“The cat wasn’t meowing and the bag wasn’t moving,” municipal waste employee Mikhail Tukash told local television. “I needed to cut the bag to screen it for metals. I was just doing my job.”
In an eerily similar incident, three kittens were pulled from a conveyor belt in New Jersey on Dec. 17, just before they would have been killed in the threshing metal teeth of a glass crusher, the local CBS News affiliate reported.
Someone had disposed of the kittens in a backpack. This time the bag was moving, prompting Burlington Recycling Plant employee Barrie Donaldson to stop the conveyor.
“I looked at it real closely and they were moving,” Donaldson told the station. “And I was like, ‘Oh wow, there is something in this bag.”
Co-worker Ashley Bush, who was with Donaldson when he rescued the kittens, adopted one of the three baby cats and named her Precious.
“I looked to my right and I see all the teeth going,” Bush said. “That would have been horrendous.”
“Right away, I said, ‘I gotta have her,'” Bush added.
The other two were adopted by a local family. Police in Burlington are asking the public for tips to help them track down the person who disposed of the kittens.
As for the lucky Russian feline, local government officials in Ulyanovsk are holding a public contest to name the fluffster, who will also be named an honorary wildlife minister in the government’s efforts to tell the public not to toss animals in the garbage.
State employees in California have agreed to temporarily stop shooting cats after stories about their actions prompted an overwhelming backlash.
Employees with the East Bay Regional Park District have shot at least 18 cats this year, including a dozen in the past month. A spokesman for the state agency, which manages park land in nine California counties and major cities like San Francisco, claimed the cats were a threat to birds in a marshland not far from a business park where the felines lived.
But the East Bay Regional Park District has repeatedly lied about the cats’ fates, failed to work with local rescues and shelters, and refused to honor public records requests about the cat-killing program, according to animal rights advocates and local media.
Dave Mason, a spokesman for the East Bay Regional Park District, described the situation as “an out-of-control feral cat colony of at least 30 cats.” By contrast, staffers at local rescues, as well as the people who managed the colony, said most of the cats were strays, some were former pets, and they rarely entered the nearby protected marshlands.
“[East Bay Regional Park District] came out most likely at night, and shot and killed the cats we had cared for. We spent countless hours getting the majority of these cats fixed. Countless hours!” one local caretaker fumed on Facebook. “These cats were vaccinated, microchipped and healthy. We pulled kittens out when they presented themselves. We pulled adult cats out on many occasions. Some of which we believe were dumped there. We were constantly doing work there.”
Mason painted a very different picture of the situation.
“The Park District appreciates all animal life but is required by law to protect threatened and endangered wildlife living in District parklands,” he told SFGate. “It is imperative that the public understands that feral cats are not part of a healthy eco-system and feeding them only serves to put endangered wildlife at risk.”
Now the agency’s supervisory board has pulled the plug on killing cats, according to the local ABC affiliate, after receiving a flood of angry messages and phone calls about the policy. Dee Rosario, the board’s incoming president, told KGO she plans to have the practice ended permanently.
Board members also promised the public will get answers after the EBRPD ignored public records requests from journalists at KGO.
“The board will be asking some tough questions, and we want to get a report of exactly what happened,” said Ellen Corbett, who sits on the board. “And that’s why we’ve asked for an investigation.”
It’s worth noting there’s no evidence to support culling cats as an effective way to protect birds. Several studies, however, indicate TNR (trap, neuter, return) programs do have a measurable impact on local cat populations, and thus limit the number of birds and small mammals killed by free-roaming cats. The majority of animal welfare specialists — as well as groups like the SPCA and Humane Society — urge people to keep their pet cats indoors, and to get them spayed or neutered.
Initially, employees of the state agency claimed they’d trapped the cats and placed them in local shelters, colony caretaker Cecelia Theis said. But after staffers at local shelters said the East Bay Regional Park District did not drop off any cats, and a local TV news station began calling, the agency backtracked and admitted a team of “conservationists” shot the cats.
“There is a pile of bags and a hole in the fence near where I fed these babies every night. Those jerks hunted them and killed them,” Theis wrote on Facebook.
