Tag: football

Sunday Cats: A Lost Cat Story With A Happy Ending, UK Takes Cat Abuse Seriously

A North Carolina woman suffered a roller coaster of emotions after she lost her cat, then found out the local SPCA had taken her cat in, only for the shelter’s staff to tell her a family had already adopted the cute tuxedo.

Chevelle Griffin of Asheville says her cat, Sally, went missing on Oct. 18. She didn’t know what happened until a few days later when she saw a Facebook post indicating a neighbor had taken Sally to the local SPCA. Sally was wearing a flea collar, but not an ID collar and was not microchipped.

Griffin blamed herself.

“That was my fault,” Griffin said. “That was my mistake. I should have had her chipped, but I didn’t and she’s mine and I want her back.”

She wasn’t happy when staff at the shelter “very bluntly” told her Sally had already been adopted out.

Sally the Cat
Sally was taken to the SPCA by a neighbor.

Lisa Johns, chief operating officer for the local SPCA, told local ABC affiliate WLOS that the shelter takes in as many as 35 cats a day and holds new animals for 72 hours. After that, if they have no health issues they’re put up for adoption.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. After Griffin lobbied the SPCA and WLOS began looking into the incident, SPCA staff contacted the family that had adopted Sally and asked if they would be willing to return her. They agreed, and Griffin said she’s relieved and has learned from the experience.

“I’ve kicked myself so much,” Griffin said. “If I’ve learned anything from this, get your pets chipped.”

It’s a tough balance for shelter operators dealing with overcrowding and the need to constantly free up spaces for new strays, but should the hold period be extended beyond 72 hours?

Zouma apologizes again

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Zouma, left, and his Bengal cats, right. Both cats were confiscated and remain in the care of the RSPCA. As part of the sentencing agreement for his animal abuse plea, Zouma will not be permitted to own a pet for at least five years.

Kurt Zouma — the West Ham player who ignited a firestorm earlier this year when his brother uploaded video of Zouma slapping, kicking and harassing one of his own cats — said he learned his lesson and again expressed remorse after he was sentenced by a magistrate’s court.

Zouma, a French national, faced consequences that would be unheard of in the US as a result of the abuse: He lost all his sponsorship contracts, was fined the maximum amount by his club team (£250,000, equal to about $338,00 at the time, a full one fifth of his salary), paid court fines of £9,000, is prohibited from owning pets for at least five years, and was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service. West Ham donated Zouma’s fined salary to animal charities in the UK.

He was persona non grata in the UK football world, subject to hearty boos and chants from crowds any time he touched the ball, and his cats were taken from him and placed in the care of the RSPCA. In addition, he was not selected for the French national team, meaning he won’t compete in the World Cup.

Following his sentencing this week in his first public comments about the controversy — aside from a terse apology in the form of a written statement issued months ago — Zouma said he acknowledges the video was “very tough for people to watch” and admitted he’d “done something very bad.”

Zouma’s brother Yoan was also convicted of animal abuse, receiving court fines and 140 hours of community service for participating in the abuse and filming it in front of his brother’s young son. Our readers might recall the brothers were turned in by a woman who was courted by the younger Zouma and was disgusted when she saw the video.

The woman had initially agreed to meet Yoan Zouma for an informal date, but told him to keep his distance after she saw the abuse clip, then reported the brothers to authorities.

“I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today,” she wrote in a message to Yoan Zouma at the time. “I do not want to associate with people who find that funny, in front of a child as well.”

Although what Zouma did was terrible, it feels like justice was served and the UK did right by the cats by taking the abuse seriously, both criminally and professionally. Instead of “canceling” Zouma, as would have likely been the response here in the US, the authorities in government and the Premier League made sure the footballer understood the gravity of his actions and took responsibility for them. Hopefully it served as an example to others who would think of harming their pets.

Cat Lovers And Soccer Fans Pitch In To Help Severely Injured Kitty Who Ran Onto Field

Running onto the field in the middle of a professional soccer game is probably the best thing Topsey the cat ever did.

The nine-year-old tortoiseshell went missing in June of 2021 when her human, Alison Jubb of Sheffield (UK) was going on vacation and taking Topsey to a cattery. Topsey got spooked, bolted from her carrier, and after months of fruitless efforts to find her, Jubb thought she’d never see her cat again.

