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Give us pet owners a chance to change behavior

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Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:27 am, Mon Dec 12, 2011.

Poor, poor, Chuck the missing cat.

I myself have had my cat trapped and relocated. The culprit was a neighbor, and he was cruel and heartless. I had just adopted this feral and had taken it to the vet and was getting it fixed, when before I could take him back in he was missing — taken by a mean neighbor who had no good intentions. My family loved this animal, and she could have been the best pet ever.

We lived over four miles from Safeway Market, and yet the neighbor said he thought he saw the cat behind Safeway (when he really took it away).

To you humans: These animals have families, and there is almost always a young child who runs to the door calling "kitty, kitty" for hours and days on end. Leave a note on our doors saying you are tired of our cats in your yard, and maybe we will take a look at kitty's bad behavior. Just leave them alone and give us a chance to correct the problem. More Chucks will come back, and one may belong to your family someday!

Jack Jackson


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  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 4:37 pm on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Ms. Rouzer, what possible difference could it make whether or not I’ve ever owned a cat? Are you suggesting that if I hadn’t owned one then I am not entitled to an opinion regarding this issue?

    Cat ownership is not the issue here - it’s this notion that when something happens to one permitted to be outside that the sole responsibility doesn’t rest upon its owner. Once again (ad nauseum), there’s no evidence offered here that proves that a dastardly neighbor stole this particular pet. Since it was still recovering from surgery, it could have easily gotten disoriented and ran away (after all it was a feral cat) or that other outside cats got the scent of blood emanating from it and did it in. Who really knows?

    The fact of the matter is that in this instance alone the owner is solely at fault for not ensuring that it wasn’t safely secured inside until after it was taken back to the vet to determine its fitness to venture outside. This is not in question by the author’s own words.

    Once outside, whether healthy or not the world is not an easy place for any pet to survive. A microchip along with a collar and I.D. tag might have helped considerably in bringing this animal home; or at least to verify its death if found along the side of a road.

    But it couldn’t have been any of these things could it? No, it just HAD to be some bad guy because otherwise the fault would rest completely upon the shoulders of the owner. And that wouldn’t make this story as heart-wrenching as it was intended to be, could it? So what really happened to Chuck II? Perhaps we’ll never know.

    On the other hand in response to your insistence that I’ve never owned a cat, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve owned quite a few cats during my adult life - some were content to stay inside and use a litter box; not ever instinctively demanding its freedom, but very happy curling up in all manner of places throughout the home. Some did enjoy the outside and lived long and happy lives. There was one that I can think of who simply didn’t come home. Was this a sad event for us? Of course but I never blamed anyone else for it being missing. By the way, all had collars with I.D. tags.

    Right now I own two small dogs that live with me in an environment that requires I walk them on a leash. They’re happy and so am I.

  • Laura Rouzer posted at 3:14 pm on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Laura Rouzer Posts: 57

    Jerome Kinderman said: " So if people truly want to keep their beloved cats within their lives, they need to do more than just opening the back door to let them fend for themselves. Make them house cats or just prepare to lose them one day."

    Jerome you obviously have never owned a cat. I can tell by your statement that what I say is true. Before I got my cat I thought that all they did was hang around the house and sleep all day, not true. My cat begs to go outside and play in the yard and stalk birds. She will paw at the back door and meow to get our attention. To "make her a house cat" is truly impossible when her instincts take over. To let a cat outside is not being cruel in anyway, in fact, it's more cruel to confine them to the indoors.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 1:17 pm on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Ms. Samone, based upon the letter alone it’s hard to determine what their “intent” is. What seems clear to me is that they’re placing at least some responsibility on others to keep them safe. And even then if approached about their cats misdeeds, they “might” look into the matter (hence Mr. Jackson’s use of the word “maybe”).

    As this is the second letter of a cat gone missing, this attempt to garner sympathy through such tactics as those in the third paragraph is wearing thin. Full responsibility for our pets rests upon us - no one else. If Chuck II was indeed stolen, then the thief needs to be held accountable if he/she can be adequately identified according to the law. Otherwise there’s not much that can be done. Cats will roam and cats will disappear - this is a fact of life. So if people truly want to keep their beloved cats within their lives, they need to do more than just opening the back door to let them fend for themselves. Make them house cats or just prepare to lose them one day.

