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Trapping Osama

post #1 of 146
Thread Starter 
I found this to be a very sad story -

That guy has such a misconception about feral cats This is one feral that I hope will never be caught - not by this guy anyway.

There's an email address at the end of the story - if you like to give him a piece of your mind and tell him one or two things about feral cats and their rights.
post #2 of 146
Here is what I wrote to this poor excuse of a human!
Your story is fishy at best!

Welcome to the world of the feral. It is not a pleasant world to be in. It is one full of people who do not understand you. It is one filled with dangers. You are prone to getting injured, you are scared all the time, you live by your wits and you survive but the odds of survival are very limited.

What did you do to deserve this world? Nothing at all. You see, your mama was owned by a person that didn't care what happened to her. They didn't take her in to be spayed, and they kicked her out of their warm house, full of good food and she had to make do. Making do, was foraging for garbage, though she could undoubtedly look inside the house and see food on the tables. She had to find shelter when bad weather came. She stood at the door crying for her right to come inside, but was quickly chased off. So she realized that she wasn't wanted there and she took off to find someplace where she might be.

Some kids chased her, trying to tie a can to her tail, because they heard this was a "fun thing to do." Then one night, out of the middle of nowhere a male got her and because she was in heat, she submitted to him, and now here I am, a kitten born this world.

I haven't been in this world very long, but I know people. People that I meet, basically fall into three different categories. They either ignore me (because to them I do not exist) or they hurt me, because out here in the street I am fair game) and the rare ones, the ones who really care, the ones who spend their lives campaigning for feral cats, well they just want to help me.

But by this time, the damage is done and I don't trust anyone. Those traps, I have seen those traps take away my siblings and my friends and I never see them again. I have no way of knowing what happens to them, I just listen to their cries as they are loaded in the truck or the car and driven away. This just intensifies my fright, and I become more wily. It takes a special compassionate person to finally trap me, and it takes a long time.

Mr. Horsely- you are a horse's patoot. Your column shows your true ignorance of the ways of a feral. "Ferals don't belong anywhere!" They are a product of a society that is irresponsible in the ways of being a good caretaker for cats. Yes, they roam allies and streets. They are so prevalent and misunderstood but they are also living breathing creatures who are only trying to survive.

One of the reasons Osama lives to fight is because he probably is an intact male. Had he been neutered long ago, he might not be driven to fight for his life on a cold unfriendly street. This is his only way of survival, and in a feral colony only the strong survive.

Your comment "Feral cats have no business setting up shop in a residential neighborhood" just floored me. Osama was probably at one time a pet cat who climbed the drapes one time to many and was kicked out of the house and had to survive some way. Or maybe he sprayed a pile of clothes that were freshly laundered and was kicked out?

Though cats do roam, they usually stay fairly close to the place where they remember their comfort zone to be, unless an uncaring adult takes them for a ride in the country and dumps them off thinking "okay, well it's a cat, it will survive." Then, they either survive by their wiles, or they die a horrible early death, or if they are lucky they end up with someone like myself who cares for ferals. Right now I have 11, last year at this time I had 23. I socialize these animals, spay and neuter them, feed them and love them and find them good homes. If they aren't able to be placed (and some aren't) then they join my crew here on our farm.

After reading your story, I cried so hard for Osama. You see yesterday, I lost something so precious to me, a beautiful black and white feral female I had for over 9 years. Her life as a kitten was one of peril. Her owner, decided it would be a real treat to drown her in the lake near our house. So he had a couple brewskis and he motored out for his playtime, with this 5-week old kitten in the boat. He got out to the middle of the lake, and took this helpless creature and started dunking her up and down in the water over and over, keeping her head under the water. She couldn't do much about it, sure she probably struggled, but she was tiny and he was human, he had the advantage!

Thankfully, there was another boat on the lake that day belonging to a police officer and he noticed the strange activity. He challenged the man when he got close enough to see what this sick human being was doing. This man, who took such pleasure in abusing creatures, took this tiny kitten over his head and by her back legs swung her around and around and flung her far into the lake so he could escape! The deputy roared after the flailing kitten and the man escaped (temporarily).