Then in the 94th minute of a Feb. 8 match between Sheffield and Wigan Athletic, a familiar-looking tortoiseshell dashed onto the field. Wigan’s Jason Kerr risked a penalty to catch and calm the clearly distressed cat while the crowd erupted in cheers.

“My daughter-in-law rang me last night and said, ‘Are you watching the football match?'” Jubb said. “I said ‘No,’ and she said ‘There’s a cat that ran on the football pitch and it just looks like Topsey.’ And I sort of laughed it off because I thought it won’t be.”

But the veterinarian rang the next day and, to Jubb’s surprise and delight, said the Sheffield woman’s cat had been identified via a microchip scan.

One of Sheffield’s season ticket holders happened to be a veterinarian, and when he offered to examine the terrified feline at the stadium, he realized she had serious injuries and brought her to a nearby clinic.

Topsey the Cat
Topsey in better times before she went missing. Credit: Alison Jubb

Topsey had survived her harrowing eight-months away and her bloodwork was okay, but the veterinarian said the tough little kitty had endured an attack by a dog or another larger animal, who picked her by her neck and shook her in its jaws. Topsey suffered broken bones, a damaged spine and had teeth marks on her neck.

The veterinary bill is hefty: Jubb was told she’s looking at about £10,000, or more than $13,000 in US dollars, to cover the exams, scans, surgeries and other necessities to relieve Topsey’s pain and mend her little body.

Generous cat lovers and soccer fans helped Jubb and Topsey reach that goal in just a few days. The campaign’s donations sit at £11,585 as of Feb. 19, and any money left over from Topsey’s veterinary care will be donated to a local rescue.

Topsey can’t walk properly because of her injuries, and in the 11 days since she was rescued, she’s been in veterinary care, recovering and scarfing down food after so many lean months left her malnourished.

Topsey Recovering
Topsey’s swaddled up in the care of a veterinarian. Credit: Alison Jubb

Despite the severity of her injuries, Topsey is “very comfy and she’s doing really well,” Jubb told the BBC.

Jubb says Topsey is constantly purring and is no doubt thrilled to be reunited with her humans and on the mend.

“Everybody has been brilliant, – my phone’s not stopped all day, it’s amazing,” Jubb said after Topsey was recovered. “And the players, I’d just like to say ‘thank you’ for being so gentle and kind with her and everybody who looked after her [on Feb. 8] because they’ve all been so nice with her and that’s lovely.”

Sunday Cats: Chonky Kitty Gets A Home, Footballer Gets Second Chance After Cat Abuse

Sterling the cat is a cute and playful little guy, and no doubt would have his fans among those who love chonksters, but he has to lose weight.

That was the gist of the message posted by staff at the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Michigan, who wanted to find a home for Sterling but also wanted to make sure his new human(s) would be dedicated to his health.

The silver tabby with a Buddesian coat pattern tips the scales at 30 pounds. Not only is the weight unhealthy, but it makes life as a cat difficult.

“We know, those plump cheeks are adorable. But obesity is terribly unhealthy for cats,” Humane Society staff wrote on Instagram. “Sterling is fastidious about hygiene, but can’t groom himself properly (we had to shave matted fur off his back). He’s so lively and playful, but can’t chase after toys. He’s curious about the world, but can’t jump up to look out the window. He’s so affectionate, but can’t comfortably snuggle with his people.”

An adopter has stepped up to the plate and given Sterling a new family, a deal that includes committing to working with a veterinarian to get the kitty to slim down. The Humane Society haven’t said who the adopter is, but Sterling’s adoption profiles disappeared shortly after the shelter’s impassioned plea on Feb. 9.

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Sterling weighs about 30 pounds. Credit: Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Zouma gets another shot

Kurt Zouma, the Premiere League footballer who earned himself worldwide condemnation over the last week for uploading a video showing him abusing his own cat, won’t lose his job due to the scandal.

West Ham United Coach David Moyes said Zouma’s actions were “completely out of character from Kurt” and compared the abuse incidents to drunken driving.

