyeball to eyeball with a termite, Old Boyce Bird chucked off the mask of all intellectual respectability and finally revealed his true colors. "This is an anti-hunting rant," he bellowed like a stuck pig to CTV in reference to Ecklund's detractors. "There is nothing illegal about cougar hunting, but I understand that some people do not accept hunting. That's a personal choice."

There is not, arguably, anything quite as amusing as to sit back and listen to loudmouthed, pompous, and dogmatic professors cavalierly dismissing all opinions and values that they disagree with as being either rants or totally irrelevant. According to their modus operandi, telling lies, wallowing in prejudices, killing innocent cats, arousing irrational and unfounded fears in the uneducated masses, and pimping and whoring for economic interests is the one and only true way to live and think.

Furthermore, since he believes that killing cats is purely a personal choice, it would be interesting to know his thoughts on homicide. For instance, would he feel comfortable with the doing away of the laws against murder?

Wildlife biologist Adam Ford of the University of British Columbia in Okanagan not only endorsed Frame's and Boyce's opinions on the sustainability of cougar hunting but he ventured one step further by making it explicit that when it comes to cats individuals do not count. "It's seeing a much greater value on an individual animal rather than a population, but the system is set up for us to manage populations, not individuals," he told The Woodstock Sentinel Review of Ontario via The Canadian Press on January 8th. (See "Cougar Hunt in Alberta Sparks Debate Among Scientists, Hunters and Activists.") "The way hunting has been designed for a long time is not to have an impact on the population."

Ecklund and His Confederates Celebrate Their Evil Act

With such an ossified mindset his next utterance hardly came as any surprise. "My morals are different from yours, but facts should be facts," he barked like the hound of the Baskervilles to the Woodstock Sentinel Review.

In regard to his first admission, it would have been far more honest for him to have declared that he does not have any morals at all. If the lives of individual animals do not count for anything at all, there can scarcely be any morality in keeping alive a few members of a given species just so that Ford and his like-minded henchmen can subjugate, debase and, sooner or later, wipe out altogether.

On those occasions when such morally bankrupt thinking has held sway over the minds of men it usually has resulted in fascism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing and the so-called management, electronic monitoring, and culling of species amount to pretty much the same thing. The only real difference that separates the two is that the hideous crimes perpetrated by Ford and his supporters are carried out over a longer period of time and on a piecemeal basis.

Such a distinction nevertheless fails to substantially alter the reality that both groups travel a road that leads to the same cul-de-sac for both animals and humans alike. (See Cat Defender posts of April 17, 2006, May 4, 2006, February 29, 2008, and May 21, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him." "The Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals," "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud," and "Macho B., America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona.")

It is way too much for minds like Ford and Boyce to comprehend, but not a single animal is born to serve as sport and prey for mankind. "Every creature is better alive than dead, man and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve life than destroy it," Henry David Thoreau once said.

Ford's dishonest reliance upon facts amounts to little more than an unsupported assertion of authority. That is because facts do not exist in a vacuum and therefore can never be completely divested of the value judgments that are inherent in both their creation and accumulation.

"As politics have gotten more and more polarized, everyone has to claim their views are objective, pure and factual, which means they are pulled into the scientific side," David Goldston of Princeton University was honest enough to admit to USA Today on August 6, 2007. (See "Science Versus Politics Gets Down and Dirty.") "Most of these issues are largely values questions, but no one wants to discuss those, so we end up with baroque debates about science."

Tom Shakespeare has stated the case even more forcefully. "...I am not sure philosophers are so different from the lay public (that relies upon intuition), it's just that the former are trained to cover their tracks with an impressive edifice of arguments and logic," he told the New Scientist on July 23, 2008. (See "A World Based on Reason.") "It is hard to be truly objective, to eliminate our history, and culture and psychology from our thinking."

C'est-à-dire, the question of whether cougars are to live or die is preeminently a moral one that has absolutely nothing to do with science. Why, the very idea that either science or logic should be employed in order to justify the killing of animals is simply monstrous as well as being disingenuous.

Moreover, treating individual cougars as disposable and of no inherent value fails to take into consideration the injustice of robbing them of their right to exist as well as the fear and suffering inflicted upon them through the commission of such crimes. Such warped thinking likewise fails to take into consideration their intrinsic value to their mates, offspring, the species, and the health of the ecosystems to which they belong. Killing them also robs their supporters of the pleasure of seeing and photographing them.

Wildlife biologists additionally are guilty of incorrectly doing their sums. For example, hunters like Ecklund kill only the fittest animals because they want trophies but that is not how nature operates. In the wild, it usually is the sickly and less fit animals that serve as prey for those that are stronger and healthier.

