Category: cat stories

Reason #127 To Keep Your Cats Indoors: Bad Guys

“Hey! Sorry for stealing your cat. I felt really guilty about it, so I abandoned him by the side of the road in another town. Totes a bad impulse decision lol! I never meant to be the bad guy! I hope you can forgive me, but don’t worry, if you don’t I forgive you! Buh-bye!”

That about sums up the bizarre letter a Minnesota woman received on Dec. 11, three months after her cat, Dot, went missing.

She last saw Dot on Oct. 10, when Byron Thomas Vieau delivered a package to her home in Watertown, 20 miles west of Minneapolis. Vieau was visibly taken with Dot, the cat’s owner would later tell police, and bent down to pet the 12-year-old tabby as he delivered the package.

Security footage shows Vieau encountering Dot on his way over, and it’s clear the cat follows Vieau, but the 23-year-old Minnesota man likely nabbed Dot on the driver’s side while walking back to his truck because we don’t get an angle on the theft itself:

 

Vieau completed his delivery, and Dot was never seen again. Dot’s worried owner called the cops, who questioned Vieau, but he denied knowing anything about the missing moggie.

“Byron lied to me (twice) immediately after Dot was stolen, he lied to police the next day, I feel he is still lying about what he did to Dot,” Dot’s owner wrote in a Facebook post. “In my world this is such an unnecessary tragedy and I wish this upon nobody!”

Then in mid-December, Dot’s owner received this batshit-crazy letter from Vieau:

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The letter reads:

Dear Heidi,

My name is Byron and I unfortunately made a poor judgment decision to take your cat. I cannot stress enough how sorry I am, I am a HUGE animal lover and I only wanted to have a pet of my own. It wasn’t meant to hurt anyone. I am so embaressed [sic]. I did make a bad impulse choice right outside of Watertown to let the cat go, I started feeling awful and quickly shoved the cat out of my car. I do not know where it went after that. This isn’t the story I gave you the first time, I felt so bad and I didn’t want to own up to things. I just wanted to take it home with me, but I quickly changed my mind. I never hurt it and I never meant to cause this much pain. I should have owned up sooner. I can only hope they can find it where I dropped it off. Again, I never meant to be a bad guy, I just wanted to give it a home. I’m so sorry for doing what I did. If you can’t find it in your heart to forgive me, I totally understand.

Byron Vieau
Dec. 11, 2019

What stands out is the lack of genuine awareness, of any consideration for the victim’s feelings or the welfare of the cat. Everything’s about Byron. Every sentence is “I wanted” and “I didn’t mean to” and “I can only hope.”

Every action is minimized: Byron Vieau didn’t steal the cat, he “made a poor judgment decision.” He’s a HUGE animal lover, and all he wanted was a pet of his own! Byron didn’t heartlessly shove a house cat — who doesn’t have the skills to survive as a stray — out of his car and abandon it on the roadside, he simply “made a bad impulse choice to let the cat go.”

Vieau tells us he was “embaressed,” he “didn’t want to hurt anyone,” and “never meant to be a bad guy.” He doesn’t mention how Heidi pleaded for the return of her beloved cat, or her anguished posts on Facebook as she asked for help looking for the “clearly well-loved” tabby.

He’s looking for forgiveness and absolution from his victim without troubling himself with considering her feelings, because he wants to feel better about what he did.

Police have arrested Vieau and charged him with misdemeanor theft and misdemeanor animal abandonment, which carry extremely light penalties. Under Minnesota law, Dot’s theft is a minor property crime of the same severity as the theft of say, a toaster, but not as severe as a shiny new flatscreen TV.

In the meantime, Dot is still MIA. Dot is primarily white and black, with traditional tabby markings on his head, and he weighed about 14 pounds at the time he was taken, according to police.

Any readers in the Carver County or Watertown area of Minnesota can call Detective Neil Kuhnau of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office at 952-361-1212 if they’ve spotted the missing moggie.

We hope Heidi and Dot are happily reunited.

Cat Destroys 2,400-Piece Model, Uses Power of Cuteness To Evade Consequences

Toys are big business in the world of online auctions, and a guy in Thailand builds complex toy models as his side hustle, selling the completed items to collectors who don’t have the time to construct the models themselves.

It took Phumai Phornthong a week to assemble the 2,432-piece model of Doraemon, a robotic, time-traveling cat popularized by a Japanese manga series. He had a buyer all lined up and was ready to ship the cartoon kitty model when his own cat intervened.

Phornthong’s orange tabby did what cats do best and barreled into the completed model like a wrecking ball, shattering it into hundreds of pieces.