I was the one lucky enough to get this terrified feral kitten. You talk about a cat not trusting anyone, that was Dunkin. She was all claws and teeth for the first 3 months of her life with us. And who could blame her? Though after reading your column I am sure you could! She had been horribly abused in many ways that I will not even mention here. She was not supposed to live to be a year old. She bit and scratched and hissed and I kept my distance, kept my perspective and kept lots of betadine scrub around to treat the wounds she inflicted.

In time, she became the best cat. She had a myriad of problems resulting from her abuse. But as you are clearly not a feral fancier, I will not go into them. She had to be put to sleep yesterday and today my crew is strangely quiet when I go out in the yard. They know she is missing and I cannot tell them why. What I would like to tell all my ferals is I wish I had a special one to take her place, a male who is so misunderstood and is trying to be trapped by a man who has no business trapping him. The man who is so misguided he has named this feral Osama Bin Laden, when if the truth be told, the one who terrorizes in the story Mr. Horsely, is not this cat, it is you.

Your story will make cat abusers sing and people who rescue cry. It shows great ignorance on your part,a and funny but when I took journalism in college, I was always told "research is key."

I pray this cat is smart enough to know that you mean him great harm. I pray that someone intercedes quickly and contacts Alley Cat Allies or another feral organization to take matters away from you. You have no business writing this column. Writers are supposed to know what they talk about, and you, Mr. Horsely do not. I wonder if you are brave enough to publish this letter? You are welcome to, because unlike you, my life is my research and I know what I am talking about.

Mary Anne Miller
Sweet Home Oregon
post #3 of 146
This is the e-mail I sent to that guy:

I have to take grave issue with your presentation of that poor cat. Please bear in mind it is humans that created this situation by not properly caring for their cats. Education is what is important here, not condemnation. Literally millions of cats are left to fend for themselves through the ignorance of people who do not neuter or spay their pets or barn cats. EDUCATION in your column would be far more beneficial to the millions of needy animals as opposed to the condemnation of one poor sole who is not responsible for the fate bestowed upon him. I did not laugh reading your article, I cried. This cat may have been dumped by someone who didn't want him anymore (many families having babies for the first time do this). He may have run away from an abusive household, which could explain the reason for his attacks. He may have been born feral, and kicked around and had rocks thrown at him his whole life. Why would he act any differently than he does if that were the case? Either way, again, I repeat, this poor sole is not responsible for the situation in which he finds himself. He is a
survivor with a stronger will and more smarts than most.

You say "Feral cats have no business setting up shop in a residential neighborhood." As if they choose! You make it seem as if you and your neighbors are the victims. This poor Tom is the victim. The victim of uncaring, uneducated people. And you are simply perpetuating the
problem, not helping anyone stop or address the problem. You could have used this opportunity to educate yourself as to the problem of feral and
stray cats in this country. You could have used this opportunity to learn about all the good work being done by thousands across the country
to stop this problem through Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) programs, designed and WORKING to reduce the feral/stray populations country-wide. But no. You further victimize another victim. He is the
butt of a joke, a sad joke. I pray for that poor kitty, that he should know some peace some day, that he won't have to lash out at children who
probably provoked him. I pray for your children, that they should become wiser than their father, and try to care about a problem as opposed to use it for a laugh at the victim's expense.

post #4 of 146
GREAT Letter! You kept it in perspective, and I got all emotional over the issues by calling the man a name. Not a good thing, but it felt good doing it!
post #5 of 146

GREAT Letter! I read your letter and felt exactly the same thing you did - in reverse. The emotion is great, too, because you live it every day and you care so much. It's important too! I haven't lived through nearly what you have with the ferals, and as we don't rescue, we haven't had to deal with the abuse.

I hope more people write in, and I think both letters accomplish a lot, one emotional, one not. Even better.
post #6 of 146
The man who is so misguided he has named this feral Osama Bin Laden, when if the truth be told, the one who terrorizes in the story Mr. Horsely, is not this cat, it is you.
Well said. Thank you. And I like the challenge to his profession as a columnist too. Well done.
post #7 of 146
Thread Starter 
Both were excellent IMHO!!!

