The Great British Pet Massacre of WW II

October 6, 2020

Would you be willing to have your dog or cat killed for the sake of the the war effort? That is exactly what the British government asked citizens to do in 1939.

The British government formed the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) in 1939 to decide what to do with pets before war broke out. They feared that they would need to ration food and that pet owners would split their rations with their pets or leave them to starve.

A pamphlet was published that suggested moving pets from cities to the country. It further stated that “if you cannot place them in care of neighbours, it is really kindest to have the destroyed.” The pamphlet contained an ad for a bolt pistol that could be used to kill them.

Pamphlet published by British Government. UK National Archives

When war broke out in September 1939 people flocked to vet clinics to have their cats and dogs killed. I can’t imagine this, taking your furry friend to have them killed because the government told them to do it.

Between 1939 and 1940 over 750,000 furry friends were killed as it turns out unnecessarily. Many organizations and individuals fought against this massacre and successfully saved and sheltered many thousands. In the end many pet owners regretted killing their pets and blamed the government for starting the needless hysteria.


A Face Only A Mother Could Love

April 25, 2008

Buddy won the contest to select a mascot for Drake University. Apparently one of his talents is snoring. The contest entrants were all English Bulldogs which made me wonder, if they all looked pretty much the same, how the heck would the judges have decided which one to pick. Guess his snoring talent must have contributed to his win.

Photo: AP


Christmas Cats !

December 14, 2007

Just in time for Christmas someone has found out how to clone cats and produce glow-in-the-dark pussies. Just think of the advantages of this:

  • cats can be moving decorations all over the house.
  • you can now see that damn cat you’re always tripping over when you go down the hall to use the bathroom at night.
  • the cat that loves to climb and be part of your Christmas tree can now be just another decoration.

What I wonder is will they come in different colors? Also it would be nice to get ones the blink on and off. Short-hair versus long-hair, what will the effect be on lighting quality. This opens up a whole myriad of possibilities. Consumers will be lining up to be the first on the block to have one. What a conversation piece to have walking around.

Finally if you really do miss the cat that trashed your tree every year, you can bring it back for an encore. Save some DNA from the first and you have endless cats to bring joy to your Christmas season.


The Cat and the Christmas Tree: A Seasonal Tail

December 5, 2007

zip4.jpg

Above: Zippy

Cats and Christmas trees just don’t mix. Every year when I put mine up I’m always thinking of ways to discourage felines from climbing or otherwise abusing the centerpiece of the holiday cheer.

When I was younger a friend of mine had a big Siamese male cat who sat very patiently watching the family set up and decorate the tree. It seemed to me that he wasn’t all that interested. Once the tree was up and decorating completed it was a different story. He would then immediately run across the room and dash up the tree to the very top sending the tree crashing down with decorations scattered here and there all over the house. After that he wouldn’t touch the tree the rest of the holidays. It was almost like he was saying, “been there done that”. Needless to say this family finally outsmarted the cat and tied the tree securely at the top to the curtain rods. The cat didn’t like that much, it spoiled his fun. He just said the heck with it and left it alone. It was just no fun anymore.

The other memorable encounter between a feline and a tree was that of my big orange tabby who went by the name of Zippy. Now at first it didn’t seem like he was all that interested in the tree, but I should have known better based on my previous experience. One morning a few days after our tree raising  I came downstairs to a horrible site. Zippy had the tree on it’s side on the living room floor dragging it along like it was prey. He was tugging and pouncing alternatively as he moved it across the carpet. Yes he was actually dragging it like a leopard with his prey. Decorations, or should I say what was left of them, covered the floor as far as the eye could see. He was so intent on his fun that at first he didn’t see me. As I watched him I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. The end result was another tree raising and decorating party including the use of brand new ornaments. This time I tied the top off in an attempt to deter another feline tree felling.

We now have an artificial tree. Cats still seem interested, but not in climbing. The smell of a real tree brought out the feral instinct in my “domestic” tabby, if you can really tame them. They really only keep you around to feed them, clean the litter and scratch them behind the ear from time to time. Oh yes they do enjoy the Christmas season, so many trees and so little time.

Now as a footnote, Zippy has passed on to the great litterbox in the sky, but what vivid Christmas memories he left behind. Because we missed the battle of cat and tree we now have another cat. Will the tree survive? Stay tuned. “Get off that tree cat!”


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