By removing the fittest representatives of a species from the environment, hunting has been shown in some cases to lead to the birth of smaller and less fit animals. Consequently, the proper management of any species involves considerably more than counting heads as Frame, Boyce, and Ford would have the world to believe.

One of the Cougar's Organs That Ecklund Cut Out

Hunting also produces a large number of orphans who, in most instances, are left to die. Removing a species from any environment can also upset the ecological balance and thus lead to all sorts of destructive and unintended consequences.

That sort of imbecility has been demonstrated time and time again by wildlife biologists who attempt to return areas, primarily islands, to some pristine ideal that may or may not even have existed in the past. There is good money in such undertakings and countless so-called non-native species for them to hideously eradicate but that is all. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2006 entitled "The Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie.")

Over the course of the last one-hundred years or so all sorts of species, some of which that had been around for millions of years, have either gone extinct or become endangered and that has occurred under the management of wildlife biologists. They therefore are not only guilty of being on the payrolls of hunters and other economic interests but grossly incompetent to boot.

In its full court press designed to legitimize the killing of cougars, the Woodstock Sentinel Review next dredged up Wayne Lowry, a former president of the Alberta Fish and Game Association in Edmonton, in order to contribute his two cents' worth to the debate. "As an outdoor enthusiast, we look for opportunities to get into the outdoors," he gassed to that scurrilous rag. "The cougar season offers a very late-season hunting opportunity."

First of all, who ever knew that Canadians so dearly loved being out in the cold and snow? Even if against all odds that should be true, they could play ice hockey or go sledding. If, on the other hand, they should be looking for something to do that is considerably more challenging, they ought to go skiing in British Columbia and in doing so perhaps they would be lucky enough to get caught in one of the province's famous avalanches.

While he was busily blowing it out both ends, Lowry paused in order to fondly reminisce about a cougar that he killed and mounted fifteen years ago. "It took me two years. For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event," he oozed with nostalgia. "It was a great experience...you see the dogs get excited and you get excited as well."

The torrent of outrage directed in Ecklund's direction was spearheaded by, of all people, Laureen Ann Harper, the fifty-four-year-old spouse of former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper. "What a creep. Chasing a cougar with dogs until they are exhausted then shooting a scared, cornered and tired animal," she wrote on Twitter according to CTV's December 20th edition. (See "Laureen Harper Slams Cougar Hunter as 'Creep' Who 'Must Be Compensating'.") "Must be compensating for something, small penis probably."

Her tweet took many Canadians by surprise and that prompted her to go back online in order to confirm that it was indeed her and that she did use the language attributed to her. "Wasn't hacked," she told CTV on December 20th. "I was really angry that some guy flies all the way to Alberta to kill a magnificent cougar, so he can make a stir fry."

If her tweet accomplished nothing else it provided Ford with another opportunity to take a broad swipe at those individuals who have the temerity to question his authority by defending the inalienable right of individual animals to live. "You see this come up when the individual-focus conservation people see a dead cougar and call people out for having a small penis (sic)."

Even that salvo amounted to little more than beating a dead horse in that Harper already had compromised her moral and intellectual integrity by publicly admitting that her family, and by implication she herself, are avid hunters and fishers. She next lamely attempted to deflect such criticism by arguing that she was only opposed to killing for sport.

Such a distinction is pure nonsense in that it is hard to believe that someone with her affluence ever would need to kill animals in order to feed herself. Much more importantly, the motivating factors behind such killings are irrelevant; the offense lies in the taking of innocent lives.

Chris Darimont, a geography professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia nonetheless seconded that distinction. "They (opponents of hunting) cannot accept the idea that people kill carnivores not to feed families, but to feed their egos," he opined to the Woodstock Sentinel Review. "Wildlife managers for decades have acknowledged that these (animals) are not killed for their meat, but for their trophy items."

No sooner had those words escaped from his lips then he slipped into the same moral sinkhole as Harper by admitting that he slaughters either one elk or one deer each year, allegedly, in order to eat. He also, apparently, is of the opinion that it is permissible to kill ruminants, such as deer and elk, because their flesh is tasty as opposed to that of predators, such as cougars, whose meat is reportedly anything but pleasing to the palate.

Kid Rock Killed a Cougar with the Help of Ted  Nugent

Although the making of such a ridiculous distinction is just one more example of his self-serving hypocrisy, he nevertheless does possess the bon sens to realize that the hunting of cougars needs to be reconsidered. That is because it is difficult to arrive at an accurate count of their numbers and with that being the case there is always the fear that hunting could lead to a precipitate decline in the species.

"There's lots of uncertainty," he admitted to the Woodstock Sentinel Review. "(Wildlife) managers can and do make mistakes, and then we are just starting to learn of the evolutionary and social costs of killing large carnivores."

