Ruh Roh: As Pet Thefts Rise, Cops Advise Against Posting Photos Online

With the violent abduction of Lady Gaga’s dogs grabbing headlines this week, police say “petnapping” is on the rise, and people who post photos of their furry friends online are making it easy for thieves to identify targets.

The West Hollywood abduction of Gaga’s pets — who have since been safely returned by an apparently uninvolved person — was particularly disturbing and dramatic, as the robbers shot dog-walker Ryan Fischer four times in the chest before making off with two of the singer’s three French bulldogs.

Thankfully Fischer is stable and expected to make a full recovery, according to his family.

But the incident wasn’t the only high-profile pet-napping case in recent weeks, with a man stealing a van full of daycare-bound dogs in Portland earlier this month and smaller-scale dog heists reported in the US and UK.

“We have two types of crime here. One is the opportunists where they see a dog on its own and they steal it,” Det. Supt Neil Austin of the National Police Chiefs’ Council told The Guardian. “And the other is the more organised element where they target breeders or people who are selling puppies online.”

Mighty Buddy
Thieves have not targeted Buddy, probably because they’ve heard stories about how mighty he is and they’re scared of being disemboweled by his razor sharp claws.

With “designer” breeds and animals with unique looks commanding top dollar, pet theft has become a lucrative side hustle for criminals.

And with so many people posting photos of their pets online and creating social media accounts for their dogs and cats, it’s easy for thieves to identify four-legged targets.

“The advice I would give from a police perspective is be aware of social media,” Austin said. “People share pictures of their dogs and puppies on social media and very often haven’t got their privacy settings set correctly, and they use tags which obviously show where you live which is something to be aware of.”

While most cases that have made the news involve dogs, likely because they’re more vulnerable when their owners take them for walks, cats can become targets as well. Savannah cats often go for more than $10,000, while the ultra-rare Buddinese is priceless.

Which brings us to our next point, a crucial one. Buddy would like everyone to know he does not actually live in New York, and that his true location is a secret.

“I could be living in Rome,” the troublemaking tabby cat said. “I could be Luxembourgish. Maybe I live in Königreich Romkerhall or the Principality of Sealand. You just don’t know.”

“The one thing you can be certain of is I definitely don’t live in New York.”

Kingdom of Buddy
Maybe Buddy lives here.

Despite Snow and Danger, This Buddy Made His Way Home After 2 Weeks

Today we’re bringing you a story about another Buddy the Cat from New York, a well-loved domestic shorthair who went missing before a series of snowstorms walloped the New York City area.

This Buddy belongs to John Forestieri of Southold, NY, a town in Suffolk County, at the easternmost tip of Long Island. Forestieri brought the little guy to Fork Animal Hospital in Southold on Feb. 8 for surgery, but on the way out of the veterinary office something spooked Buddy and he bolted from his carrier.

Forestieri searched for his missing feline friend and enlisted the help of others. The veterinary office wasn’t far from his home at just more than two miles away, but a storm was bearing down on the area and Buddy would have to cross busy roads to make his way back.

“I walked for miles, for days and days and days,” Forestieri told local media. “Then the weather got nasty. I didn’t give up on him, but I did think, ‘I don’t think I can do anything for him now.'”

The New York area was already deep into winter weather after it was blanketed with more than a foot of snow on Feb. 2 in one of the worst winter storms in recent memory. A second snowstorm dumped another half foot of snow on the day Buddy went missing. To make matters worse, New York was caught in the deep chill that enveloped most of the country, knocked out power to millions and set new records for low temperatures.

“At first I was holding out hope that he’d be able to stay warm,” Forestieri said.

The Long Island man was beginning to think the worst when he was awoken by scratching outside his sliding door at 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Forestieri was overjoyed to see his Buddy. The cat, who’s been with the family for 10 years, was skinny and his epic trek had taken a toll on him, but he was otherwise okay. He cried out to Forestieri, and the Long Island man said he cried too — tears of joy at his cat’s safe return.

“I thought I was dreaming,” Forestieri said. “But he did it. He found his way home.”

Viral FB Post Claims Cats Have One Emotion: Contempt

You have to feel sorry for the people still stuck in the Zuckerbergian cesspit that is Facebook, spending their days wading through tedious political arguments and “SHARE IF U AGREE” shitposts written for the paste-eating crowd.

Unfortunately, the platform’s rampant misinformation is not limited to politics. Here’s one of the latest viral posts:

Facebook Derp
Derp derp derp! A derp a derp derp derp!