Later she told SFGate: “I’m looking out at the park crying their names.”
A Change.org petition urging the EBRPD to “honor its values” and cease shooting cats had accumulated almost 5,000 signatures in three days.
Cat advocates were particularly incensed that the EBRPD did not notify them before making the decision to kill the cats and didn’t reach out to local shelters for help finding a better solution.
“While we understand and fully support the need to safeguard protected wildlife and habitats from nonnative and predatory species, this tragic outcome did not need to happen,” said John Lipp, director of the Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter. His group and other local rescues “could have worked together to humanely rehome or relocate these cats had we been notified in advance.”
Despite the pledge to stop killing cats, advocates aren’t taking any more chances. They’ve trapped the remaining strays. Some will be put in foster homes, and four will be available for adoption in the near future.
A scowling street cat dubbed Giggles has found a new home thanks to his mean mug.
The tabby cat with an unforgettable glower was found roaming in Streetsboro, Ohio — a small city about 20 miles northeast of Akron — and had ticks as well as a wound from a cat bite, according to staff at Riggi Rescue.
After a good Samaritan brought the little guy in, the rescue fixed him up, then snapped a few shots which quickly went viral.
Despite Giggles’ fixed expression, the golden tiger-striped tabby is friendly and affectionate, shelter staff say.
“He’s not mad, he’s actually quite happy, sweet and charming,” Giggles’ rescuers wrote on Instagram. “If he’s angry about anything, it’s because you aren’t petting him.”
As expected, adoption offers poured in, and Giggles already has a home lined up, presumably to someone who’s going to make a fortune on Instagram from his mug.
Then Keep Your Cat Inside!
Iris the cat tips the scales at 7.5kg, which equals 16.5 pounds in the Proper American Way of Recording Weights and Measures™.
The fluffster has become so rotund that she can no longer fit through her cat flap. But her humans, who live a few miles south of Exeter in the UK, think the problem is their neighbors, so they’re “pleading” with people in their neighborhood “not to feed the overweight feline,” the Daily Mail reported.
“She’s getting bigger and bigger,” Sheena Wilson, Iris’ human, told the newspaper. “We cannot keep her indoors. Her diet, as you can see, is not going very well.”
Photographic evidence confirms the Russian blue does indeed love the snacks:
Iris can only manage to get her head through the cat flap now, “so she can only use it to play peek a boo and can’t fit the rest of her in it,” Wilson said.
But Wilson also told the newspaper Iris is a “diva” who demands attention, so we’re left to draw the obvious conclusion: Wilson and/or other humans responsible for Iris are letting her out every day, since she can’t get out on her own.
Iris “pretends to be neglected” and fools neighbors into thinking she has “an empty tummy,” Wilson said.
As much as Wilson may want to outsource supervision of her cat’s diet, it’s hard to believe anyone thinks Iris is underfed.
We sympathize, and we also know there’s a simple solution: Keep the cat inside. You can’t control your snack-dispensing neighbors, but you can cut off your cat’s access to them — and keep her safe from traffic and all the other dangers of the outdoors.
LAS VEGAS — Lunch with Elon Musk, a Fender Telecaster signed by Elvis and a date with Buddy the Cat were among the big-ticket auctions expected to help raise millions on Saturday for non-profits at the fourth annual Bucks 4 Buddies charity drive.
The proceeds from the event will be divided among animal shelters and veterinary clinics across the country, helping them stay afloat during difficult economic times and the height of kitten season.
Bidding for the Elvis-signed Telecaster had reached almost $160,000, while the top bidder pledged $75,000 for lunch with Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX.
Neither matched the frenetic bidding war that had erupted over a dinner date with Buddy the Cat, insiders said. By early Saturday evening the top bid had reached almost a quarter of a million and showed no signs of slowing down.
”Ladies and gentlemen, a quarter of a million dollars!” the auctioneer announced. “Do I have $275 thousand? Two hundred and seventy five, two hundred and seventy five to the elegant lady in the swan dress! Do I have 300? Three hundred thousand! Three hundred to the young lady in the back! Do I have three fifty?”
