We’d like to offer a special congratulations to the SPCA, two kind-hearted adopters, and especially Plankton the cat for finding a forever home after a long, long wait.
Plankton had a rough start to life: He was one of about 100 kittens and cats rescued from a hoarding situation in a two-bedroom apartment in late 2013 and suffered renal failure. For years, potential pet parents passed up on the handsome black-coated little dude because of his condition, and the thrice-weekly infusion of liquids he needs to stay healthy, even though staff at the shelter say he takes the infusions like a champ.
Ashlee Haughtaling read about Plankton in a Feb. 15 article by the Kingston Daily Freeman, a New York newspaper covering the mostly-rural Ulster County about 75 miles north of New York City.
Haughtaling had a dog who suffered from kidney problems as well, so she knew what caring for Plankton would entail. She reached out to the county SPCA immediately.
“I thought it was so sad that no one was adopting him because he had a medical condition,” she said, per the SPCA. “The fact that he had been there for so long, it really hit home for me. Sick cats need homes, too.”
Ashleey and her mother Ann Houghtaling took Plankton home six days later. For the first time, the 6 1/2-year-old cat has a place to call home. He gets along well with other cats, the shelter said, and he’s got a pair of new feline friends, Nutmeg and Boots, in his new home as well.
I was driving home on Tuesday night, just about to leave the city limits of White Plains when I saw a cat laying in the road.
I swerved to avoid the cat, saw motion out of the corner of my eye, and pulled over on the nearest side street. There was more traffic behind me and I held my breath as I approached, worried that one of the passing cars would drive over the injured feline.
Using my iPhone as a flashlight, I finally got close. The poor cat was dead. There weren’t any obvious injuries, but his mouth was filled with blood. In retrospect I believe the movement I saw earlier was just the wind blowing his fur.
I picked him up, carried him off the road and set him down on the grass near a street sign. Then I called the police.
He was well-fed and well-groomed, with a striking coloration — medium-length fur that was pure white except for a single black stripe on his tail.
This was someone’s beloved cat, and that person was going to be rattling a bag of treats and calling out for kitty to come home, wondering where the little guy had gone.
Someone hit or drove over that beautiful cat and kept driving.
It’s one thing to know the statistics, to understand in the abstract that outdoor cats only live three years on average while their indoor counterparts live an average of 16 or more years, and quite another to see a dead cat up close with my own eyes, left there as roadkill.
Many people labor under the assumption that cats belong outside as if it’s their natural habitat. The truth is, cats don’t have a natural habitat. As domesticated animals they’re no different than dogs, pigs or cows — the process of domestication has rendered them human-dependent. They’re genetically distinct from their wild ancestors, molded over thousands of years to be companions to humans.
Domestic cats aren’t as swift or agile as wildcats. While they retain some of their wild instincts, they’re ill-equipped to deal with danger.
Life as a feral or stray is tough, brutal and short. Some can survive for a short while. Most don’t.
They should live indoors, and there’s no reason an indoor life should be boring for them. As caretakers it’s our responsibility to keep them entertained, to provide them with toys, perches, hiding spots and window vantages. Most of all, it’s our responsibility to give them attention and affection.
A ban on declawing passed a key committee vote in Florida this week, while Black Sabbath frontman and reality TV star Ozzy Osbourne has become the new face of a PETA campaign against the harmful practice.
The Florida bill, which was introduced in August, was approved by the state senate’s agricultural committee by a 4-1 vote on Tuesday. It’s expected to pass two more committee votes before it goes to a final vote on the senate floor.
The ban would levy relatively stiff penalties for owners and veterinarians who ignore the law. The former would face fines of $1,000 per cat, while veterinarians would be fined $5,000 per cat, as well as discipline from the state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Meanwhile, Osbourne and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have teamed up for a public announcement campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the damage declawing does to cats.
The ads feature a striking image of Osbourne holding up both hands, with his fingers severed at the first knuckle to illustrate what’s done to cats during the procedure. It’s bloody, like Osbourne’s long-time stage antics, and controversial, like many PETA campaigns.
“Amputating a cat’s toes is twisted and wrong,” Osbourne said, per PETA. “If your couch is more important to you than your cat’s health and happiness, you don’t deserve to have an animal! Get cats a scratching post—don’t mutilate them for life.”
Every Christmas, the staff at the Bronx Zoo transform the grounds into a “winter wonderland,” an LED-illuminated forest of festive fun that begins at sundown.
The good: Young kids will enjoy themselves. The bad: All the animal exhibits are closed, with the tigers, bears, monkeys and elephants brought into their indoor enclosures before dark to shelter from the frigid New York winter.
On Friday night the only animal on duty was Quincy, a 16-year-old Eurasian eagle owl. The impressively-plumed Quincy gamely hung out and remained calm despite a small crowd of guests pointing cameras at him, occasionally repeating a vocalization that sounded more like Buddy’s high-pitched greeting than a call you’d expect from an owl.
Hooting, which is what most of us associate with the nocturnal birds, is more closely associated with territorial displays and mating calls, Quincy’s handler explained.
After taking my brother’s kids to Winter Wonderland, we stopped for a look at Roy’s Christmas Land in Harrison, NY. The owner, 61-year-old Roy Aletti, describes himself as a “maniac” when it comes to holiday decorating.
As you can see, his design philosophy can be summed up as “Buy as much shit as you can and cover every inch of your lawn.” The kids love it.
As you can see, he’s a dog. Specifically some sort of chihuahua-terrier bastard mix. I try not to hold it against him, but he’s not so smart.
Here’s an interesting fact: Did you know dogs think they’re territorial like us cats? In their very small brains they think “I’ve got my own territory to defend! I know! I’ll be very loud and tell any potential intruders I’m standing right here just waiting for an ass kicking! Bark bark!”
Intruders in kitty territory don’t even know they’re being watched. They think the coast is clear and they drop their guard, oblivious to the ninja cat already sailing through the air, razor claws extended, ready to dispense a little feline-style justice!
Cosmo is visiting New York with his dad, Brother of Big Buddy. BoBB is a pretty cool guy. He understands who runs things around here and he pays tribute to me by rubbing my head.
Cosmo himself is easy to bully. All I have to do is flash my terrifying fangs and show off my huge muscles, and he whimpers and runs away. Then I eat all the snacks.
Still, Cosmo’s not bad. For a dog.
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.