And this is what it looks like now, to protect people like your aunt who keeps sending you email forwards about Pizzagate:

Facebook: Derp!
Despite the flagged warning, people are still sharing the post. “Big Tech doesn’t want us to know the truth ’bout cats!”

Whenever I encounter stuff like this, my first instinct is to dismiss it as nonsense no one would actually believe. Then I remember our dubious track record when it comes to critical thinking: a third of millennials are flat-Earthers, one in four Americans thinks the sun orbits the Earth, and more than 16 million Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Some futurists and ethicists thought the world wide web would bring an end to conspiracy theories and outlandish beliefs, with the sum of human knowledge at our fingertips and the disinfectant power of the truth. But falsehoods have remarkable staying power, and the internet is happy to oblige any conspiracy theory no matter how far removed from reality, with sites like this one that says it offers “no-bullshit truth”:

Screenshot_2021-02-25 Why do cats purr

Screenshot_2021-02-25 Why do cats only feel contempt

So at the risk of stating the obvious, purring has nothing to do with a cat’s heartbeat, and cats experience all the same primary emotions we do (happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, nervousness) as well as quite a few secondary emotions, like jealousy, disappointment, contentment and confidence.

The idea that animals like cats and dogs are emotionless automatons went out of favor more than half a century ago, and modern technology has made it possible for scientists to peer into the minds of our domesticated friends and witness brain activity that mirrors our own when we process emotions. There is no debate: Cats have very real emotions, which is another compelling reason to treat them well.

Buddy In A Box!

A very special package came in the mail today:

Buddy: The Unboxing
FRAGILE: “Hmmm. Must be Italian.”

Amazon gave me free shipping on my brand new Buddy, which is supposed to be a vast improvement on the original first-generation Buddy. This Buddy is “more delightful than ever,” according to the marketing materials:

“The amazing Buddy 2.0 is 15 percent cuter, 0.003 percent more brave, and is better than ever at impressing your friends with his vast knowledge of poultry and useless trivia! Thanks to our patented Silky Smooth™ technology, your new Buddy’s fur will feel velvety and softer than ever when you pet him! IMPORTANT: Do not feed Temptations to your new Buddy. Doing so will void your product warranty.”

Buddy In A Box
This model must be plugged in 12 to 16 hours a day to recharge. Indicator lights (his eyes) will glow when fully charged.

“This Is The Creepiest Cat I’ve Ever Seen!”

Meet Pixel the cat, whose dread visage is so terrifying it prompted Buddy to run screaming and hide behind the TV:

Pixel the cat
Pixel the cat.

Buddy isn’t the only one to recoil in horror after seeing photos of the two-year-old Cornish Rex.

“All the time people say ‘this is the creepiest cat I’ve ever seen’, ‘my sleep paralysis demon has come to life’ and if they saw him in the middle of the night they’d have a heart attack and it would scare them to death,” said Alyson Kalhagen, Pixel’s human. “People say all the time that he’s a ‘demon cat’ who ‘must be possessed’ and that the devil’s taken control of him. It’s kind of a recurring theme.

“I think it’s pretty funny because I usually just say ‘imagine coming face to face when you’re trying to scoop the litter box.'”

Pixel the cat
“I will eat your soul…if you don’t give me treats!’

Kalhagen even heard from a self-described exorcist after she began posting photos of her wide-eyed feline, who favors making weird faces that accentuate his freakiness.

The “exorcist” suggested caging Pixel and praying over him, cautioning that the cat was possessed by an entity.

It probably goes without saying, but for the benefit of our readers who aren’t familiar with Catholic belief and customs, exorcists are longtime priests who must complete a great deal of instruction — on top of the usual nine years of education including a post-graduate theology degree — before they can become exorcists. It’s not a job you can seek out or volunteer for, and exorcists are rarely publicly identified.

lotrexorcist

So it’s a safe bet to say the person who contacted Kalhagen is a self-proclaimed exorcist at best. Still, the person’s conviction that the cat is possessed is amusing:

Screenshot_2021-02-24 demonic-cat-04-1 jpg (WEBP Image, 600 × 900 pixels)

Pixel, who has a thousand adoring fans on Instagram, is having the last laugh:

Pixel
“All those who defy my demands for snacks will perish in the searing flames of my eldritch wrath!”

Buddy the Brave
“Is he…is he gone? You sure?”