Category: cat stories

Cat Caught Smuggling Drugs Into Russian Penal Colony

Apparently some criminals in Russia avoid jail sentences and are sent instead to penal colonies, which are closed compounds resembling Laconian communes instead of prison blocks.

And apparently using cats to smuggle drugs into penal colonies is a favorite pastime among the Russkies — every few months a new story hits the headlines, detailing doomed drug delivery operations using kitties as couriers.

The latest comes to us courtesy of Tatarstan, where an inmate’s non-incarcerated confederates withheld food from a cat for a few days, then slipped hash in a hidden sleeve in kitty’s collar before setting him loose near the penal colony.

The hungry cat headed toward the compound where an inmate was presumably waiting with pungent chow to lure his unsuspecting mule. But guards realized there was something odd about the cat, and after a short chase around the grounds they were able to corner the purrpetrator, according to the BBC.

Here’s the sneaky tortoiseshell immediately after penal colony guards intercepted him in late October. He doesn’t look happy that he’s been caught and he’s missed some meals:

Russian cat gets caught carrying drugs
Can we get some Friskies for this guy already?

Meanwhile in the city of Novomoskovsk a case against a local inmate is on the brink of collapse after the cat who allegedly delivered drugs to him managed to escape from custody.

The slippery kitty was allegedly an accomplished mule when authorities nabbed him and found heroin in his collar. Three witnesses told prosecutors the tabby was a reliable enough courier that his owner, Eduard Dolgintsev, took regular drug orders for other inmates, per Russian media reports.

Wanted: Russian drug mule
WANTED: Dmitry the Deliverator, on charges of delivering smack to Russian inmates and talking smack to Russian prosecutors 

The defense isn’t buying it.

Dolgintsev’s attorney told Russian newspapers he wanted to run experiments to see if the cat really would make reliable runs to and from the penal colony, hoping to demonstrate to the court that the idea was more fanciful than feasible.

The cat, who was considered evidence in the case, was kept in a “secure location” in a petting zoo facility, but when Dolgintsev’s attorney went there to check on the feline he was told it had slipped custody earlier, when staff let it out of the enclosure to get exercise and two dogs began creating commotion.

With the kitty’s dramatic escape, the case against the inmate looks shaky. A Russian legal expert told Kommersant.ru that the case would be dismissed unless “proof was previously obtained that the cat really did serve as an instrument in the crime.” Proof like lab test results showing traces of heroin on the his fur, for instance.

In the meantime, a very interested Buddy is wondering if the same method could be used to smuggle catnip and silvervine into The Big House, aka Animal Control…

Drug smuggling cat
This photo shows the Houdini of Novomoskovsk before he hightailed it out of his holding pen.

Man’s Elaborate Plan To Smuggle Fat Cat On Flight Backfires

Mikhail Galin loves his cat Viktor, that’s for sure.

The 34-year-old Russian and his feline flew from Riga, the capital of Latvia, to Moscow without any incident on Nov. 6, but when Galin checked in for an 8.5-hour flight to his destination in Vladivostok, he was told Viktor was too fat to fly in the cabin.

Officials from Aeroflot — Russian Airlines — told Galin there was an 18-pound limit for companion animals checked into the cabin, and at 22 pounds, the chonktacular Viktor was just too much chonk to hang with his human in business class. Instead, Viktor would have to tough out the long flight in cargo.

But Viktor was already stressed from traveling, and Galin wouldn’t take the flight without the cat by his side.

“I was very worried that during the duration of an eight-hour flight, something would happen to him in the cargo and he wouldn’t survive the trip,” Galin told the Washington Post.

When he couldn’t persuade Aeroflot to let him board with Viktor, Galin turned to social media for help and found a couple sympathetic to his cause. Their cat, Phoebe, looked like a miniature Viktor.

Galin booked a business class ticket, met up with the couple at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, and presented Phoebe as the cat he was taking with him on the flight. After airline employees weighed Phoebe and waved Galin forward, he and his new friends switched Viktor back in for his smaller body double and parted ways.