Thank you!
post #8 of 146
I just sent this along too:

I do have one more complaint about the above referenced article.

I am a Senior Vice President of and Senior Equity Analyst at Gilford Securities, a brokerage firm based in mid-town Manhattan. I survived September 11, 2001. Many of my friends and hundreds of my customers and business associates - people I knew personally - did not. That Mr. Horsely named this innocent victim of society's ignorance after a madman who is terrorizing our nation and has murdered thousands is in extremely poor taste. That the newspaper allowed him to print it is unconscionable.

Naming this victim of society's ignorance "Osama" cheapens the deaths of other innocents who suffered Osama bin Laden's handiwork. For Mr. Horsely to compare the fate of his neighborhood due to their ignorance of the problems of abandoned and feral cats to the victims of Osama bin Laden is unthinkable. Shame on him, and shame on you for printing it.

Laurie D. XXXXX
post #9 of 146
You GO Girl! Let me know if you hear anything back and I will do the same?
post #10 of 146
You got it! What I pray for is another article, about the problems with ferals and strays, and how many people and communities are addressing it with TNR and LOVE. An apology wouldn't be too bad either, but I don't have my hopes up.

Thank you Anne, for bringing this to our attention.
post #11 of 146
Hissy/Anne: Any way we could write a new post in the Cat Lounge with a link to this thread? I'd love as many people as possible to write in to this guy.


post #12 of 146
Okay, here is the e-mail I just sent him ....it's not worded very eliquently (sp?) but I did the best I could...I hope we get through to this man!!!!!

Mr. Horsley....
I can't believe the lack of heart you have!!! This poor creature you have inappropriately named "Osama" is now in my thoughts and prayers.
Do you have any clue what it has taken for him to survive??? He has been mistreated, had objects thrown at him, and has had to scrounge for every meal he got. Never has he been shown love and kindness. This just breaks my heart. If people had been more responsible in the first place, he would not be out roaming the streets looking for a meal and fending off attacks by people like you.
He is one of God's creatures after all....I don't know if you are a religious man, and I somehow doubt it, but the bible says that God sees even the sparrow fall...so you know he is keeping an eye on this cat!! He sees everytime to try to hurt him. And God loves all his little creatures. Just remember what goes around comes around.
And to say you wanted to wring it's neck???? Shame on you!!!
I realize this cat has scratched a little girl, and that is not good...but he needs to be lovingly rescued by someone who will care for him, and not have things thrown at him,and be shown kindness one minute and cruelty the next. If I lived closer I would try to help him.
He is only trying to survive the only way he knows how.
Please think about this the next time you are ready to hurl something at him.
post #13 of 146
That is truly appaling that he wrote an article like that and even more so that the newspaper printed it

I sent a response expressing my disgust, and said that they would be better off educating their readers, by investigating ferals and speaking to the amazing people who spend their time helping ferals, learning about neuter programmes and reminding people of the importance to neuter/spay their pets.
post #14 of 146
My e/mails gong out too!
People like him should have to spend a couple of days as a feral!
Ignorance is abundant in this world!!!!!
post #15 of 146
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much everyone!

You warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. These are the kind of moments that are worth it all!

Thank you!
post #16 of 146
My two cent's worth:

Mr. Horsley,

In your recent column, you described your ongoing “battle†with a cat you have named Osama. Although you may have intended this column to be humorous, I am absolutely appalled.

Too often recently have there been stories of horrendous animal abuse in the media. A man who barbecues a kitten to chants of “meowâ€. A landlord who shoots his tenants cats in cold blood. I believe these people are sick and need help. However, I also believe that the attitude of people like you somehow encourages this behavior. And the fact that you have access to a large number of people through your column makes it worse. Did you know that there is an online petition, signed by thousands of people, to have the man who killed that kitten given the maximum sentence? These people care greatly about the welfare of animals, but don’t have the “voice†that you do. I doubt their actions will have the impact your one column will.