One woman sighed and hung her head in frustration as the bidding surpassed $400,000, leaving the auction to bidders with fatter wallets.
“I came here specifically for this auction,” said the woman, a European aristocrat who asked that she not be identified by name.
“Don’t feel too bad, darlin’,” said another woman, the well-coiffed wife of a Houston megachurch pastor who was fanning herself with a copy of the auction program. “I had to quit at three hundred thousand. Shame, too. Buddy looks so adorable in his little tuxedo!”
The auction’s organizers said they were delighted by the bidding war over dinner with the gray tabby after other auction items — including a night on the town with Rob Schneider and a weekend hunting pheasants with former Vice President Dick Cheney — fell short of expectations.
Other items on the auction slate did considerably better. A personal performance of “One Night In Bangkok” by Mike Tyson fetched $45,000, while a gold-plated dinner bowl encrusted with 24 karat diamonds — which belonged to Paris Hilton’s dog before she purchased a more ornate bowl for the pooch — brought in $92,500, auction organizers said.
Regardless, the date with Buddy the Cat was poised to bring in the biggest haul and easily garnered the most interest among female attendees of the charity auction.
The bidding was expected to last well into the night, with several determined parties — including supermodel Gigi Hadid, Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco and a white Persian believed to be the foundress of Fancy Feast — each looking to outbid the others for the privilege of dining with Buddy.
“We’re going to Tavern on the Green in Central Park,” a confident Hadid said, “where we’ll toast with champagne before I squeeze those adorable little cheeks! He’s so dreamy!”
Google News is a wonderful thing if you put it to good use.
A handful of alerts keep me abreast of cat-related news, arming me with potential topics and stories to share with you, the readers of Pain In The Bud.
Unfortunately when it comes to cat news, bad comes with the good. Lots of it.
For every story about lovable chonksters, cute kittens or miraculous reunions with lost cats, there are articles about dying felines rescued from hoarding situations, future serial killers torturing innocent animals and lunatics putting cats in microwaves.
Sometimes I have to stop, click off the browser and go find something to distract me from how disgusting the human race can be.
That’s why I’ve taken a pass on writing about Cupid the Cat — until now. (The story has a happy ending, thankfully.)
Last month, a Good Samaritan contacted the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, about a stray cat suffering from a horrific injury: The poor boy had been shot in the head with an arrow, leaving the shaft protruding from the side of his face.
The cat’s rescuers dubbed him Cupid because he was found on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and appealed to the public for help to cover the costs of several surgeries little Cupid would need to survive.
Despite the horrific act of violence committed against him by humans, and despite the pain he was enduring, Cupid was happy to see his rescuers, Chelsea Jones of the Animal Welfare League said.
“When he arrived and we opened his crate, we’re kind of shocked to see this cat with an arrow shaft sticking out of his face, is making biscuits …. That’s when cats knead their paws,” she said. “It’s a very comforting, positive behavior. And he was purring, and he wanted us to scratch his tummy and his chin. And we just could not believe that this cat was being so affectionate and friendly in how much pain he must be in.”
“So, it was kind of right there and then,” Jones said, “we were like, ‘We gotta call this guy Cupid.’”
Veterinarians worked for several hours to remove the arrow, clean the wound and stitch the little guy back up, putting him on antibiotics and painkillers. The arrow miraculously missed Cupid’s brain, eyes and other vital organs, but his rescuers feared he could succumb to a serious infection from the wound.
The Animal Welfare League put out an emergency appeal for $6,500 to cover the cost of Cupid’s surgery. Well-wishers covered the cost within hours, and by week’s end the League had taken in more than $87,000, allowing it to fund life-saving surgery for two other animals in addition to Cupid.
The young cat fought hard and recovered from his wounds, and after whittling down dozens of applications to 14 finalists, the League held a drawing.
“It would be amazing if we could send him home with everyone but only one lucky person gets to take cupid home,” Jones said.
Well, two people: Cupid went home with a loving couple from the Washington, DC, area. No more cold, no more hunger, no more loneliness — and protection from the kind of horrible people who would hurt an innocent animal. Congratulations to Cupid on getting better and finding a forever home!
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.