    And then prepare for comments like these if they choose to go public with their grief.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:08 pm on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Good comments, Ms. Samone. I'm glad you were persistent and finally got your cat back. You are right, tags don't always help, especially if a malicious person is involved.

    My male cat, Marcel, escaped late one evening as my daughter returned home. It was the next morning when he didn't show up for his snacks before I realized he was gone. I was especially concerned because he was declawed as a kitten.

    After calling and calling him, It finally hit me that many outdoor cats are nocturnal. Three nights after he left I went out on the irrigation canal behind our home and called him. I heard his meow and saw his eyes shining in the light of my flashlight on the opposite side of the canal. He had found a buddy to hang out with, but was more than glad to say goodbye and come home. I won't recount the crazy story of getting to him a bringing him back to the house, but suffice to say that he no longer has the desire to roam.

  • Jay Samone posted at 12:29 pm on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Jerome, I don't believe the intent was to blame the neighbors for the cat's misdeeds. Cat owners truly have no clue how far or where exactly their cats roam when they aren't at home. They will roam up to a half a mile away from home on any given day, so just as it is hard to prevent a cat from pooping in someone's yard, it's hard for the person who owns that yard to know who's cat it truly belongs to. In my neighborhood, there are several cats who "visit" the flowerbeds and I have never had problems with my flowerbeds. Cats know where to go..homes without dogs or other cats - generally homes of those who dislike pets. Cat haters can do several things to keep them out of the flowerbeds and cat owners can keep their pets inside, where I choose to keep mine. I think they actually prefer it anyways......

    I had the same experience with someone picking up and dumping my cat, only this neighbor dumped her at the pound to be euthanized. For those that say tags are the answer - her tags with city license were in the middle of the street. I called the shelter and visited daily for over a week to see if she was there - I even checked the dead animal reports and scoured the neighborhood. I finally found her after a week of her being starved in a cat trap before he took her to the pound. I will never forget finding her - she was hiding in the back of the last bottom cage and I couldn't see in because it was so dark. I called her name and she meowed, ran to the front of the cage and stuck her arm out to me. She was sick and had lost some weight - certainly not the condition she was in when he trapped her. Thankfully, I was able to get her back and I know most stories don't end like that.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:55 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    When we adopted our first Golden, we taught her to chase cats - there were multiple outdoor cats "belonging" to neighbors on both sides and, like Mr. Cawelti, our gardens were filled with cat feces and the stink of cat urine was overwhelming (male cats love to spray car tires, too). She did an excellent job!

    Then, after an almost two decade hiatus from cat ownership, my daughter asked to adopt a cat. We decided, due to past experience with fleas and tragic disappearances, that she would be an indoor cat. Our Golden somehow made the distinction between her and the cats that occasionally still entered the backyard. They became best friends.

    The added work and expense of maintaining a litter bin more than makes up for knowing that our (now) 3 cats (don't ask how we ended up with 3!) are safe and bug free. They all wear safety collars and a tag with their name and our phone number engraved on it just in case an open door becomes a temptation.

    I highly recommend having indoor only cats if you live in town.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 11:33 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Ms. McCauley, it’s interesting that folks like you fail to understand the purpose of this forum. When anyone writes a letter to the editor, regardless of it genre (political or otherwise) the Lodi News-Sentinel provides us the right to ask questions so long as we abide by the “Rules of Conduct.” I’ve never indicated that I have a right to a response, but the lack of one permits us to draw conclusions that may not be acceptable to those who simply want us to accept their version of the “truth.”

    Just as the previous “Chuck” story left so many questions unanswered, so does this one. In both stories there’s supposition that some terrible neighbor absconded with someone’s cat. How do they know for certain that their beloved cats were actually stolen? Both letters left that information out. But after numerous posts in response to the previous letter, additional information was provided that in my opinion should have been included in the letter itself. So before providing sympathy to the owners of these animals, I’d like to have answers to what are nothing less than logical questions.