Given that this is the information age, opposition to Ecklund's killing of the cougar was not confined to Canada. "Whether legal or illegal, and whatever country it occurs in, hunting for sport is morally reprehensible and has no place in a so-called civilized society," Lee Moon of the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) of London told the Daily Mail in the December 20th article cited supra. "Links between animal and human abuse are well documented and it's beyond our comprehension what makes people think this kind of barbaric act is deemed acceptable."

While what he says is on target as far as it goes, he is guilty of falling into the small moral quagmire that snared both Harper and Darimont. If one is going to gas about morality, there cannot be any justification whatsoever, except in extremely rare cases of self-defense, for the killing of any animal and that most definitely includes operating an abattoir.

As it always is the case whenever any controversy arises concerning animals, the no-account, twenty-four karat fraudsters at PETA were quick to chime in with their warped logic and morality. "Only someone dead in heart and head could fail to see that mountain lions, wild boars, deer, and other animals are thinking, feeling individuals -- not 'things' to blow away for amusement," a spokesperson for the organization told the Daily Mail. "All most of us see when we look at a photograph of a hunter who gunned down an animal for 'pleasure' is photographic evidence of a small person with deep-seated insecurities."

That was the same tune that PETA was singing back in 2014 when San Diego called in the USDA's Wildlife Services in order to hideously eradicate its population of homeless pigs. "No animal should be killed for doing that (simply trying to provide for its family and to survive)," the charity's Kristen Simon declared to The San Diego Times-Union on September 17, 2014. (See "City Aims to Kill Feral Pigs.")

Those are lofty sentiments indeed but when it comes to domestic cats PETA's heart is as cold as ice and its intentions every bit as ruthless as those that Jack the Ripper harbored toward women. Specifically, it seldom passes up any opportunity to either defame the species or to slaughter its members en masse. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing 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.")

Like Ecklund, it gloats and preens like a peacock every time that either it or someone else kills a cat. (See Cat Defender posts of October 7, 2011 and August 24, 2017 entitled, respectively, "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed" and "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.")

With the likes of Harper, Darimont, HSA, and PETA wallowing in both sottise and hypocrisy up to their eyeballs and bolstered by the unfailing support shown him by Kohler, Frame, Boyce, Ford, Lowry, and the Canadian media, it is not surprising that Ecklund is really feeling his oats these days."If you can guess what post has nine-hundred likes, four-hundred-fifty comments, thirteen confirmed death threats, seven-hundred-fifty-four swear words and one very happy hunter in it...I will enter your name into the draw for the new cougar cookbook, filled with mouth water (sic) recipes for your next mountain lion hunt," he is quoted by the Daily Mail as taunting his detractors.

To sum up, the hunting of cougars, or any animal for that matter, cannot be defended on ethical and moral grounds. Secondly, although it may be legal, laws can be changed.

Thirdly, to say that it is traditional is hardly a valid argument in its favor. For instance, at various times and locales throughout history child abuse, incest, cannibalism, slavery, genocide, and a million other evils have been considered to be traditional but none of them are embraced today by any halfway civilized society.

Fourthly, as far as the sustainability of cougar hunting is concerned, it is absurd for wildlife biologists to claim that to be the case when the best that they can do is to estimate that between two-thousand and thirty-five-hundred of them currently live in Alberta. Moreover, in addition to the carnage inflicted upon the cats by licensed hunters, others are killed by non-licensed hunters and motorists while still others succumb to starvation, disease, and other maladies.

Fifthly, as the international uproar over Ecklund's killing and preening has more than amply demonstrated, attitudes are changing somewhat in that many individuals do in fact care greatly about what happens to individual members of the species. Plus, they are becoming more and more less inclined to allow wildlife biologists, eggheads, hunt associations, and those individuals and organizations that profit from their destruction, such as those who sell hunting licenses, bows, guns, shells, and Wild TV, to continue to have an exclusive right in deciding their fates.

Daniel W. Richards with His Trophy Kill

For example, Ecklund is far from being the first cougar killer to have sparked international outrage. In January of 2015 Kid Rock, assisted by Nugent, killed one of the animals at an undisclosed location believed to have been somewhere in the western United States and then went online in order to gloat.

In April of last year, both of them were invited to the White House in order to break bread with Donald John Trump. (See The Mirror of London, January 21, 2015, "Kid Rock Angers Fans by Posing with Dead Cougar -- Grisly Snap Was Posted Online after Hunting Trips" and Cat Defender post of April 28, 2017 entitled "Trump Not Only Exposes Himself for What He Is but Also Disgraces the Office of the President in the Process by Feting Cat Killers Theodore Anthony Nugent and Kid Rock at the White House.")