Here’s the model before kitty destroyed it:

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The completed Doraemon model, before it was destroyed in a whirlwind of feline energy. Credit: Phornthong/Facebook

And here’s the aftermath:

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No guilt, no remorse. He’s a killing machine! Credit: Phornthong/Facebook

Just look at that adorable cat: There’s not even the slightest trace of guilt on his little face.

“Damn cat!” Phornthong wrote. “I spent a week making this. The customer wants it before the new year.”

Then he added an ominous threat: “I will kill you!”

Thankfully, no actual felines were hurt during this incident. The unnamed tabby used his Powers of Cuteness to diffuse his human’s anger, and all was right with the world. Except, of course, the broken model. We imagine kitty will be quarantined from the build area in the future.

We here at Pain In The Bud sympathize with Mr. Phornthong. It was just two Christmases ago when I opened by bedroom door to find my beautiful, beloved Les Paul on the floor in two pieces, with the neck snapped at the halfway point. Buddy’s own considerable powers of cuteness saved him from certain death, or at least a punishment of no Temptations for a year.

King Buddy the Cat
“Yes, I did destroy it, but look at how cute I am!”

 

 

Somewhere in the world, an excited buyer is going to be disappointed to learn his or her Doraemon model will be at least a week late.

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Rescuing A Pet From War: How Americans Help Cats, Dogs Escape Hell

With so much human suffering in war-torn countries, the animals often get overlooked.

For every family huddled in a basement during an air raid there’s a mother cat trying to get her kittens to safety as forces she can’t comprehend rend the sky and shatter the Earth. For every shoeless kid playing in the mud, there’s a rib-thin dog nosing through the trash for a morsel.

But not everyone looks past them: More than 1,000 American service members have adopted cats and dogs from Afghanistan alone, according to the country’s only animal shelter.

“When you think about a soldier that’s been on the front lines for years, away from family and friends, that animal has probably been one of the only positive things throughout the whole process,” said Pen Farthing, a former member of the UK’s military who founded Nowzad, the sole clinic and shelter for animals in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Dan Brissey is one of them. The Delaware man, who was deployed to Kabul with the Maryland National Guard as an engineer, found himself caring for an orphan kitten during his deployment.

He named the kitten Sully and, knowing he couldn’t leave Afghanistan without her, reached out to Farthing and Nowzad.

Brissey and Sully
Brissey and Sully, the cat he adopted after caring for her in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit: Dan Brissey

Taking an animal back home is prohibitively expensive, Farthing said, with airlines charging a premium to fly animals from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

They don’t provide discounts for the service, and in all it costs more than $3,000 to bring a cat back to the US and more than $5,000 for a dog.

Brissey paid a hefty sum, then turned to the internet to help raise the rest, and raise people did: Not only have they covered the cost to bring Sully back, there was enough left over to bring her more feral sister to the US as well. Both kittens will live with Brissey and his family.

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Sully will be reunited with Brissey after a brief period in quarantine. Credit: Dan Brissey

A common response to stories like this is “Why are we helping animals when so many people need help?”

The truth is, they’re not mutually exclusive things. A guy like Brissey spends his entire deployment working on civic projects to benefit the locals. Service members build critical infrastructure like water lines and power stations. They repair roads, keep neighborhoods safe and restore schools.

And in addition to the humanitarian aid distributed directly by the US, thousands of NGOs are on the ground in those countries, using private donations to staff medical clinics and build new housing. Americans are exceedingly generous when it comes to charitable giving.

So it’s not one or the other. We can help people as well as animals. A thousand dogs and cats helped by Nowzad in Afghanistan might not seem like much, but to each of them it makes a life of difference.

For people accustomed to living in peace, with well-funded animal charities taking cats and dogs off the streets, it’s difficult to imagine the reality on the ground in war-torn countries.

“There has been no form of stray animal control in Afghanistan now for nearly 40 years, because of various ongoing conflicts,” Farthing said. “There are stray dogs on every single street corner.”

For American service personnel — many of whom are animal lovers — helping just seems like the right thing to do.

“I just want to do what I can for her,” Brissey told military.com “Take care of her and give her a good home.”

Buddy Reads Internet Comments

Buddy: Watcha doin’, amigo?

Big Buddy: Nothing much, just looking at some NBA box scores before bed.

Buddy: Can you go back to the comments on that last story about me? The one where you exaggerate how I wait for you by the door…

Big Buddy: How exactly was that story exaggerated?

Buddy: I don’t wait for you by the door when you leave. I merely take a nap in proximity to the door. There’s a difference.

Big Buddy: Uh, okay then.

Buddy: Just read the comments!

Big Buddy: Okay. Wow, this one is very complementary: “Buddy is the most handsome tabby alive. Stunningly beautiful! Those eyes…”

Buddy: I like that one. More!

