No, this article has nothing to do with Moog. Rather, it's just a story with a happy ending published by the local SPCA a month or so ago (unfortunately, they appear to have removed the link to the original PDF). Everyone needs a happy story now and then, even the rather dark and cynical characters who spend time on this forum.

A cat had been found in a San Jose alley nursing her kittens. She had been a victim of animal cruelty and had a 14-inch slash that extended from under her left arm to the end of her stomach. She had been rushed to an emergency vet hospital where surgery was performed to stabilize her and clean and repair her wounds.

Now it's possible that the 14-inch slash on the cat's belly was an accident, but it's more likely that it was a deliberate act of cruelty. What sort of sick, depraved, person slashes a poor kitty, let alone a mother with kittens? I suspect kids. Pro-lifers, take notice! Fortunately, the cat did recover from her wounds:

Although in pain and barely alive, Kitty continued to love and care for her three kittens. The staff at the humane shelter quickly realized this was a special cat as she was extremely sociable and quite the purr-box.

She was then transfered to the Santa Cruz SPCA, where she acquired the name Princess Mugio. Mugio is a Latin verb for groan/roar/bellow, and of course, “moo.” The following is a quote from the person who fostered her during her recovery:

Upon laying my eyes on this severely injured cat, a tremendous wave of sorrow came over me. I could not understand what would possess someone to commit such a heinous act. Here laid this helpless animal, weighing a mere five pounds, suffering from a fourteen-inch thoracicabdominal wound. Princess Mugio had done nothing to deserve such abuse.

Pro-lifers, take note a second time.

Happily, Princess Mugio did make a full recovery, and became quite a charmer:

Princess grew stronger and healthier with each day. She began to flourish. Her unique personality slowly emerged. She began conversing more, especially in the mornings and when I would return from work. It became clear she was a remarkably intelligent cat.

Sounds a lot like Luna, who is not only a “princess”, but is also quite the conversationalist in the morning and evening (when I get home from work).

Eventually, Mugio was ready for a permanent home, and was featured as a “Pet of the Week,” with her own ad in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It stated: Deserving Princess Seeks New Castle. The link takes you to their archives.

Apparently it didn't take long for someone to give her that “castle” and what appears to be a happy ending to what could have been a very tragic story.

Weekend Cat Blogging #75: Cats of New Orleans

WCB 75 is being hosted this weekend by Skeezix the Cat. My contribution this week is a special article on cats in New Orleans. Of course, this is a city steeped in its jazz heritage, and cats and jazz have always gone together at least when it comes to imagery and language. Certainly there were no shortages of artwork, posters, murals, etc., celebrating the “cool cat” of jazz:

The relationship of New Orleans to its real cats is a bit more ambiguous. This is definitely a “dog town” from the perspective of animal companions. People can be seen walking dogs everywhere, and there appear to be lots of guard dogs around as well. Cats were a little more elusive, though I did see a few during my many walks in the uptown area to and from Tulane for the conference. Please click on the images below to see large images of the furry New Orleans residents:

The middle picture is of a pet cat named Kramer who was very friendly and talkative. Most of the other cats I encountered were a bit skittish, many of them darting across streets and hiding under the raised fundations of the houses. Hiding under a house is most times a perfectly good strategy, but I do think with a bit of sadness how many kitties were caught hiding there when the floods came. Many cats were located and rescued in the aftermath of Katrina. Spray-painted notices such as these are still a common site around the city:

Of the groups most involved in locating and rescuing cats and other animals after Katrina was the Louisiana SPCA. Their shelter facility was destroyed in the storm, and they had to evacuate themselves and the animals in their care, no easy task. Upon returning, not only did they not have a facility, but were faced with the reality that so many people had left their pets behind – largely due to a government policy that disallowed pet evacuations, but has since been reversed. You can read more about the SPCA's efforts to rescue animals and rebuild – its both heart-breaking and uplifting.

I did have an opportunity to visit the SPCA's temporary facility. I would like to thank Lori Haeuser and Kate Pullen for taking the time and effort to provide me a tour and more information about their efforts with cats.

The temporary shelter is in a converted coffee warehouse on the Westbank, across the river from the main part of New Orleans and largely spared by the flooding. The warehouse is basically a huge non-insulated space with a concrete floor, not really set up to house large numbers of animals. The SPCA constructed a number of temporary housing units inside the warehouse for offices and animal facilities, including several units for the cats. There are separate units for kitties ready for adoption, healthy cats not quite ready for adoption, those with medical needs, and a separate area for feral cats. Each of the little buildings has its own climate and lighting control – the latter was particularly useful for the feral cats who prefer the shadows. Below is a picture from the adoption unit:

As you can see, they have quite a few black kitties at this time. As noted a few weeks ago around Halloween, black cats do have a harder time getting adopted. And more generally, it seems that culturally many people in the area, particularly those with a more rural background, as less likely to view cats as “pets” that one adopts from the shelter, but rather as functional animals that one might start feeding a befriending, and then perhaps take in. In someways, it is more a situation of the “cat adopting the human”, though those of us with cats know that is how it usually works anyway. They did say that cat adoptions are starting to pick up a bit now, so hopefully some of these kitties will find homes. In the meantime, it seems that they are being cared for as best they can under the circumstances. And they do get to come out and play, as was the case with this friendly little torbie (in photo to the right).

Please visit the Lousiana SPCA website for more info and to support their work.