Earlier in February of 2012 Daniel W. Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, shot and ate a cougar in Idaho. As Ecklund and Rock would later do, he subsequently posted photographs online of himself grinning from ear to ear with the dead cat. Even though the sport hunting of cougars is legal in Idaho, as opposed to California, in August of that same year he was ousted as president and is no longer a member of that body. (See the LA Weekly, August 18, 2012, "Dan Richards Loses War to 'Enviro-Terrorists': Mountain Lion Killer No Longer President of Fish and Game" and KQED-TV of San Francisco, August 8, 2012, "Cougar Hunter Dan Richards Is Out as Fish and Game Commission President after Vote.")

In order to get an idea of just how difficult it is to keep these big cats alive it is illustrative to remember that in 1990 the voters in California approved Proposition 117 which outlawed their recreational killing. Yet, instead of saving lives, that measure has led to a quadrupling of their deaths.

That is because the initiative contained a very huge loophole that allows for the issuance of depredation permits on demand to livestock and domestic pet owners who claim to have been aggrieved by the cats. Accordingly, since 1990 ninety-eight cougars have been killed on the average each year, mostly at the behest of the owners of sheep, goats, and cows.

In 2016, that number soared to one-hundred-twenty. During that same time period, hunters in Oregon killed two-hundred-sixty-eight of the cats for pleasure while livestock owners systematically liquidated another one-hundred-fifty-one of them. (See The Sacramento Bee, November 3, 2017, "Why We Still Kill Cougars.")

On January 2nd of this year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it was ending the practice of automatically issuing depredation permits. Aggrieved applicants now are supposed, for what it is worth, to attempt to shoo away the cats before the licenses to kill will be issued.

It is highly doubtful that such a policy is either enforceable or that it is going to make much of a difference when it comes to reducing cougar fatalities. Besides, it pertains only to those cats that live in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountain ranges and that act of beau geste has been introduced only because their continued existence is threatened due to inbreeding. (See The Sacramento Bee, January 3, 2018, "State Lifts Automatic Death Sentence for These Mountain Lions That Prey on Pets and Livestock.")

Those cats that reside in Canada do not have any hope at all because any nation that is so bloodthirsty as to club to death more than three-hundred-thousand baby seals each winter for their valuable pelts and to slaughter hundreds, if not indeed thousands, of sled dogs once their services are no longer needed is not about to spare the life of a solitary cougar. (See Cat Defender post of March 27, 2006 entitled "Six Protesters Arrested as Baby Seal Slaughter Gets Under Way in Canada," Daily Mail articles of February 1, 2011 and May 3, 2011 and entitled, respectively, "Pack of One-Hundred Huskies Shot and Knifed to Death Before Being Tossed in a Mass Grave by Tour Operator Trying to Save Money" and "War Game Experts Exhume Bodies of One-Hundred Sled Dogs Killed by Tour Operator in Post Winter Olympics Massacre," plus The Globe and Mail of Toronto, November 22, 2012, "Fawcett Spared Jail Time in Sentencing Related to Sled Dog Killings.")

Canadians additionally gun down service dogs. For example, on September 18th of last year a hunter shot and killed a four-year-old Tamaskan named Kaoru just south of Squamish in British Columbia. Kaoru's killing was made all the more reprehensible in that she not only worked with autistic children but also adults going through emotional difficulties, such as bereavement.

Her killer never was either publicly identified or charged with any crime. That was in spite of the fact that the only animals that it was legal to hunt in that area and at that time of the year were black bears and mule deer which are easily distinguishable from dogs. (See the CBC, September 19, 2017, "Hunter Shoots and Kills Therapy Dog in Front of Owner.")

From all of that and more, it thus seems fair to conclude that the vast majority of Canadians are backward thinking, sticks-in-the-mud whose only interest in animals consists of their extirpation for both fun and profit. Moreover, that simply abhorrent attitude is best reflected in the inherent dishonesty of the country's media and its intellectual community. By contrast, the Daily Mail is forthright enough to recognize that there are at least two sides to every story.

"An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be," is how that Ambrose Bierce defined man in his 1906 seminal work, The Devil's Dictionary. "His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada."

That was true back then and it is even more so the case all these years later. Tomorrow is not soon enough for many individuals in that if they could they would have done with all the animals and Mother Earth to boot today and without so much as smidgen of remorse.

As things now stand, however, they are going to have to still their killing hands for just a little bit longer. That is because there are still beaucoup bucks for some of them to make off of the naked exploitation of animals, lies to be told by the eggheads, and countless thrills and ego trips to be had by the likes of Ecklund, Rock, Nugent, and Richards.

In this world, the beautiful and the noble most of the time serve as fodder for the ugly and base but that sobering reality cannot obliterate the eternal truth that the life of just one cougar is worth that of at least ten billion of their killers and those who so shamelessly defend them.

Photos: Facebook (Ecklund with the dead cougar and a piece of its flesh), The Mirror (Rock and Nugent with a dead cougar), and the LA Weekly (Richards with a dead cougar).