Big Buddy: Okay here’s one that says “He’s an absolutely beautiful cat,” and the next comment reads “What a sweetheart!”

Buddy: It’s true, isn’t it? I’m almost too handsome and charming. More!

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Big Buddy: All right, this one says “Buddy has exquisite eyes.” Here’s another that says “What a gorgeous cat!” Oh, and you’ll like this: “Buddy is quite the hottie!”

Buddy: That’s what I’m talking about! People are finally recognizing my good looks! More!

Big Buddy: All right, what do we have here? “Buddy is a vain little jerk. I bet he rolls around in his own poop!”

Buddy: WHAT?! Who wrote that?

Big Buddy: Someone named LosGatos13. Pfffft. Wow. Listen to this one: “What a fat bastard. The police would throw him in jail, but he’d just eat his way out.” Ouch. Oh, this one from ChickMagnet217 is even worse: “Buddy is so fat, I took a photo of him last year and it’s still printing.”

Buddy: WHAT?!? Let me see that!

Big Buddy: Is that steam coming out of your ears?

Buddy: Buy us a plane ticket, now!

Big Buddy: Uh, why?

Buddy: Because you and I are going to fly from the internet to find this ChickMagnet217 and beat him up!

Big Buddy: You weigh 10 pounds. What are you doing to do, shred his ankles?

Buddy: No, I’m going to wait for you to beat him up, then I’m going to jump on top of him and slap him silly!

Big Buddy: That’s an assault charge, little dude. If I’m buying a plane ticket it’s gonna be to someplace warm where they put little umbrellas in cocktails, not to some nerd’s house.

Buddy: I’m sure they have umbrellas and cocktails wherever ChickMagnet217 lives. This is important. I order you, as my servant, to buy the ticket!

Big Buddy: No.

Buddy: Buy it!

Big Buddy: Nope. Calm down. Go take a nap or something.

FOUR DAYS LATER…

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[There’s a knock at the door. I open it to find two unamused police detectives standing in the apartment hallway.]

Big Buddy: What can I do for you, officers?

Detective: I’m looking for a Buddy…

Big Buddy: You’ll have to be more specific, I’m afraid…

[Detective holds up a turkey-stained envelope in an evidence bag, with ChickMagnet217’s address and my return address written in sloppy crayon.)

Detective: Are you familiar with the Interstate Fecal Transport Act of 1972? It’s a federal offense to mail shit across state lines, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Big Buddy: Could you hold that thought a second? Thanks.

[Clears throat]

Buddy! Come here, Bud, these nice men are from the cat food company and you’ve just won a years’ supply of Savory Turkey Entree!

[Buddy comes tearing toward the door and skids to a halt, looking up at me and the detectives.]

Buddy: A whole year of turkey? Wow!

Big Buddy: Yup! You’ll just have to go with these two gentlemen here. They’ll take you back to the, uh, pet food headquarters to sign some paperwork for your turkey. Bye, Bud!

buddy_delicious
“A whole year’s supply of turkey! I hit the jackpot!”

The Cat Who Ate The Turkey

Buddy has a new hero.

Heather Ziegler, a columnist for a local newspaper in West Virginia, recalls a Thanksgiving from her teenage years made memorable by her cat helping himself to the turkey:

My mother had taken the huge frozen turkey and placed it on top of the [freezer] to begin the thawing process several days before Thanksgiving. By the grace of God, we all survived this process over the years.

However, this particular year was a first for our family. A day or so before Thanksgiving, my mother went to retrieve the turkey. A scream was heard, peppered with a few harmless curse words. At some point, the family cat had discovered the turkey and had begun to enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving meal. The turkey was ruined and it was too late to thaw another bird.

The story has a happy ending of sorts: Heather’s mom and dad took all twelve (!) of their children out to dinner, where they were joined by their young cousins, whose police officer father had been shot a few days earlier and remained hospitalized. Thanks to the crafty cat, those kids had the comfort of their extended family on a difficult holiday.

Since then, Ziegler writes, The Turkey Incident has become a fondly-remembered bit of family lore.

As regular readers of Pain In The Bud know, turkey is Buddy’s favorite food in the universe.

Why turkey, and why not chicken, beef, salmon, duck or tuna? Who knows? He’s loved it since kittenhood and would eat turkey all the time if he could.

Thankfully he won’t be putting a damper on Thanksgiving: I don’t eat meat, and my aunt hosts Thanksgiving in her house. But maybe it’s time for a special turkey treat for the good boy in the form of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Cat and Turkey!
This silver tabby (not Buddy) can’t wait to get his paws on leftover turkey. Photo credit: Nick Strate