The plan worked beautifully and Galin would have gotten away with it if he hadn’t celebrated the successful swap on social media. He couldn’t resist the temptation and posted photos of Viktor on the flight: One shows the chubby cat peeking out of his carrier next to a glass of champagne, while another shot has Viktor in Galin’s lap, man helping cat enjoy a bird’s eye view.

Mikhail Galin and Viktor
Viktor takes a liking to business class.

The post went viral, an unamused Aeroflot got wind of it, and after an investigation the company docked Galin almost 400,000 frequent flier miles, his entire stash. It also booted him from its bonus miles program entirely.

“The law is harsh, but it is the law,” Galin told NBC News, repeating a stoic Russian maxim about punishment. “I violated the rules, and the carrier has every right to take action.”

Thankfully the result wasn’t all bad and Galin was rewarded for his loyalty to his cat. He told the Post several cat food companies had offered a year’s worth of food free for the flabby feline, and other transportation companies offered free use of their services.

While one politician called for Aeroflot to relax its rules on pet weight, the government wisely stayed out of kitty affairs.

“I don’t believe the Kremlin can or should comment on a situation involving a cat,” a spokesman for Vladimir Putin deadpanned.

As for Viktor, he’s made it clear he expects the same level of comfort next time he flies.

“He liked business class a lot better than economy class,” Galin said, “because he considered himself superior.”

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Viktor 11,214 snacks ago.

 

 

 

Cat 1, Parents 0: Heroic Cat Rescues Toddler

A cat in Colombia has been hailed a hero for saving a 1-year-old boy from a potentially nasty fall down a flight of stairs.

The incident happened on Halloween in Bogota. Samuel, the toddler, had escaped his play pen and had nearly made it to the stairs on all fours when Gatubela, a Siamese mix, leaped into action.

The cat dragged little Samuel back from the brink, then put herself between the toddler and the stairs, pushing him to safety:

 

“The cat has been part of our family practically since birth, we had her here when she was a month, a month and a few days old, and she has become familiar with my children,” Samuel’s father, Jesid Leon, told a reporter. “She is two months older than my son.”

As for the rest of it, I have no idea what’s going on here. Why does the floor look like a demilitarized zone? Where are the parents? And does Gatubela — whose name means Catwoman — get paid for babysitting? At the very least she deserves some treats…

Gatubela, Hero Cat
Jesid Leon, father of Samuel, cradles the heroic Gatubela.

A Black Cat Didn’t ‘Hex’ The Giants: They Just Stink

It’s been two days since a black cat briefly halted play by dashing onto the field during a nationally-televised football game between the Cowboys and the Giants, and now people are blaming the cat for the Giants’ loss.

Sportswriters are leading the charge, writing about hexes and omens and jinxes, and dusting off the cat puns as fans share memes about the kitty’s dark powers of suckage. It’s a “cat-tastrophe!” Har har!

We’re here to state the obvious: The New York Giants suck regardless of the black cat. They sucked before the cat appeared, they sucked during the game, and they’ll continue to suck for the seven remaining games of the season.

You could say they’ve elevated it to an art, registering losing records in six of the last seven seasons.

Giants Black Cat
Horrified by another losing season, the unnamed black cat tried to flee MetLife Stadium.

On Monday night the Giants took a drubbing, losing to the mediocre Dallas Cowboys 38-17 at home and lowering their season record to 2-7. The cat’s break for freedom was the most exciting play of the game.

In other words, the cat wasn’t the cause of the losing, he was a symptom — horrified by his team’s play, he took flight and was desperately trying to find a way out of the stadium. We’re sure of it!

In the meantime, stadium staff still haven’t found the freaked-out feline, and while an anonymous team employee says there are some 300 cats living in and around the stadium, a team spokesperson says that number is closer to 30, according to the New York Post.

