Tag: Michigan

RIP Elliot, The Stray Cat Found Frozen To The Ground

This feels like a real gut punch, especially after a South Carolina veterinarian’s heroic efforts to save Juliet, the cat who had 38 hair ties removed from her stomach and died after her health seemed to improve.

Elliot, you’ll recall, was the poor, sweet stray who was found literally frozen to the concrete on the day after Christmas, when the country was in a deep chill the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades, with temperatures plunging well into the negative. A Good Samaritan found the little guy in a bad way, with his eyes frozen shut and his organs shutting down, but she turned up her truck’s heat and rushed him to Big Lake Community Animal Clinic in Muskegon, Michigan, where the staff took good care of him and named him after the storm he was found in.

They wrapped little Elliot up in warm blankets, gave him fluids and began to slowly raise his body temperature, which was a dangerous 94 degrees. Things started to look up, too: Elliot had a habit of reaching his paw out to the vet techs who were monitoring him, began to regain his appetite, and eventually was able to stand and eat on his own.

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But Elliot’s health took a turn for the worse again, and veterinarians determined he developed a saddle thrombosis, which is described asa blood clot (called a “thrombus”) that lodges at the base of the aorta just as it branches into two distinct arteries, thereby obstructing blood flow to the hind limbs. It is so named because of the saddle-like shape it roughly resembles once it takes up residence in this location.

For cats who develop a saddle thrombosis, the outlook is not good, and drugs designed to dissolve blood clots are often ineffective.

“Sadly, there was nothing we could have done to prepare for that but we knew it was time to let him be free from the pain and struggle he’s known most of his life,” Big Lake’s staff wrote to supporters.

A staffer named Diane Neas, who took Elliot into her home after a few days when he’d stabilized, was particularly hard hit by the loss, and understandably so. Well-wishes and applications to adopt Elliot had come pouring in, and it seemed like the former stray’s suffering would lead to the best reward — a warm home of his own and people to love and care for him.

“We find peace in knowing the last two weeks of his life were spent with people who showed him kindness, care and love,” shelter staff wrote. “We can’t believe the following and support he has gained on this journey to healing; from the bottom of our hearts, thank you all for caring so deeply for him and sending such love and support his way.”

Images courtesy of Big Lake Community Animal Clinic

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Found Frozen To The Ground In Record Storm, Michigan Cat Is Recovering At Clinic

Elliot the cat was near death when Kelli Vanderlaan found him literally frozen to the concrete in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, during one of the coldest, most severe storms to sweep the US in decades.

Initially unsure whether the white and gray stray was still alive, as his eyes were frozen shut, Vanderlaan wriggled him free and took him to the Big Lake Community Animal Clinic in Muskegon, Michigan. Although barely able to move and unable to vocalize, Elliot seemed to be grateful for the car’s heat.

“You could tell that he was obviously frozen, so he needed warmth and touch and everything, I think he was pretty happy when I got him into the truck,” Vanderlaan told the local ABC affiliate, WZZM.

Elliot the Cat
Staff at Big Lake Community Animal Clinic have been nursing Elliot the Cat back to health. Credit: WZZM

Once Vanderlaan and the stray arrived at Big Lake, staff there immediately began gently raising the little guy’s temperature, wrapping him in warm blankets and giving him fluids.

“We weren’t sure what he’s been through,” said Alexis Robertson, executive director of the local Humane Society. “He’s definitely been out there for a while trying to take care of himself, just trying to survive, but it was at a critical point where he was ready to pass.”

After giving Elliot a veterinary exam, cleaning his eyes and making sure he was snug, the staff at Big Lake Community Animal Clinic monitored him closely overnight. His organs had been dangerously close to shutting down when he was brought in, and he still wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Elliot, who was named after the storm that swept the region over the holidays, has continued to improve in the days since. He’s since been able to stand on his own and has regained his appetite, the clinic’s staff wrote on Facebook.

“We are so happy to say he is doing much better and was monitored during the night,” staffers wrote. “He reaches out his paw to the vet tech that has been caring for him overnight, showing her just how happy he is that he is being helped. He still has a long way to go, but we won’t give up.”

Elliot, who was described as an “older” cat who’s been fending for himself, will come out of the ordeal with his life much improved. After surviving the storm — which plunged temperatures well into the single digits, set record lows across much of the midwest and claimed the lives of at least 56 people across the country — Elliot will be put up for adoption, and the clinic has already received inquiries from people who want to open their home to the little survivor. If his will to live and his gratitude toward his rescuers are any indication, the little guy has a lot of love to give.

