Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chopper: The Juvenile Delinquent Cat

In January of 2006, I moved 8 hours away from home to Citrus County Florida. Things were going pretty good; new job, new condo, and Chopper, and his brother, Jack were starting to settle in nicely.

 In early February, Chopper escaped from the condo. I knew, without a doubt, that he knew his way home (he's very smart, you know), but after an entire day of not seeing or hearing him, I was officially worried.

I decided to take some action. I started asking neighbors and posted some fliers, but still heard nothing. Finally, a co-worker suggested that I try the Citrus County Animal Control website, where they post pictures and descriptions of animals that have been picked up. I thought I had finally
found him, there was a picture of a male tabby that looked just like him on their website.

After work, I drove to the animal shelter and spoke to a very nice lady who was happy to take me down the hallway lined with cages full of cats ready to be adopted, but alas, no Chopper.

I asked her if there were any more cats in the building. She looked at me and said, "Well, there is one more cat. But that can't be your cat."

I knew right then that Chopper was, in fact, the cat she was referring to. "Trust me, I'm sure that's my cat." She politely told me that this cat was currently in quarantine in the wolf-hybrid room, where he couldn't hurt anyone.  That sounded more and more like Chopper.

She reluctantly took me to the wolf-hybrid room to see if the cat in question, was in fact my cat. (Of course, I already knew it was!)

As soon as she unlocked the door, I saw my Chops, in a cage inside a bigger cage, in the wolf hybrid room of the animal control center. I mean, this is the room where they put dogs that have been bred illegally with wolves, and my cat is running the show.

When I confirmed that this was my cat, she did not have good news. You see, Chopper was picked up by animal control for being on someone's roof.  When Animal Control came to pick him up, he attacked (teeth, claws, urine...you name it).  Also, he refuses to leave his collar on, so that couldn't be used to identify him or his rabies vaccination. I was also told that because of the no collar/no tag situation, he would be in quarantine for 10 days unless I could provide rabies vaccination information from his vet, and because of the bite, claw, pee situation, he was considered a dangerous animal and was set to be euthanized immediately following the quarantine period.

I was distraught. I convinced her to let me talk to her supervisor and call Chopper's vet back in Starkville for proof of his vaccinations.

After a series of warnings, lectures, and disapproving looks (from them), and tears, sobbing, begging, and pleading (from me), I convinced them to let Chopper come home.

But there were a few stipulations.

  • A whopping $300 fine (bail, basically). 
  • Chopper had to be micro-chipped.
  • An animal control worker would come to my condo once a week for 6 weeks to make sure Chopper was still inside (basically, kitty cat probation). 
  • If he was ever picked up by animal control again, he would be euthanized, no questions asked. 
After agreeing to all terms and signing gobs of paperwork, Chopper was released.

Citrus County Animal Control stayed true to their word.  We had weekly visits from animal control personnel.  Each time they came to check, I asked if he/she was the person who originally picked him up. I never met the actual person who was a victim of his ruthless attack.  I sincerely wish I could apologize.

This is not the only outrageous Chopper story.  Maybe one day, I'll have time to sit down and write about the other crazy things he's done. Like the two veterinary offices that asked me to never bring him back. Or the time he got locked inside the vacant rental house next door to our house in Midtown. Or perhaps the time he rode home with the gardener in his enclosed trailer. Or maybe the time he flicked urine on me during an 8 hour car ride because he was tired of being in his kennel. (The list goes on and on.)

Its been a while since Chopper's arrest, and I am happy to report that he has had no more run-ins with the law.  He has actually mellowed out quite a bit and is learning to get along with Gumbo (although its probably more of a case of tolerance than anything else).  He absolutely loves his new home on the bayou, and all of the critters that he can chase, catch, and leave as sacrificial offerings to Matt and I.

I'll leave you with a picture of his mug shot:

A recent "I dare you to touch my belly" shot:

And Chopper giving me some good sugars during our Christmas card photo shoot:

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