"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Friday, April 14, 2006

More cats in the news

Stories about cats continue to captivate the public's attention. Following the saga of Emily in France last year and this gripping drama only two weeks ago, here's another cat tale (sorry) just in time for CatBlogging Friday today:

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NEW YORK - With Molly the fugitive feline sending out distress calls from a few feet -- or maybe just inches -- away, animal rescue and city experts tried anew on Thursday to lure the 11-month-old black cat from the innards of a 19th century building where she has been trapped for nearly two weeks.

The low-key drama, with no end in sight, was playing out in the basement wall and ceiling of a Greenwich Village delicatessen, where Molly had been official house mouser until wandering into a narrow space between walls and becoming lost in what rescue supervisor Mike Pastore described as "a maze of beams and pipes, going every which way."

With city building officials on hand to supervise, more bricks were hammered out in the cellar of the 157-year-old, four-story building on Hudson Street. The edifice is part of a landmarked historic district where alterations are prohibited without official permission. Pastore said he hoped Molly's situation would be seen as enough of an emergency "so that we can knock out a few more bricks."

In another move, two kittens were brought to the scene in carry-on cage, in hopes that their mewing might trigger Molly's maternal instincts enough to draw her out.

Pastore, field director for Animal Care & Control, a private organization with a city contract to handle lost, injured and unwanted animals, said the rescue was the most difficult in his experience. "I've done this dozens of times -- even in zero neighborhoods where you're lucky to get out alive," he said.

Molly's meowing could be heard so clearly on the sidewalk outside the building that it seemed she might be a foot or less inside the wall, though blocked from view by vertical studs and other obstructions. "She's right there," said Pastore. "I'd like to be able to reach in and grab a piece of fur. That's what's so frustrating."

On Wednesday, bricks had been carefully removed at various spots to give Molly an escape route. Molly stayed put. Pastore's team later got a fleeting look at Molly through a tiny video camera snaked into the crawl space, but could not reach her. A cage, baited with food, was left overnight. Molly didn't bite. Even catnip, the feline aphrodisiac, had no effect on the timorous tabby.

Amid the activity, business went on inside Myers of Keswick, a delicatessen that specializes in meat pies, clotted cream and other British food specialties. "I'm very busy," said proprietor Peter Myers, who opened the store 20 years ago and kept Molly to catch mice. Television and newspaper reporters were on hand, and the story was making headlines across the United States and abroad.

On Thursday, a self-described "cat therapist," Carole Wilbourne, knelt on the sidewalk next to the building's outer wall and tried to coax Molly out with what she hoped were soothing words. "I hear you, sweetheart," she cooed. "Come on, Molly, you can do it...everybody wants you to come out... nobody's going to hurt you."

After a few minutes, one of Pastore's aides, wearing a surgical mask, emerged from the dusty cellar and asked Wilbourne to stop. "I think you're stressing her out," she said. Wilbourne complied, saying that she had been trying to "give inspiration" to the wayward cat. "I care," she told reporters. "I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't."

(Source: The Associated Press)

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Cat therapist? People get paid good money for this? Now,
there's a career I should investigate. Just call me "Mr. Toast, the Cat Whisperer". You may laugh, but I'm getting a secret message from a telepathic tabby (right) at this very moment; he's telling me that a fresh crop of thrilling cat pictures and stories can be found starting each Sunday evening at the Carnival of the Cats. This week's host is Begin Each Day, and if you look into my messager's psychic (or is it psycho?) eyes, you will suddenly feel an irresistible urge to surf on over there and check it out... :^)

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!


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Update! Molly has been rescued!!

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