“It’s the most heartfelt feeling in the world to see this cat come from basically nothing and being vocal and happy to be touched and fed, it’s just an amazing thing to watch,” Leah Wetmore, the clinic’s manager, told WZZM.

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Kelli Vanderlaan was the Good Samaritan who saved Elliot’s live. Credit: WZZM

Are Schools Forced To Accommodate Kids Who ‘Identify As Cats’?

Two curious stories relating to cats have been circulating online this week: In the first story, a substitute teacher claims she was fired because she refused to meow back to a student who “identifies as a cat,” while parents in a Michigan school district were infuriated by a rumor that the district was providing litter boxes to cat-identified students in school bathrooms.

First, the obvious, or perhaps not-so-obvious considering the media attention and outrage surrounding both stories: Neither one is true.

Why did people believe them? Because we’ve gone insane as a society, of course, and basic reality now means different things to different people depending on their political ideologies. If you’re on the left, you might think parents who aren’t sophisticated news consumers are so paranoid about school curricula, they’d believe just about anything. If you’re on the right, you’re might argue that some schools have gone so overboard with political correctness, it’s not a stretch to imagine privileges conferred on the allegedly cat-identified.

For those of us who subscribe to neither ideology, the whole thing is another sad example of the polarization that is destroying the US, the same divisive talk amplified by platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

But that’s beyond the scope of this blog, which is to celebrate cats, have a laugh and occasionally put the spotlight on animal welfare. I don’t want to lose readers by wading into a political landmine field, but most importantly I don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome on this site.

The Michigan incident started when a mom of kids at the Midland School District, about 130 miles northwest of Detroit, spoke at a school board meeting about a rumor — which she took as fact — alleging the school was accommodating “furries” by providing litter boxes in unisex bathrooms.

Lisa Hansen asked other parents to join her to “do some investigating” into the policy

“I’m all for creativity and imagination, but when someone lives in a fantasy world and expects other people to go along with it, I have a problem with that,” Hansen told the Midland school board. “This whole furry thing has just got me. I’m staying calm, but I’m not happy about it, and it’s happened on your watch, and I don’t understand it.”

Here’s the video: (It should start at the relevant section, but if it doesn’t, Hansen speaks at the 32:44 mark)

Hansen’s claims were picked up and reshared by a state GOP chairwoman, Meshawn Maddock, who warned “Parent heroes will TAKE BACK our schools” in a Facebook post.

The school’s superintendent, Michael Sharrow, was forced to do damage control with a public statement, telling parents it’s a “source of disappointment that I felt the necessity to communicate this message to you.”

“There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation,” Sharrow wrote. “There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools.”

The story about the fired substitute also had its roots in an online video, with a woman who says she’s a teacher relating the story via TikTok. The woman, who uses the handle @crazynamebridgetmichael, said she was taking attendance when a student responded to his name with feline vocalizations.

“I get to the third row and I hear this ‘meow!’ ‘Uhhh, excuse me? Excuse me?'” she said in the TikTok video. “I start looking on the ground, through the fourth row—everything’s good. Go to the fifth row—everybody’s there. Then I hear ‘meow!’ I’m like, ‘Okay, what’s up with that? Who’s doing it?’ And this little girl in the very front row says, ‘You have to meow back at him; he identifies as a cat.’ Are you kidding me?”

The student stormed out of the classroom when she laughed at him, she said, and the school’s administration fired her: “They said ‘We no longer need your services if you can’t identify with all the children in the classroom.'”

The story was picked up by several widely-read sites, included in Tucker Carlson’s daily newsletter, and reshared on prominent Twitter accounts in addition to going viral on Facebook.

PJ Media: The Substitute and the Cat
The story was widely shared on social media and reported by a few dozen online media outlets.

The Cat and the Substitute

The only problem is it isn’t true. In a follow-up video the teacher admitted she made up the story to “create awareness of what kids are going through at school.” She didn’t elaborate, so it’s not clear if she was criticizing school policies for allowing students to identify as different genders or arguing that kids’ needs aren’t accommodated. Occam’s Razor would indicate she was just chasing clicks.

The one thing that’s certain, however, is that cats don’t deserve to be in the middle of this mess.