“He’s a really good lad and we’re going to get him some help,” Moyes told reporters. “Just like people with drink-drive offences have to go to classes to learn the reasons and the damage that can be done, the RSPCA are going to provide some courses for Kurt to understand about animals and how to treat them.”

Moyes says Zouma has repeatedly apologized, and he thinks the French national is sincerely contrite.

“But what do you do?” the coach asked. “Do you keep punishing people or do you give them a chance to make things right? All of us in life need second chances sometimes, and we’re going to give Kurt a second chance.”

The controversy flared up immediately after the UK Sun published a story about three short clips showing Zouma drop-kicking, slapping and throwing a shoe at his cat. The clips were filmed by Zouma’s brother, who can be heard laughing in the background, and involved Zouma’s son.

In his apology, Zouma said the abuse was “an isolated incident,” but said there was “no excuse” for his actions.

“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video,” the soccer pro said.

Zouma was fined £ 250,000 — equal to about $330,000 — which is the maximum amount the club could fine him under league rules. He also lost his primary sponsorship with Adidas, which issued a terse statement and immediately dropped the center-back from its roster, and insurance company Vitality pulled its sponsorship from the entire team. Two other sponsors said they would meet with the club to discuss the issue.

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Scotsman Jason Kerr of Wigan gently scoops up Topsey, a house cat who interrupted play on Tuesday night by running onto the pitch in a match between Wigan and West Ham United.

Zouma also surrendered both of his cats — the one who was abused in the video and a second feline — to the RSPCA, which is conducting an investigation. Like the SPCA in the US, which has its own law enforcement division, the RSPCA has the ability to file criminal charges in cases involving animal abuse and neglect.

The felines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Did you know the first Siamese cat to reach America’s shores was probably Siam, who belonged to First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes?

Back when Thailand was called Siam, U.S. ambassador David B. Sickels read that Mrs. Hayes — wife of Rutherford B. Hayes — was a cat lover and sent one of the now-famous Asian cats to the White House.

“I have taken the liberty of forwarding to you one of the finest specimens of Siamese cats that I have been able to procure in this country,” Sickels wrote to the First Lady in 1878. “I am informed that this is the first attempt ever made to send a Siamese cat to America.”

While we’ve written quite a bit about the famous cats who have occupied the White House over the years, the Hayes story and others are also detailed in a new article from Smithsonian Magazine, which marked the occasion of Willow the cat’s arrival by revisiting presidential pet history. It’s well worth a read if you like the idea of kitties roaming the halls of power and even sitting on one president’s lap during state dinners, eating at the table like humans.

UK Footballer Who Abused Cat Gets Ridiculed By Fans, Dropped By Sponsors

Kurt Zouma’s cat is getting the last laugh.

Zouma and his brother thought they were being clever and funny when they uploaded a video showing the professional soccer player drop-kicking the poor kitty, throwing a shoe at it and slapping it in the face while Zouma’s child held the terrified pet.

The UK Sun ran a story about the video, which the Zouma brothers uploaded to Snapchat. The story went viral this week and Zouma has taken an enormous hit to his wallet and reputation.

Zouma’s club, West Ham United, fined the footballer £250,000, which works out to about $338,00, or 20 percent of his yearly salary. In a statement the club said it was the maximum amount it could fine one of its players.

Zouma’s primary sponsor, Adidas, has dropped him, while insurance company Vitality dropped its sponsorship of the entire club and other sponsors may follow.

And on Tuesday night in his first game since the scandal, Zouma was roasted by fans who showed up to watch West Ham play Watford at London Stadium. The rowdy crowd jeered every time Zouma touched the ball.

“Kurt Zouma, he plays at centre-back, he kicks his f—ing cat!” the fans chanted.

Finally, in a scene that played out like a divine condemnation of Zouma’s treatment of his kitty, a confused stray cat bolted onto the field and interrupted play during Tuesday night’s match between English League teams Wigan and Sheffield. Fans cheered as Wigan’s Jason Kerr carefully picked up the freaked-out feline and carried her off the field, risking a penalty for leaving the playing area during the game.

The British press didn’t miss the opportunity to contrast how the two football pros treated felines.

