Tag: coronavirus

Going To Asia? Leave Your Pets At Home, Plus: Aussie Former Soldier Pleads In Shelter Assault

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been kind to pets, but the virus itself has done little damage to animals compared to the actions of scared and misinformed people.

After finally admitting it had a human-to-human transmissible virus on its hands — months after it knew privately about the virus outbreak — the Chinese government waged a war on pets in the first few weeks of 2020 as the world watched in horror.

People abandoned pets en masse in empty homes and apartments, while government authorities shot dogs and cats on sight to prevent the spread of the virus even though there was no evidence they could be infected, much less pass the virus to people. As paranoia and misinformation spread, people even resorted to clubbing pets to death on the streets.

Now we know cats can get the virus, but there’s still no evidence they can transmit it to humans, which makes the practice of killing COVID-infected pets even more infuriating in addition to pointless.

The latest incident is from Vietnam, where authorities killed 15 dogs and a cat belonging to a local bricklayer who returned to his home province after work dried up. Authorities seized his pets and “destroyed them” last week in what a government official is now calling a mistake prompted by “COVID prevention pressure and local coercion.”

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Pham Minh Hung, 49, with his dogs as he returned home to Ca Mau, Vietnam. Credit: Pham Minh Hung

That story follows an incident in the Chinese city of Harbin, where three cats were euthanized in late September — over the owner’s objections — by authorities who said they were worried the pets would “re-infect” their owners.

Pet ownership and respect for animals among the public has increased in countries like China and Vietnam in recent years, prompted by an increase in disposable income and the influence of the internet. Both cases caused widespread backlash in their respective countries, with users defying laws prohibiting criticism of government to complain about the pet killings.

“It doesn’t seem very realistic that the cats would contaminate the environment so badly that they would be a risk for their owner to re-contract COVID,” Rachael Tarlinton, a virology professor at the UK’s University of Nottingham, told Reuters.

He REALLY Wanted His Cat Back

Meanwhile in Australia, a former soldier has pleaded guilty to reduced charges after he “stormed” a pet shelter in Melbourne’s suburbs to recover his cat in January.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old Tony Wittman was outfitted with a fake but real-looking rifle and full military gear when he went to the Lost Dog’s Home in Cranbourne West late on a January night, holding a female employee at gunpoint while demanding to know where the cats were kept.

Wittman had called the shelter 10 minutes before it closed earlier that night, Australian media reported at the time, and was told the shelter had recovered his cat, but that he’d have to wait until morning to claim her.

Wittman, who threatened to shoot the employee if she didn’t comply with his demands, told the court he suffers from PTSD and felt he needed to retrieve the lost feline immediately because he “loves his cat and relies on his cat for support.”

Wittman got spooked and left the shelter before taking his cat. He dumped his tactical vest and other gear in bushes not far from the shelter.

The incident was captured on the shelter’s security cameras, and Wittman was caught when he dropped by the following morning to pick up his cat as if nothing had happened.

“The victim and her work colleagues are absolutely traumatised by what’s happened,” a detective told the court in an earlier hearing. “He’s aware of their workplace. He lives close by. He has shown a complete disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the general public.”

Wittman’s lawyers were able to negotiate a deal with prosecutors in exchange for a guilty plea to lesser charges

Cat Alcatraz: Brazil’s Island of Abandoned Felines

In 2012, veterinarian Amélia Oliveira started a program to trap and neuter hundreds of cats who had been abandoned at Ilha Furtada, an island about 20 miles west of Rio de Janeiro.

Known as Ilha dos Gatos — island of the cats — the island was teeming with starving former pets and their feral offspring. Ilha Furtada has no natural source of drinking water, Oliveira said, and cats without hunting skills would quickly starve.

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Ilha Furtada became a curiosity for boaters and fishermen, and a sore spot for cat advocates trying to stop people from dumping animals there.

With the help of others, Oliveira began a program to end the misery on what’s been called “Cat Alcatraz”: The group managed to neuter more than 380 cats. Former pets were adopted out to new homes, but the ferals would need to remain on the island, so volunteers began feeding them and bringing fresh water on a regular schedule.

With the cooperation of local authorities, the group put up signage around the island and the coast warning that abandoning pets is illegal and asking people not to interfere with the island cats. There were plans for an official survey to quantify the feline population, an initiative to use cameras to dissuade people from dumping their pets on the island…

…and then came the Coronavirus pandemic.

Whatever gains Oliveira and company made over eight years have now been erased as Brazil — one of the countries hardest hit by the virus — has suffered more than 450,000 deaths officially (and likely much more uncounted) and an economy wrecked by waves of infection and lockdown.

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A “feline shantytown” on Ilha Furtada.

Many owners could no longer afford to feed themselves or their cats while others died, leaving their cats at the mercy of relatives and landlords. Once again, people began abandoning their pets on Ilha Furtada.