Top image: A 20-year-old Norwegian woman who identifies as a cat. The woman says she was “born the wrong species.” “My psychologist told me I can grow out of it, but I doubt it,” she told an interviewer. “I think I will be cat all my life.”

Man Awakes With Robber Pointing Gun At His Head, Demanding His Cats

LAURIUM, Michigan — A Michigan man woke up at 4:15 am Wednesday to find another man standing over him, pointing a gun at his head and demanding the victim hand over his two cats.

The cat burglar — or cat robber, to be precise about it — got impatient, snatched one of the furballs and bolted from the home in Laurium, a town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about 220 miles north of Green Bay.

The victim, who knew the robber, called police and detectives caught up with the suspect later the same day. He’s a 52-year-old man who has been charged with home invasion and felonious assault, charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years if he’s convicted. He was also in possession of a gun, which was seized by police.

Cops haven’t publicly released the name of the suspect, who was booked in Houghton County Jail, but said the incident wasn’t random.

“There was a dispute over the cats,” Laurium police Sgt. Kurt Erkkila told People magazine. “I think there was some ownership dispute but it wasn’t [the suspect’s] cats.”

Cops found the suspect with a cat when they arrested him, but did not confirm if it was the same kitty he’d allegedly taken at gunpoint.

It’s unusual for police to withhold the names of people who have been charged with crimes unless the suspects are minors and qualify as youthful offenders, a status in some states that allows minors to get their convictions wiped if they meet certain conditions and stay out of additional trouble for a year.

It’s not clear why police would withhold the name of an adult charged with two serious felonies.

The original MLive report was based on a press release from the Laurium Police Department, while a People reporter spoke to a department spokesman but still did not receive information on the suspect.

We’ll keep an eye on this story and update our readers when more information is available.

photo of gray and white tabby kitten sitting on sofa
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Cats Suffer From Human Mental Illness Too

Having Google alerts set up for cat-related new can yield some pretty awesome and unique stories as fodder for this blog, but it can also be seriously depressing, with story after story about cats getting shot with arrows, pellets and bullets, cats poisoned with antifreeze, cats abused for online fame and even cats killed by psychotic ex-boyfriends or girlfriends.

There are, unfortunately, plenty of hoarding stories as well, and they’re a reminder that cats don’t just suffer physical abuse at the hands of humans, they suffer mental abuse and neglect by mentally ill people.

That’s the case in Park Township, Michigan, where authorities acting on a tip found more than 150 cats living in “deplorable conditions”. Even protective gear couldn’t entirely filter the smell inside the home, animal control officers said.

The town declared the house unfit for human habitation and the local animal authority, St. Joseph County Animal Control, needed help from nearby animal shelters and rescues to confiscate the cats, who will be given veterinary care and rehabbed before they’re offered for adoption.

The raid was “by far” the “biggest animal seizure we’ve done,” animal control supervisor Greg Musser told the local NBC affiliate.

The cats range in age from newborn kittens to adults. Two cats were euthanized. Taking in more than 150 cats is no small task, and the shelter is asking for help with cat/kitten food, litter and other supplies.

“We have been working tirelessly to take care of all these cats on top of the normal business,” the shelter’s Facebook page reads. “We are doing our best to answer the phone and return messages. We are in need of wet and dry kitten food, litter, pee pads, laundry detergent and bleach. We are also in need of gently used baby blankets.”

In an updated story, authorities in a nearby town found similar hoarding conditions in a second property owned by the same woman, who moved some of the cats between them after a natural gas leak at the first home.

Screenshot_2020-08-12 150 cats rescued from Toronto home

While the number of cats is unusual, the story is not: Rescuers confiscated 50 cats and 30 raccoons from a home in Ohio on Aug. 6, following the rescue of 97 cats from another Ohio home two weeks earlier. Less than two weeks ago, the SPCA pulled more than 30 dog and cats from a Pennsylvania home in which the inside temperature exceeded 100 degrees. Authorities found 150 cats in a Toronto home last month, including several kittens who were in seriously bad shape.

Those are just a sampling pulled from the first few results on Google News. Doubtless a lot of these people mean well when they start taking in cats, and the behavior is the result of untreated mental illness. But what can be done to protect cats from these situations?

Featured image credit Chamber of Hoarders. It depicts another hoarding situation, similar to the Michigan case.