Some of the cats live in the bowels of MetLife Stadium while others live on the grounds of the adjoining Meadowlands race track. They’re descended from cats brought in “decades ago” to tackle a rat problem at the track and in the tunnels connecting the facilities, according to the Bergen Record.

The stadium’s owners pay to keep the cats fed and spayed/neutered, per newspaper reports, while staff at the complex care for the animals. Good on them.

Now the Giants look ahead to Sunday’s match-up with the Jets in an event affectionately referred to as the Toilet Bowl. The two New York teams are a combined 3-14 this year, but fear not — as they go head-to-head, one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win!

 

New York’s Fattest Cat Is Melting Pounds

Barsik the cat made headlines about five months ago when he was surrendered to a Manhattan animal shelter at a whopping 41 pounds.

The five-year-old was kept in the shelter’s office because he couldn’t comfortably fit into a standard cat cage, and a regular carrier couldn’t contain him either so he was carted in a stroller, according to the New York Post.

Barsik the Cat
An unamused-looking Barsik sits next to an empty food bowl.

To add insult to injury, when staffers at the shelter wheeled Barsik inside, an amused visitor dug out her cell phone, laughed as she snapped a few photos and asked: “Did he eat another cat?”

Barsik has come a long way since that depressing day.

The big guy has been in the foster care of Angelique Iuzzolino of New York’s Anjellicle Cats, and he’s been steadily dropping weight.

Barsik weighs 34.9 33.3 pounds, according to Iuzzolino, who has been posting updates on Barsik’s Instagram. He’s still extra chonk, but he’s no longer in danger of matching the 46-pound Guinness record for a cat. Most importantly, he’s making progress.

He certainly looks a lot happier than he did when he was abandoned by his former people:

Barsik the Cat
Barsik has dropped about 19 percent of his body weight.
Barsik the Cat
Barsik is on a veterinarian-supervised diet.

Barsik will be up for adoption, but if you’re interested in the big guy you’ll have to wait. He’s got a few more pounds to lose before he goes to his forever home.

UPDATE: Barsik is now up for adoption! Prospective servants have until Nov. 10 to fill out an application.

Dear Sir or Madam: I Have Recently Come Into An Inheritance of 5,000lbs of Premium Catnip

Dear Sir or Madam,

Warm salutations and greetings to you, my friend! I am writing to your most esteemed personage having just been informed by my attorneys that I stand to inherit more than 5,000 pounds of premium catnip, including Meowie Wowie, Purrple Haze, Kitty Kush and Mewbury OG.

However, due to the Byzantine inheritance laws of my homeland of Nigeria, I am unable to come into my considerable catnip fortune without an American bank account, which is needed to pay the inheritance fee to the Nigerian Office of Catnip Inheritance.

This is where I must humbly ask for your assistance, good sir or madame. It is my fervent hope that we may come to an agreement in which you allow me to make the inheritance payment from your account in exchange for a large portion of my inheritance. Would 2,000 pounds of catnip be acceptable recompense to you for this favor?

Yours truly, your friend,

Grand Prince Four One One, Nigerian Royal Family Cat


Dear 411,

Wow! Five thousand pounds of catnip! This sounds almost too good to be true! If I were you I’d build a big vault for all my catnip and go swimming in it daily, like Scrooge McDuck does with his money!

I don’t know where Nigeria is but it sounds like a wonderful country. I stole my human’s bank information and have attached it to this email. When will I get my 2,000 pounds of catnip?

Your friend,

Buddy

High on catnip!
Photo by Andrew Marttila.

Dearest Most Magnificent Buddy,

Warm salutations! It is my life’s honor to count you among my friends and execute this business deal together. Good fortune smiles on us both, and soon we will be bathing in rivers of catnip, the envy of all other cats!

There has been a small hiccup with the Ministry of Inheritance. In order to process my payment, I am required to submit a small processing fee with the Royal Processing Fee Bureau of Nigeria. It is only a paltry sum of $2,000, but again I am only able to make this payment via an American bank account.