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Scotsman Jason Kerr of Wigan gently scoops up Topsey, a house cat who interrupted play on Tuesday night.

Team staff brought the tortoiseshell to a veterinarian who treated her for injuries, scanned for a microchip, and found she belonged to a family in Wirral, a town in northwest England.

The cat’s name is Topsey and she’d been missing for eight months. Alison Jubb, Topsey’s human, said she was going on vacation and was bringing Topsey to a cattery when the cat got scared and bolted out of her carrier. That was the last she heard of Topsey until late Tuesday night.

“My daughter-in-law rang me last night as they were watching the match and said there was a cat on the football pitch” who resembled Topsey, Jubb told the BBC. “I sort of laughed it off.”

But Jubb said she was no longer laughing when she received a call from a veterinarian telling her Topsey had been brought in by Wigan Athletic staff. Topsey was given pain medication and is under treatment for bite wounds, possibly from a dog, to her neck, per the BBC.

Topsey was reunited with her humans, while Zouma voluntarily surrendered his abused cat and his second kitty to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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A still from the Snapchat video showing Zouma just before he drop-kicked the kitty while his other cat cowers on the floor.

The sequence of events restored some hope to animal lovers in the UK, who were dismayed when police said they would not charge Zouma for lack of evidence, despite the video clips and Zouma’s admission that he abused his cat.

However, Zouma’s legal troubles aren’t over. The 27-year-old is a French national and could face charges in his home country, where the public was outraged by his behavior and embarrassed that a high-profile Frenchman would harm an animal.

Zouma has been condemned by French politicians and there are calls to remove him from the French national team.

In the meantime, the RSPCA is conducting its own inquiry into the abuse incidents.

“We’re investigating and the cats are safe and in our care,” the group said in a statement. “We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we need to follow the proper legal process and not discuss due to UK GDPR laws.”

‘Merica Saves A Cat On The 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Humans can be the cruelest of creatures, but sometimes we can be among the most compassionate.

That compassionate side came out on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, at a Miami Hurricanes game of all places.

Craig and Kimberly Cromer are Hurricanes season ticket holders who bring a large US flag to every game, which they’ve been doing for seven years.

Per the Miami Herald:

Early in the second quarter of No. 22 Miami’s home-opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a murmur rose up from the student section at Hard Rock Stadium. The students, many attending their first-ever home game, noticed a cat dangling from the upper deck. The Cromers turned around and first thought it was a dog. Another fan nearby thought it was someone’s kid.

Once the Cromers realized what was happening, they sprung into action. Craig ripped his flag free from his zip-ties, and he and his wife stretched it out to create a landing pad for the terrified cat.

No one’s sure how the cat got into the stadium or ended up on the upper deck railing, but the entire stadium began paying attention when the cat lost its footing, grabbed a wire hanging from the underside and was desperately trying to hold on, its little body dangling precariously.

People seated in the upper deck tried to help, but by that point the black-and-white domestic shorthair was out of reach.

Video of the dramatic incident shows the fearful feline hanging on by its claws. At that point, the entire stadium was invested in the poor kitty’s plight, with thousands of people inhaling nervously as one claw broke away and kitty continued to hold on by a single paw.

The cat had drawn the attention of the game’s announcers as well by that point. There was no way the cat could have known people below were scrambling to break the fall, and kitty inadvertently released droplets of terror pee on the fans in the lower deck.

The Cromers grabbed the flag, “snatched it off the handrail and used it to break the cat’s fall,” Craig Cromer told the Herald.

Catching the little one was “probably the strangest thing that’s happened” to the couple, Kimberly Cromer said.

Footage shows the cat landing on the flag, then quickly tumbling into the section below, eventually ending up in the arms of a kind-looking woman who (we hope) was able to soothe raw nerves.

It was not immediately clear what happened to the cat, but it wasn’t a stray.

“It had a collar so it must be someone’s,” Miami student Dylan Marinov told WPLG, a local news station. Marinov recorded the drama on his smartphone and shared it online.

Hard Rock Stadium’s official Twitter feed said it had made a donation to the Miami Human Society in honor of the kitty’s safe landing, and said stadium staff “wish the cat the best in his remaining eight lives.”