    Sure, I’ll provide an “Aww” if and when it’s appropriate. But in no way have my comments ever revealed me “as hateful and cruel as those who have done this horrible act.” What that one comment reveals about you however is someone who simply has a poor grasp on reality as it pertains to the level of care it takes to secure one’s pets. As an example (again), what “caring and loving pet owner” would permit their female cat to roam free immediately after it was fixed? Now that’s cruel!

    But thanks for the comments; they were “enlightening.”

  • Craig Cawelti posted at 10:52 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Craig Cawelti Posts: 36

    I was going to write a response to Chuck last week but didn't find the time to do so. This letter about Chuck II couldn't have come a a better time for me. You see, I spent a good portion of my Sunday morning cleaning my flower planters and lawn of the "special presents" left by the neighborhood felines. While I haven't mentioned the trespassing of the neighborhood cats on my property to their owners, my hope is that they see the two letters and make an attempt to curb their animals' foul practices.
    The way I see it is that cat owners believe that since they love their kitties, everyone else should too. This goes for being blind to the mess that they make when they are allowed to roam free. As a dog owner, I love my animals but don't expect that everyone else will. I don't let my dogs run free and if I take them on a walk and they feel the need to purge, I clean it up.
    While I don't condone the torture of a families pet, I can see where people can get fed up by repeatedly grabbing a hand full of poo while tending flowers or stepping in a pile while mowing the lawn. Cat owners need to take responsibility for and keep their loves in the house or make provisions to keep them in their own yard. Do this, and far less kitties will mysteriously disappear.

  • Karen McCauley posted at 10:36 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Karen McCauley Posts: 1

    WOW Mr Jerome. I didn't want to respond to you directly but you're irritating. Why don't you just move on to some political article. Those articles are never ending questions and answers which seem to be what you are looking for. If you were truly an animal/pet lover you would understand and accept the purpose of the articles. You don't deserve to know full detail. But I will answer one thing, yes, all and anything has been done. So quit questioning peoples love and care for their pets and how we handle things. You have displayed yourself just as hateful and cruel as those who have done this horrible act.

  • Laura Rouzer posted at 10:12 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Laura Rouzer Posts: 57

    It's horrible that this is a common problem. Hopefully the cats will find loving families again in their new locations.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:36 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Oh no! Not another missing “Chuck” story - and by another mean and heartless neighbor. Having two nearly identical stories in Lodi could mean that these events reaching epidemic proportions.

    But just like in the Chuck series of comments, I’ll start off again here in asking about proof that a neighbor absconded with Chuck II. Eyewitnesses? If so, was a complaint filed with the police department? If not, then why not? If yes, then what happened? After all, the stealing of any pet is a crime.

    I wonder though why this particular animal was permitted outside after just being fixed. It’s dangerous for any animal (especially a female) to be out and about with stitches that need to either be removed or dissolved over time. Or was this going to be one of those animals that would be permitted to roam free without even a collar and nametag shortly after surgery? Is this the act of a “caring” pet owner that was “loved” by its family?

    Finally, Mr. Jackson leaves us believing that one’s pet’s bad behavior is the responsibility of his neighbors - that instead of being proactive to ensure that Chuck II didn’t do his/her “doo-doo” anywhere but his/her own yard, it’s up to his neighbors to affix a note on his door bringing such offenses to his attention so that he “‘might’ … take a look at kitty’s bad behavior.” And just would you do Mr. Jackson, to cure this feral cat from defecating in Mr. Smith’s flower beds?

    Unbelievable - literally.

  • Sally Glusing posted at 7:17 am on Mon, Dec 12, 2011.

    LodiCitizen320 Posts: 5

    So well put....thank you for writing and submitting this perspective. I'm so sorry to hear your family experienced the same pain of having your cat stolen. Your letter will hopefully encourage those who may be considering trapping and relocating a neighborhood cat to rethink it...to leave a note on a door like you suggested or actually go and talk to neighbors about concerns. My neighbors, their thoughtful coworkers, and my family spent a significant amount of money to get Chuck neutered, give him his shots, and get an ear infection cleared....not to mention the litter for his own box in the garage and food. We loved Chuck, too...he was a part of our families and as his co-caretakers, his presence formed a bond between neighbors. I don't think people who steal cats like in our situations give any of that any thought. Thank you again for your letter, Mr. Jackson!


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