If you would be so kind as to authorize the payment, you shall be reimbursed of course and we will be basking in our new catnip fortunes shortly!

With great affection and respect,

Four One One, Feline of the Nigerian Royal Family


Dear 411,

If you can repay the $2,000 right away, I’m happy to help! I’ll look out for the check and the catnip in the mail!

Buddy

Mmmm, catnip!
Photo by Andrew Martilla.

Most Marvelous Benefactor Buddy,

You, Sir, are my most valued and trusted friend! They say American cats are fat, lazy and selfish, but they are wrong, for you are not selfish at all! I have let it be known in my village that Buddy of America is a wonderful and wise cat. They sing songs about you and your generosity.

We are almost in possession of our catnip, my friend! All that remains is to cover the shipping fee and the Royal Nigerian Export fee. They are paltry sums, merely $4,000 and $3,500 respectively. I have already had my servant mail the $2,000 reimbursement for the processing fee, and will similarly return the funds promptly upon paying the export and shipping fees from your respected American bank account.

I received but a small sample of the Meowie Wowie this afternoon and raise a toast in your honor!

Your Loyal Friend,

Four One One, Cat Royal of the Family


Dear 411,

I’m fresh out of cash. What if I could scrounge up some cans of tuna and some old toys? Could we bribe the clerk to waive the export fee?

Buddy


Dear 411,

I haven’t gotten my $2,000 reimbursed and still no catnip! I know you probably forgot to write me back, but can you please tell me what the status is?

Buddy


Dear 411,

You tricked me! No catnip, no reimbursement, no village cats singing songs about me!

It just so happens I have a cousin in your country. He’s gonna pay you a visit!

Buddy

DBBAAD4A-4337-4064-A962-713532E3931C
Photo by Andrew Martilla.

Dearest Most Esteemed Honorable Buddy,

Your, ahem, cousin presented himself just minutes ago. Please, on my behalf, thank him again for not eating me! I did not know lions could be so merciful and had already emptied my bladder by the time I realized he would allow me to live.

Here is your $2,000 and the first 200 lbs of catnip you are owed. The rest will be delivered in installments for the next 24 months.

Lastly, I am instructed to inform you that, per your cousin’s direction, the music teachers have been drafting paeans to your majesty, and the kittens will stage a three-act play about how awesome you and your cousin are. But mostly your cousin.

Begging your forgiveness,

Four Eleven

All photos in this post are from photographer Andrew Marttila’s book, appropriately titled Cats on Catnip. Buddy highly recommends checking it out!

4F3BE300-38AC-4C9F-ABEA-083847B845BA
Photo by Andrew Martilla.

Meanwhile, in Africa…

lioncatnip
Buddy’s cousin, enjoying the, uh, fruits of his labor. Photo credit: Linton Zoo

Cats Hate Treadmills More Than People Do

Meet Cinderblock, or Cinder for short. In the video below, a veterinarian’s got her on a treadmill, and Cinder is having NONE of it. Is it just me, or does that meow sound a hell of a lot like “No!”?

To make matters worse, it’s an underwater treadmill. Water and exercise, the bane of cats everywhere!

Anyway, Cinder takes the opportunity to provide a master class in how to get by with the absolute least amount of effort:

Cinder was surrendered to the veterinarian by her owner, who said she could no longer care for the portly kitty and asked for her to be euthanized. The veterinarian, Brita Kiffney, had a better idea.

“I couldn’t do it and asked her to relinquish her to me,” Kiffney told CNN. “She agreed and was grateful, as she really didn’t want to euthanize Cinder but was overwhelmed with the care of her father. So, she is morbidly obese, due to overfeeding by the father.

Now Cinder is on an involuntary weight loss journey, which Kiffney is documenting with a new Youtube channel, Cinder Gets Fit. Recent updates like the video below show the reluctant chonkster didn’t get away with the one-paw treadmill workout for long:

We wish Cinder and Brita the best of luck!