Why not educate your readers about the lives of abandoned, abused and feral animals? Why not tell them about spaying and neutering? Or about how many offspring two unaltered cats can have in their lifetime? And how horrible the lives of these offspring are as ferals? Why not talk about rescue organizations, such as Alley Cat Allies, full of people who spend their time and money making sure that these animals have the happiest and healthiest life they can? You could have used this opportunity to teach and to reach so many people. I think you have failed, both your readers and all animals, abysmally.

I hope you reconsider your position, and take a risk. Take this chance to educate instead of cause harm.

Christine O’Keefe, Ph.D.
post #17 of 146
Here is what I got in my e-mail today...


I am forwarding your letter to Mr. Horsley. If you'd like it considered for publication as well, please send your daytime phone number and mailing address for verification. Only your name and city would be published.

Debbie Dudley
Editorial Asst.

I e-mailed back my information. Did anyone else get this? They will probably send it to everyone I would imagine.
post #18 of 146
Yeah! So many people wrote in!!! I wrote two notes, and got a reply to each. HELP! What should I write back to Mr. Horsely? See below:

From the Paper:


Do you want your letter considered for publication or just forwarded to Mr. Horsley?
From Mr. Horsely himself:

Thanks for educating me. What do you recommend with this particular wild cat?
I note no apology or any intent to address the education issue in a follow-up column, but at least maybe we can help this poor cat!! Help! What should I tell this guy to do?


post #19 of 146
Laurie I would recommend that he step out of the arena of trying to capture this feral and let someone who cares and knows how to do it try. Hang on I am going to call in a favor and see if it works or not. I know someone in Texas who might just help- back in a second.
post #20 of 146
post #21 of 146
Dang it, she doesn't answer her phone. I just sent out a few emails and some pleas for help. Is this all he said to you? Just that short reply?
post #22 of 146
That is exactly letter for letter what he wrote. His e-mail is posted in my in-box at I think 12:13pm (East Coast hours). Want me to forward it to you? Should I wait for now, or do you think I should write a preliminary reply that says I am in the process of getting in touch with someone who can help?

post #23 of 146
Well, I decided to keep the ball rolling for Mr. Horsley. Here's my initial reply to his e-mail:

Thank you for listening. I am working on being in touch with someone in your area who can help. I should have a name and number shortly. ...And can we rename him "Samoa?" It uses all your letters, but is less of an insult to all those who were truly victimized by Osama bin Laden.

Thank you.

Laurie D. XXXXX
Just wanted to keep you all posted!
post #24 of 146
Thanks Laurie, I have contacted everyone in my resource book. I will let you know when I hear back
post #25 of 146
I didn't get a reply from him, just the one from the paper.
post #26 of 146
Still excellent, Debby! Every letter helps, answer or no!!!!
post #27 of 146
Well, I got a personal reply from Mr. Horsley. Here it is:

Thanks, Christine. I'm always open to reconsidering all my positions. One position I used to hold, but don't anymore, is that cat lovers are all "kindred spirits." I happen to love most cats, including my own which are both spayed, but I don't love this tom cat who is a bully. It might not be his fault that he's a bully, but it is his problem. Quite a few readers (all from out of town--my column apparently got distributed in the Abandoned Cats Action Newsletter) urged me to trap the animal, have him spayed, and then release him back into the neighborhood. Are they kidding? -- David H.

I really don't know how to reply to this. To say he loves his cats, but not the feral tom? And asking if all concerned cat lovers (many of whom are on this forum, I'm sure) are kidding about releasing him? Ooooh, what I wish I could say to him.
post #28 of 146

I'm speechless. He's sure defensive now. Wow. Right at the moment, I can't think of a thing to say to that. What's the point of an "internet arguement" ? Hopefully Hissy will be able to find someone who can help in this situation.

Although I'm not sure that the best advice IS to release the cat back into that neighborhood. The poor thing should probably be relocated to somewhere someone is taking care of a "released" colony. Who knows? There might be someone in the area willing to adopt this "bully." But one thing I know for sure, "Animal Control" that he called is NOT the way to go.

