February 14, 2022

A tale of two cats ...

Monday 14th February, 2022

Goodness knows, Britain is not perfect when it comes to animal welfare. Of course there's abuse. Of course people do bad things, horrible things. But on the whole, while no saints, we are a country of animal lovers. This has been demonstrated, once again, this week in the UK - the media is full of the stories of the two cats. Two contrasting stories - one of cruelty, one of compassion. Both with happy endings.

It all started with a video that went viral. One of our Premier League footballers, Kurt Zoma, was filmed by his laughing brother kicking, slapping and throwing one of his cats across a room. While children looked on. I do wonder at the mentality of people that do such cruel things but who also film them and put them on the internet without thinking about the repercussions.

And repercussions there were. A petition was started, with 150,000 signatures and counting, demanding that he be punished. His team, West Ham, fined him but didn't stop him playing. A very unpopular move, amply demonstrated by the animal loving crowd who boo-d him loudly every time he was in play. The player has since apologised but now the police are involved. The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) removed both cats and are also investigating. Yesterday West Ham again decided to field Zuma against my team, Leicester City. As soon as he appeared for the warm up, the boos rang out from the home fans. He withdraw. It's claimed he was ill. Who knows, but I am proud of the fans in both cities.

And the second cat? This cheeky girl decided she'd rather like a go at playing football, so ran onto the pitch during a match at Hillsborough Stadium while Sheffield Wednesday were playing Wigan Athletic. Play stopped while the players attempted to catch the cat, which didn't take too long. Cradled by Wigan Athletic's Jason Kerr, she was handed over to an official and then given into the care of a vet who had been in the crowd. 

This was not the end of the story. A woman watching the match on TV rang her mother in law, Alison Jubb,  to say she was sure that it was Alison's cat, Topsey, that had escaped from a cat carrier seven months before. Alison was doubtful, until the following morning when she got a call from the vet who had been caring for the runabout kitty. They had checked the microchip and it was indeed Topsey. Interviewed later, Alison thanked the 'gentle and kind' players and officials, and the vet, who had taken such care of Topsey. 

A tale of contrasts, but overall a story with happy endings. Zoma's cats are safe with the RSPCA and Topsey is back with her relieved and happy family. This is also a story with a lesson - make sure you microchip your pets. If Topsey hadn't had a chip, her family would never have got her back safely.

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