Hundreds of Dead Cats

You ever hear the old saying, “there’s nothing new under the sun”? Well, that would certainly seem to hold true for comedy writers lately. A few months ago, I regaled you with the tale of the Rabbit Lady, a woman who kept 160 (mostly dead) rabbits in her home. I mentioned at the time that it was a very funny concept, but her execution of the bit left something to be desired.

Now I open the St. Paul Pioneer Press to find this:


By Kevin Harter

Pioneer Press

ST. CROIX FALLS, Wis. – Shielded by hazardous materials suits against the toxic combination of feces, ammonia from urine and decaying flesh, crews removed about 450 cats Friday from a home along the St. Croix River.

A gut-wrenching stench, something akin to raw sewage combined with rotting meat, carried by a westerly breeze, attracted a bald eagle and turkey vulture for closer looks.

Inside the two-story white clapboard home, the crews equipped with oxygen tanks and air filters made their way through a catacomb of debris, including garbage bags and barrels filled with dead cats, all of which were covered by several inches of cat feces.

St. Croix Falls Fire Capt. Jeff Gutzmer called his trips into the home “like going into hell.”

“The numbers. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s beyond words, beyond description,” Gutzmer said of the dead and dying cats, and the waste they produced. “It’s almost impossible to believe anyone could live. It’s toxic.”

The home’s residents – an 86-year-old retired county health care nurse, her 47-year-old daughter and 52-year-old son-in-law – are expected to face felony charges, including animal abuse. The Polk County district attorney, working with investigators, could file charges as early as Monday. Meantime, the residents were staying at a local motel.

Cats living on the main floor of the house on South River Street appeared to be more domesticated than the ones on the second floor. Many of the hundreds of cats were believed to be diseased.

After three firefighters were bitten trying to round up some of the cats, the crew decided the safest, healthiest and most humane option would be to asphyxiate the remaining animals by pumping carbon monoxide into the house.

“The cats on the second floor were wild, feral cats, and we decided it was too risky,” said Police Chief Paul Lindholm.

Firefighters attached large hoses from the exhaust of the fire trucks to pump the carbon monoxide into the house – one of only six on the street.

Any cats found still alive were euthanized by injection.

Talk about stealing somebody else’s joke! What a copycat!

So these people must have heard about the Rabbit Lady, and decided to up the ante by about 300 dead cats. I fashion myself as something of a comedy writer, and I’d like to give these people my notes on their performance:

-Cats were probably a funnier choice than rabbits, like I mentioned in the Rabbit Lady post. They’re more cuddly, and the idea of a half-foot of decomposing, rotted cat flesh is comedic gold!

-I absolutely loved the concept of having levels of domestication separated by floors. When the upstairs is completely inhabited with deranged, bloodthirsty cats, you’ve got yourself a unique joke. Maybe next time you could keep a few dozen mountain cats in the attic?

-The bit where you killed the cats by pumping exhaust from a fire truck into the house was very clever. If there’s something funnier than horrible cat squalor, it’s cat suffocation.

-The quick mention of the bald eagle and vulture circling overhead got a laugh out of me. Perhaps you could have included a descriptive reference to the bald eagle absconding with a rotting cat husk? For an extra punch, reference the dead cat head falling off in mid-flight.

-The fact that all of this took place in Wisconsin was a nice touch, albeit a little predictable.

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18 Responses to Hundreds of Dead Cats

  1. Pingback: Thoughts From The Monkey Exhibit » Scene 11: UNDERSCORE STEVE at The John Larroquette Project

  2. Roger says:

    lol nice summation.

  3. I’m just laughing over the exhaust thing. I mean, it was that or sending a Probie upstairs.

    Poor Probie … killed by a buncha feral cats.

  4. Kevin Sawyer says:

    My parents have managed to humiliate me yet again…

  5. renee says:

    i think the best part of all was the choice of the word “catacomb.”
    so unabashed….

  6. Lori S. says:

    so at what point do you finally decide… “yup, that’s it, we’re just surrounded by FAR too much fecal matter and feral cats, it’s about time to stay at a motel… ya know, get away from it all.”

  7. *tami* says:

    those cats must have been exauhsted!

    where’s PETA in all of this? i guess they don’t make it to WI often.

  8. Roger says:

    Who does, *tami*?

  9. Sarah says:

    The cat’s got my tongue on this one….I too love the differing levels of domestication.

    Maybe someday people will realize there can never be another Sigfreid and Roy. ;o)

  10. MJ says:

    Peter, you should buy the rights to this story for a Rock TV, I’d like to play one of the 2nd floor cats.

  11. John R says:

    I believe the proper word for a mountain cat would be “Mountain Lion”, or even “Puma” in extreme cases.

  12. Uosdwis R. Jawoh says:

    Don’t forget “Cougar”.

  13. Did anyone else find this the most disturbing post ever from Peter?

  14. Chrissy says:

    Mmmm. Anyone hungry?

  15. Atreyu says:

    I’m starving.

  16. I think anyone that uses animal abuse as a tag line for a joke is very sick. If the Peter would use his writing talents in a way of educating his readers about animal abuse and the problems with animal hording he could serve the public better. Making jokes will not help anything. There is nothing funny about this issue. Buy reading the comments of a few people I see a lot of sickness here. Get a life people.

  17. peter says:

    Michael, I agree that making jokes will not help anything. However, the purpose of this blog’s existence is to make jokes. If the jokes bother you, you are free to not read the site.

    You are also free to set up your own blog where you try to help things by scolding people and calling them sick. Sounds like a crowd pleasing concept.

  18. Mark says:

    Wow…sort of stumbled onto this site by accident. I was trying to find what time the animal planet was going to have a show on about this, but will surely not return to this blog. I completely agree with the people who found it disturbing and am saddened but not surprised that there were actually people out there that did find it funny. And to you, Peter, if you are a writer of a blog that is suppose to be jokeful…then select topics that could really be found funny by “many” people. It is sad that you have this view of cats. They are highly intelligent, loving creatures with amazing spirits. They are also a very clean animal who’s choice be it up to them would be able to live in a very neat and orderly environment.These cats surely did not want the life style that they were living with these people and unfortunately many poor felines do not get the lives they so deserve, but they surely do not deserve to be devalued like this blog has done. The abundance of feral cats is a human problem not a cat problem. It originates from irresponsible or uneducated owners who do not spay and neuter or in this case…the problem was a result of the hoarder. Cats are incredible pets and your horrible talk of them is most likely from not knowing them. How unfortunate for you! Even a person who is a hoarder should not be made fun of. They surely need some help and positive intervention, but I believe they begin their journey with good intent. They just want to save as many animals as possible and then things get out of control. I know a lot about cats and have had one as a pet. He was an amazing little creature. His unconditional love taught me how to see with my heart and it awakened my soul. Hopefully, someday…something can do this for you. Maybe then you will be inspired to write for the good of the world instead of pulling out only negatives for a kick. Then you would not be wasting your writing talents getting temporary laughs from cruel and critical material while the damage you do is endless. I am a writer myself and I will never return to read any of your insulting material. I’ll pray for ya :)

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