I guess one thing I failed to mention in my note to him is that TNR does not necessarily mean releasing the kitty back to where it was. It still needs care once it's been neutered and released.

Anyway, let me think about this.

One thing I know for sure: I'm praying for Samoa (renamed from Osama) tonight.

post #29 of 146
I'm praying for Samoa too. This is the answer I have written, but haven't sent yet. I'd appreciate any feedback before I send it to him.

Mr. Horsley,

I agree that all cat owners are not “kindred spiritsâ€. Some consider their cats their children, while others consider them pets. Unfortunately, some consider cats disposable commodities. I recently read in a major women’s magazine that cats as pets are “outâ€, while another animal was considered “inâ€. My cat is not my child, not my pet, and not some commodity I can throw away when she is not longer “hotâ€. I am her guardian, and as her guardian, I have certain responsibilities to her, as a living creature.

I’d like to ask you, why has this tom cat become a bully? Is it because he has been attacked and abused and mistreated by humans? I’d like to share a story with you, one you may not consider applicable to your situation but I think it is. In the neighborhood where my father lives, a family moved out several years ago, abandoning their tom cat. He caused a lot of problems with the “owned†cats in the neighborhood, and he was thought of as a problem. One day, a neighbor found this cat lying almost dead on their front step, badly injured by a dog or some other large animal who had ripped all of the skin off his back leg. The neighbors, looking past their predjudice, took the cat (now named AJ) to the vets. When he was healed (and neutered, by the way) they returned him to the neighborhood, the only home he had ever known. These neighbors, and many others including my father, decided to be responsible for AJ. And believe it or not, AJ has become part of the neighborhood. He wanders in and out of many houses in their development, eating and sleeping as he wants. He has become a loving cat (as I can personally attest to) and no longer is aggressive to other cats, or humans, in the neighborhood. I believe that AJ needed to be shown that he was loved, in order to become loving.

If this cat is such a problem in your neighborhood, there are other options besides having him trapped, taken in by the local pound, and probably killed because he is not adoptable. Besides Alley Cat Allies, which I mentioned in my initial email, there are many “no-kill†shelters that will take in feral cats. Many such organizations can be found by a simple search of the internet. These shelters try to re-socialize feral cats and adopt them out, but if they fail, they will keep the cats for the span of their natural lives. In this way, the cat can live (as I believe all living beings have the right to) without affecting humans. If you are having problems finding such organizations, I would suggest looking up the Best Friends Pet Sanctuary (which also has a website). They may be able to refer you to a no-kill rescue organization in your area.

I don’t think I’m crazy, I’m not kidding, and I don’t belong to any rescue organization or a “Abandoned Cats Action Newsletterâ€. I am simply a person, who has had the great honor and blessing of sharing my life with a number of cats (including the one who shares my life now, who was a stray and who has shared my life for almost a year now). I just hurt when I hear of cats who have not had the chance to experience a positive, loving reaction from humans.
post #30 of 146

Like you, I sit here and wonder what this Tom did to this man to deserve such lowly contempt? From the original article I read that this cat scratched a child (who had no business being close to the cat in the first place. He mentions that the tom routinely pounds the snot out of his two house kittens, well then, why is he letting them outside then? He mentions that the tom eats baby birds and garbage, a staple for most ferals who are not being maintained in fed colonies. But instead of using his postition on the paper to help this cat, he is obsessed with trapping the cat and getting rid of the problem. He fails to see, that he and his neighbors are the problem.

I have contacted 8 people that I know about. I have written the Feral Cat Coalition and Alley Cat Allies. Mr. Horsely is yet to answer my letter, and he probably won't. I am sure he classifies me as one of the "rude" ones as he does not understand my passion for ferals. I have Mr. Horsely's in my life daily which is probably why this one cat has captured up my heart. If I was within driving distance, I would already be at his door with my traps and sleeping bag. I am sure he thinks we are all lunatics and mores the pity for him.

Thanks for trying my friend.......
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