“If you don’t take them, they’re going out to Island of the Cats,” people would tell shelter operators, a veterinarian told the Washington Post’s Terrence McKoy.

While the feline population of Furtada Island increased, resources dwindled as lockdowns prevented volunteers from delivering food and water as often as they had in the past.

Now the island has “the appearance of a feline shantytown,” dotted with dilapidated and hastily-constructed shelters for its resident felines.

I recommend reading the entire story, one of just a few highlighting the toll the pandemic has taken on pets.

Brazil Cat Island
Volunteers from Animal Heart Protectors fill a dispenser with food for cats on Furtada Island, popularly known as “Island of the Cats,” in Mangaratiba, Brazil, Credit: AP/Silvia Izquierdo)

The Easter Buddy Wishes You A Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from the Easter Buddy! Bud and I wish our readers a happy, safe and relaxing Easter, socially distanced though it may be. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a return to some semblance of normality later this year.

In the meantime, though, our little buddies have helped us get through these dark months, entertaining us and keeping us company through the initial wave of the pandemic, the lockdowns and the long winter.

Could you imagine the past year without your cats? We can’t. Make sure to thank your own little buddies for being there for you during this pandemic!

easterbuddy

Poll: 1 In 3 Cats Refuse Vaxx Jab Over ‘Big Vet’ Fears

WASHINGTON — Citing concerns about “Big Vet” and the industry’s role in the global pandemic, one in three American cats say they won’t get vaccinated, a new Mew Poll found.

Many of the cats who participated told pollsters they’re suspicious of the vaccines, while others latched onto conspiracy theories or insisted “natural” remedies would yield better results.

One veterinarian’s Facebook post went viral after detractors insisted there was nefarious intent behind it.

“Come on in and get your kittens vaccined, neutered and microchipped,” the post read. “Plenty of appointments available!”

“I knew it,” one feline user responded. “Gill Bates wants to jab us, chip us and sterilize us! They’re not even trying to hide it anymore!”‘

Bates, the billionaire founder of MicroClaw, has been the subject of many conspiracies involving the virus and vaccine. Most allege Bates wants to sterilize all non-breed cats and claim all the world’s futons for himself.

Other versions of the conspiracy claim Bates owns all the world’s cat food manufacturers through subsidiaries and shell companies, and caused the pandemic by placing inert virus particles in kibble.

In a popular Youtube video with more than 7 million views, a feline narrator asks: “Have you noticed dogs aren’t getting sick, but we are? The Mayan calendar predicted this plague, and a famous Nostradamus quatrain warns of ‘a new self-proclaimed king who wears glasses, steals operating systems and rules Friskies and 9Lives with an iron paw.'”

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Gill Bates has been pushing cats to get themselves vaccinated.

Other conspiracists alleged Dr. Anthony Meowci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, has been working with the Siamese to install 7G chips in cats who agree to be vaccinated, in an effort to track the population and send subliminal messages directly to victims’ brains.

“Then before you know it you’ll be carrying a copy of Chairman Meow’s Little Red Book everywhere you go,” one prominent anti-vaccination catfluencer wrote on TasteBook. “Ask yourself: What’s Meowci getting out of this? A new cat condo and a lifetime’s supply of ‘nip? A fleet of brand new Roombas?”

Some opportunistic cats have exploited the vaccine skepticism, sensing a business opportunity. Among them is Blinkety Blink, prosperity preacher Joel Osteen’s cat, who is selling “Miracle Catnip Infused Healing Water” online for $89.95 a bottle.

The product can “cure COVID, UTIs, anxiety and even make your coat look smoother,” Blinkety Blink claims in a slick advertisement before jumping into the arms of his beloved human, who praises him for being a shrewd businessman.

“Big Vet doesn’t want you to know about this simple, cheap and effective cure,” Blinkety Blink said. “They want to pump more chemicals into your body, which will make you poop more, which means they sell more litter. It’s all connected!”

Osteen and Blinkety Blink
Osteen pictured with his cat Blinkety Blink, his private jet and his second mansion in Florida.

Buddy’s Solution To National Cat Food Shortage

Dear Friends,

It has come to my attention that our human servants are experiencing unprecedented difficulty in locating and purchasing canned cat food, commonly known as yums, due to Coronavirus-related warehouse and logistical challenges.

The companies that make yums have had facilities intermittently closed due to COVID breakouts, leading to shortages which have been compounded by the logistical problems as delivery systems are already overwhelmed.

There can be only one solution to this most serious of problems: Humans must share their food!

Effective immediately, I call on all humans to share their yums with us, and no skimping!

If you’re having filet mignon for dinner, Fluffy better get some too. I would also urge every one of you to increase your turkey consumption, setting aside generous portions for your feline overlords.

Not only is turkey delicious, but it increases the body’s immune response to viruses like COVID-19, according to the Buddy Center for Scientific Research. (This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.)

Do the right thing, humans. Share your food!

Your friend,
Buddy the Cat

Look at da yums
“Look at it. So juicy and delicious…”